KIN-SHIP-ING

Künstlerische Praxis als Beziehungsspinnerei

Image courtesy of Rohini Devasher

KIN-SHIP-ING was scheduled to launch at Kaserne Basel in March 2020 and had to be postponed to due the COVIT19 outbreak. We hope to resume in September 2020.

According to the dictionary “Kinshipping”, as a verb, does not exist. Not yet that is. The project at Kaserne Basel seeks to provide possible definitions of what the act of kinshipping might be/come. kinship – broken down into its parts kin and ship – provides first clues: The noun “kin” means affinity, connection, relationship, family, people, house, kindred; the  verb “to ship” is synonymous with move, transmit, transfer, shift, embark, direct, address

We proclaim the status of kinship with those akin or familiar to us – alike in looks, consanguinity, convictions, customs, class or other prior affiliation. In this sense, kinship is a given.

The act of kinshipping, on the other hand, would not have to adhere to such boundaries. It might simply refer to actively and knowingly extend (ship) affinity (kin) to an-other. It might moreover imply a gesture of making (or recognizing or expanding) a connection where there isn’t one, or rather, not an obvious one. Connections not just with other people but to other beings (fact or fictional), (im)material things, places, ideas and times past, present and future.

We already find unexpected connections translated into meaningful relationships in the arts and they bring with them a range of potentialities. Artistic and creative practice as a form of social engagement and transformative force has been a central concern in Kadiatou Diallo’s work. What engines and what fuels facilitate the processes that not only point to or name collective conditions but that actually hold the capacity to shift them?

Together with an international group of friends and associates – Kadiatou explores the notion of kin-ship-ing as a practice. What rituals, values and movements make it manifest? What makes it tangible? What does it elucidate about the (im)possibility of collaboration – also in the context of transnational existences? What novel subjectivities, agencies, languages and forms does it offer? Where are the limits of kinshipping? What are its consequences? 

KIN-SHIP-ING is hosted by Kaserne Basel in cooperation with the Centre for African Studies of the University of Basel. This project is also linked to and the basis for a seminar offered by Diallo entitled “What’s Art got to do with it? – Decolonial approaches from creative practice”.

Line Up

The first KIN-SHIP-ING poses theatre maker Anta Helena Recke and choreographer Mario Lopes an obvious question about a common language. How, in creating new connections and collaborations, do artists from the so-called Global South and the diasporas establish mutual understandings, not just verbally between, for instance, German and Portuguese speakers, but also concerning notions like Africa, black, solidarity and art?  

In the second KIN-SHIP-ING session, we observe observation itself and with it the observer and the observed. In her lecture performance, the Delhi-based artist and amateur astronomer, Rohini Devasher, guides us past celestial bodies through conjunctions of time, place and events; mapping constellations that reposition events on and from earth, and highlights the necessity to unlearn if we want to see what is actually there. She will be joint in a sonic collaboration by Legion Seven.

The third KIN-SHIP-ING is dedicated to the arguably most fundamental process of (not just human) life: breathing. Pulmonographies is a collaborative and performative research project, represented in Basel by South African writer Stacy Hardy. In a polyphonic performance lecture, we will explore the biographies, geographies and shared histories of breath/lessness. Starting point: colonial histories and postcolonial politics of tuberculosis in South Africa.