‘In the Meantime’
March 3–April 21, 2018
Opening Friday March 2, 8pm
Artist Talk, Saturday March 3, 2pm
Christian Nyampeta’s exhibition ‘In The Meantime’ is a continuation of his research into modes of working together and being in common. ‘In the Meantime’ is a hosting structure and working space that is a meditation on the process of translation as a continual work-in-progress. A selection of Nyampeta’s publications will include his translations of selected texts from Alain Mabanckou’s Penser et écrire l’Afrique aujourd’hui, an edited volume containing lectures delivered at the Collège de France in 2017 by Souleymane Bachir Diagne and Lucy Mushita among others. The nature of translated texts is that they always exist ‘in the meantime.’ Dependent upon the context in which they were translated, they remain open to various interpretations by their readers. The processes of translation becomes a form of sociality; one that creates, annotates, records, and interprets together. In this way, one never reads alone, but always with and alongside others. Differences between translations evoke concurrent or parallel forms of reading and legibility, unfolding ‘within’ and around an original frame of reference.
In recognizing the limits of translation and the malleability of interpretation and meaning, Nyampeta focuses on ‘rhythm’ as a discursive tool to address political and ideological shifts in philosophy and religion in former colonies. In his film ‘Comment vivre ensemble,’ Nyampeta interviews a number of Rwandan philosophers and educators, asking “What is rhythm for you?” This question of how people define rhythm is part of Nyampeta’s ongoing project ‘how to live together’. Taking cues from Roland Barthes lectures also held at the Collège de France in 1978, Nyampeta’s study of the historical notion of idiorrhythmy considers rhythm as the organization of one’s own space and time, and the role of rhythm in how it shapes our subjecthood, our communities and our localities. Through this notion, Nyampeta investigates how rhythm has the capacity to regulate, or be regulated by patterns and movements, to form or disrupt them.
Rhythm is not only an index of difference, but generative in its potential to work towards invention or reinvention. This translative capacity of rhythm also questions Barthes’s own silences about his familial connection to the colonial legacies of France, as narrated by Ivorian writer Gauz in Penser et écrire l’Afrique aujourd’hui, whose text is also translated for this occasion. ‘In the Meantime’ situates this query, in a manner that is equivocal to the function of the parenthesis. It becomes a permissive space, in which we might wait for something to happen, or a time and space outside of our control, or a time during which we contemplate action.
‘In the Meantime’ is part of a year of programming at Artspeak that considers ways of learning and studying together as a collaborative practice and process. Upcoming programming activities will challenge the role of the artist-run centre, notably asking how it can contribute to creating spaces allowing for new forms of engagement to reimagine current limits in cultural production and shape alternative practices.
1. Idiorrhythmy is the subject of the lectures held at the Collège de France by the French literary critic Roland Barthes in 1978, titled Comment vivre ensemble: simulations romanesque de quelques espaces quotidiennes, ed. Claude Coste (Paris: Seuil, 2002), and translated as How To Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Some Living Spaces, translated by Kate Briggs (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013).