The goal of the artistic research project Chinafrika. under construction  is to trace cultural relationships between China and Africa and to portrait a global process, which is sure to fundamentally alter no less than the notion of Europe. “Chinafrika” is a symptom of the de facto ongoing relativization of Europe. The “provincialization of Europe” (Dipesh Chakrabarty) is already in full swing.

The project therefore offers African, Chinese and European artists and curators, theorists and protagonists the chance to develop shared artistic, as well as theoretical positions. These will be presented in a mobile format in workshops and conferences, exhibitions, performances,  film screenings and publications. The tricontinental project approach disengages itself from unilateral  fixations along former colonial routes (north/south), by instead offering alternatives (south/south), new options of mutual refection (south/north/south) and contrasting, multiple perspectives.

The project is currently concentrating on the Copperbelt in northern Zambia and the South-Eastern DR of Congo as a hub for the extraction and the transport of raw materials, as well as on the megacities Lagos (Nigeria), Johannesburg (South Africa) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). In China, we are focusing on the Pearl River Delta with its African trade centers in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and the free-trade zone in Shenzhen. While the complex  field of  Chinafrica has already been explored by the academic world with respect to economic and political developments, mutual cultural exchange and its implications have so far been largely ignored.

In this project, we therefore direct our attention to the mutual overlapping of Sino-African cultures:
the ways in which life perspectives change due to new, international relationships and orientations; the ways in which objects and images of the “other” culture penetrate everyday life; and the ways in urban spaces are transformed by the new presence of people and habits. How can we reflect new developments and phenomena in the  fields of artistic practice and visual cultures, everyday social life, as well as architecture and urbanism? Chinafrika. under construction contemplates from a two-fold perspective both the massive scale of this geo-strategically planned reorganization as well as the simultaneously, the  finely nuanced capillary network of local and individual courses of action.

One of the goals of Chinafrika. under construction is thus to contemplate cultural phenomena without overlooking the accompanying, closely associated global shifts in economic and political structures.

The  flexible and “expandable” presentation format of mobile formats under construction does justice to both various different conditions at the presenting venues of the steirischer herbst Graz, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, Kunstfest Weimar, as well as the climatic, institutional and technical environments in the partner countries and at the respective presenting local venues. The Internet will act thus as the backbone of the project.

Chinafrika Working Groups

The Chinafrika Working Groups are based in three African (Lagos, Johannesburg, Lubumbashi) and one Chinese (Guangzhou) city in order to generate local research, theory and art as well as a local debate. A working group consists of five to eight workshop members: artists, photographers, filmmakers, scientists, journalists and/or social players (traders, logistics specialists, workers, advisors, etc.). Local presentations will be set at the end to publicly present and discuss the group results. The working groups will produce individual or collective pieces of art, photography, films, texts or archive material to be presented over the course of the project at the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig, at Kunstfest Weimar and other venues.

Read more about the background and context

Artistic Director: Jochen Becker (metroZones)
Artistic Collaboration/ Video Documentation/ Research: Daniel Kötter

Project Team Berlin, Germany
Nara Silva das Virgens-Merlitz, Artistic Assistant
Aline Löw, PR Consultant
ehrliche arbeit – freelance office for culture, Production Manager
Christoph Heinemann (ifau – institut für angewandte urbanistik), Exhibition Designer
Christoph Schmidt (ifau – institut für angewandte urbanistik),  Exhibition Designer
Markus Dreßen, Designer Exhibition Graphic
Fabian Maier-Bode, Designer
Thomas Hurtig, Web Developer
Erwin Riedmann, IT Manager

Working Group Lubumbashi/ Copperbelt, DR Kongo 
Curator: Patrick Mudekereza
Rebecca Corey, Visual Artist
Ghislain Ditshekedi, Visual Artist
Bodil Furu, Video Artist
Daniel Sixte Kakinda, Visual Artist
Véronique Poverello Kasongo,Organization
Denise Maheho, Journalist/ Sound Producer
Eddy Mayaya, Visual Artist
Luc Mukendi, Activist

Working Group Lagos, Nigeria
Curator: Folakunle Oshun
Ayo Akinwande, Photographer
Derin Ajao, Writer/ Editor
Opeyemi Balogun, Researcher
Allyn Gaestel, Writer
Taiye Idahor, Installation Artist
Bénédicte Kurzen, Photographer

Working Group Johannesburg, South Africa
Curator: Michael MacGarry
Dan Halter, Artist
Juliette Leeb-du Toit, Art Historian/ Researcher/ Lecturer
Richard Poplak, Journalist/ Writer
Professor Dr. Ruth Simbao, Academic
Cobus van Staden, Journalist/ Academic
Moffat Takadiwa, Artist
James Webb, Artist (South African Group Publication)
Ruth Simbao, Researcher (South African Group Publication)

Working Group Guangzhou, PR China 
Curator: Huang Xiaopeng
Lin Aojie, Artist
Di Fang, Artist
Chen Paian, Artist
Lu Shan, Artist
Luo Xiye, Artist
Payne Zhu, Artist

*More information about the artists and contributors -> see BIOS

A production of metroZones. In co-production with the Museum of Contemporary Art LeipzigKunstfest Weimar, steirischer herbst Graz and Goethe Institut Nigeria. In Cooperation with Centre d’art WAZA LubumbashiCulture Advocates Caucus Lagos and Goethe Institut Algier

Participants Workshop/ Exhibition, steirischer herbst, Graz, October 2016
Jochen Becker, Berlin
Daniel Kötter, Berlin
Linessa Dan Lin, Anthropologist, Hong Kong
Chuks Chukwuemeka, Trader, Lagos
Michael MacGarry, Artist, Johannesburg
Stary Mwaba, Artist, Zambia

Participants Exhibition, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, June-September 2017
Ayo Akinwande, Opeyemi Balogun, Sammy Baloji, Dounia Cherfaoui, Bodil Furu, Allyn Gaestel / Benedicte Kurzen, Anawana Haloba, Dan Halter, Gerda Heck / Christian Hanussek, Louis Henderson, Sam Hopkins / David Lalé, Eric van Hove, Huang Xiaopeng, Taiye Idahor, Daniel Sixte Kakinda, Daniel Kötter, Mansour Ciss Kanakassy / Christian Hanussek / Baruch Gottlieb, Li Jinghu, Li Xiaofei, Lu Shan, Luo Xiye, Michael MacGarry, Denise Maheho, Map Office, Elke Marhöfer / Mikhail Lylov, Eddy Mayaya, Stary Mwaba, Nobukho Nqaba, Folakunle Oshun, Henrik Spohler, Mladen Stilinovic, Moffat Takadiwa, Song Ting / Adam Smith / Wang Qihan, Paolo Woods, Joseph Wright of Derby, Yu-Shen Su, Payne Zhou, Sofiane Zouggar and others

Participants Performance/ Exhibition, Kunstfest Weimar, August 2017
To be announced

Funded By:

funded by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation




The exhibition at Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig is funded by the Free State of Saxony Cultural Foundation