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Hospital Prison University Archive

Læssøesgade 3, 1. sal, 2200 København N

tors 15-18 & 20-22.

We Are and We Are Not!

04.05.2018 - 28.06.2018


All are welcome to the opening of the seventh display at the Hospital Prison University Archive presenting material from the Cultural Congress of Havana,1968. The display will last until June 28th. 

In January 1968 an unorthodox mass of progressive and revolutionary cultural workers – artists, scientists, athletes, writers, guerrilla and independence fighters – from all over the world gathered in Cuba for the Cultural Congress of Havana. Their aim was, in the words of Haitian poet René Depestre, ‘to determine on which concrete basis we will carry out common actions for the total decolonisation of the diverse cultures of the Third World’. Conceived as a meeting of Third World artists and intellectuals the idea was to find common solutions to their ongoing struggles against the inadmissible present of colonialism and imperialism. As a part of the public program of the Cultural Congress, the Third World Exhibition was presented in the Pabellón Cuba, a stunning half building-half garden constructed shortly after the triumph of the Revolution. The Third World Exhibition was conceived by a collective of young Cuban revolutionaries. As an anti-imperialist pop spectacle, it included live dioramas and detourned Tarzan films denouncing the colonial gaze, together with giant comic-strip murals, animated light boxes, sound-collages and mash-up films of the liberation struggles of the Third World. The experience was of a psychedelic show, a total mechanical theatre using all means necessary to strike back.

Here fifty years later, in the face of an equally inadmissible present of continued neocolonial plundering of the Global South, this project will use the Cultural Congress and the Third World Exhibition as an open vessel to look into culture as a decolonising weapon, and a way of connecting struggles through time and space. We want to talk about coloniality not only as a global relation between a North and a South, but also as social relations that unfold and permeate our everyday life in the global cities we inhabit.

The display in the Archive will present images of the construction of 1968 show together with six compendiums containing the transcripts of the Cultural Congress sessions, which the participants from over 70 countries took with them to disseminate and continue what had been initiated in Havana. For this project we will be producing radio in collaboration with the Radio Reading Group (a group of students from the Royal Academy of Fine Art, Copenhagen) as well as our friend Marie Northrop who will be working on contemporary colonial struggles in urban space and elsewhere. 

We Are and We Are Not! was created together with the sociologist, writer and curator María Berríos, and builds on ‘The Revolution Must Be a School of Unfettered Thought’ a project we initially presented at the 31st Bienal de São Paulo (2014). This invitation was written together with María and starting with this collaboration the Hospital Prison University Archive will be entering a new phase, in which the projects will be increasingly – but not exclusively – in English. This in an effort to open up our community and further involve the multilingual friends that have helped turn it into it a living organism.

Hospital Prison University Archive is a combined archive and radio studio. Conversations will be available on the archive's in-house radio station Hospital Prison University Radio, which will continuously present readings and reflections related to the present display. It is broadcasting online day and night at hospitalprisonuniversity.net. Podcasts can be found on iTunes and SoundCloud.

Best wishes,
María Berríos & Jakob Jakobsen 

PS. To support the archive we will continue selling counterfeit works of art. This time you can buy a fake CCH print (reproduction) for dkr. 250,-. The work is a risographic print by Officin.

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