Africa 2020 will take place from June to December 2020 on the entire French territory (Continental as well as the overseas departments and territories).
I • FOUNDING PRINCIPLES
An invitation to observe and understand the world from an African perspective.
The 54 States of the African continent: over 1.2 billion people and a diaspora of over 60 million.
This is not a “cross-season”: there will be no French programming in Africa.
The programme will not be a quick collection of branded projects.
Africa 2020 is built on four pillars :
- A pan-African and multidisciplinary programme focusing on contemporary artistic creation and aimed at all audiences. The projects will not centre on a single artist, a single country, a single region, a single linguistic area or a single artistic discipline.
- A programme co-produced by African professionals and French institutions. The aim is to avoid a programme designed exclusively through the Franco-French prism and to protect the first founding principle of Africa 2020: extending an invitation to observe and understand the world from an African perspective.
- Projects designed to act as spaces for sharing knowledge and experience. Thanks to their “pan-African-French” design and realisation, which will bring together professionals from different fields in order to promote the sharing of expertise and intellectual debate.
- A collaborative platform for the creation and sharing of knowledge, built around certain major projects.
II • DISCIPLINES
Visual Arts (Fine Arts, Photography, Performance) Live Performance (Music, Theatre, Dance) Film Literature
RESEARCH & ECONOMICS
Sciences Technologies Entrepreneurship (and Sustainable Development)
ART OF LIVING
Gastronomie (and Biodiversity) Styles & Trends (Fashion, Design, Architecture) Urban Sports (Skateboarding, Rollerskating, Football and Basketball, video games), etc.
All projects must propose a strategy for reaching all audiences as well as a mentorship programme aimed at young French and African people.
Special attention should be paid to young audiences and organisations representing the African diasporas in France.
III • GUIDING PHILOSOPHY
This Season is a platform for sharing broader discussions about the state of contemporary societies which, beyond Africa, are connected to France and the rest of the world.
1. Augmented Orality / Knowledge Dissemination / Social Media / Technological Innovations
For centuries, Africa has been using formats variously visual, oral and written, physical and intangible, to convey ideas, knowledge and wisdom. From the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt to the Guèze alphabet, the stories of the Mandé griots, the symbolism of the Akan weights used to value gold in the 13th century, and to the rhythmic codes of drums or Kebra Nagast, examples abound. What does orality mean in the 21st century? Television, radio, cinema and opera, for instance, are traditional vehicles for the oral dissemination of knowledge, stories or morals. Today, they share that role with new mediums born of digital innovation: Internet, Twitter, Instagram, and all the applications that convey ideas through emoticons.
2. Economy and Fantasy / Redistribution of Resources / Cash Flows / Economic Emancipation
In many African countries, the redistribution of resources is not the work of the State: one salary may sustain more than ten people. In some countries, shouldn’t the so-called informal economy, which accounts for more than half of the national economy, be given the status of an official economy? People in border cities have long transcended the foreign exchange systems established between Western currencies, using equivalence systems that sometimes go back to the Middle Ages. Money transfers from African expatriates to Africa amounted to over $60 billion in 2016. By using intermediaries such as Hawala, Western Union, MoneyGram, and Orange Money, these transfers call into question the relevance of bank-based cash flows. Thanks to family and corporate support networks, economic empowerment isn’t always a fantasy. This year, in 2018, some African countries (Ghana, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Senegal, Tanzania) will grow by between 6.8% and 8%. Infrastructures, the rural world, the unemployed, politicians, businesspeople, multinationals... who will benefit from this expected prosperity? Meanwhile, in France and the West, the phenomenon of “crowdfunding” is gaining momentum on the Internet and social media.
3. Archiving of traditional stories / Histories / Memory / Archives
How do our personal, family, national, regional, and continental histories relate to the History of the world? Through which lenses is History portrayed and what vectors are used to convey it? Is the History seen through winner’s eyes still the only valid one? In this age of social media and whistleblowers, there are ever more roles and responsibilities, and shocking headline stories often drown out perspective and considered analysis. How is memory passed on and for what purposes? Have we really learned from our past errors? Is memory sometimes weaponised to serve populist intentions and stoke hatred? Who archives what, in the name of whom, and for what purpose? Who decides what is important and what is anecdotal? What do we do with our personal records? What will the billions of audio and text messages on our mobile phones, e-mails, social media accounts and websites say about the state of Humanity in the 21st century? Historians are not the only ones taking an interest in these questions, echoing with existential overtones.
4. Fiction and (il)legal movements / Movement of people, ideas and goods / Territory
Human beings have been travelling the world since the dawn of humanity. And as they travel, they carry with them world-views that affect and are affected by other peoples. While today's walls, barbed wire and restrictive visa procedures do manage to slow down migration, they will never be able to stem it entirely. A flight from Conakry to Brussels (6,368 km) costs less than one from Conakry to Lagos (2,790 km). For a Dakar-Luanda journey, a flight via Portugal lasts 15 hours 30 minutes, while a flight with two stopovers on the continent takes 19 hours 40 minutes. Across the 54 countries on the continent, the number of countries requiring a visa before departure varies: 4 for a Frenchman and about 35 for a Kenyan. Travelling at one's leisure depends not only on purchasing power, but also on nationality. This may explain the rise of virtual travel and cyber communities around the world. The largest African refugee camps are not in Italy or France. They are in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Ethiopia. The sixteen countries of the Economic Community of West African States, which have been using the same passport since 2000, voted in 2016 in favour of replacing all national identity cards with a single regional identity card. This decision will affect more than 380 million people over an area territory of more than 5 million km2. What will this mean for the concepts of Nation, Border and Identity? Is West Africa now reconstructing the boundaries of West African kingdoms and empires as they were in the Middle Ages, thumbing its nose at the borders inherited from the 1885 Berlin Conference? Is it attempting, based on the Region’s history, to strengthen a sense of transnational belonging in a global context where many countries prefer to turn inward and embrace nationalism?
5. Systems of disobedience / Awareness and political movements / Citizenship
Strikes, demonstrations, boycotts, occupations of public spaces, advocacy, activism: at what point in life do people decide to get involved in a civil movement or political party? What are the different ways in which people engage with politics? Does resistance necessarily entail collective or violent action? Do passive resistance and civil disobedience really produce the expected effects? Should personal interests be sacrificed for the benefit of the collective interest? In a global context in which freedom of movement and expression are being undermined, where identity-based and xenophobic crises are multiplying, where populist political parties are gaining ground, and where “everyone-for-themselves” is becoming commonplace, how are citizen consciences based on a principle of alterity and solidarity being built? When did we forget that there is just one race: the human race? Artists, curators and intellectuals have been tirelessly exploring these issues for decades.
Each project must be built along one or more of these avenues for reflection.
IV • STRUCTURE
Multidisciplinary projects throughout France Headquarters in each French region Travelling projects (screenings, master classes, creative workshops) Visibility in Africa Projects The programme will be structured around a series of high-visibility multidisciplinary projects, favouring strategically structured proposals: French institutions are encouraged to create projects with several stakeholders, in partnership with African actors
Headquarters (HQ Africa 2020)
Hosted by a French cultural institution, each HQ will be designed in the spirit of small pan-African cultural centre hosting multidisciplinary projects (exhibitions, shows, concerts, film screenings, round tables, master classes, creative workshops, and culinary experiences). Each Africa 2020 HQ will be implemented by a pan-African-French team which, in collaboration with African associations and specialists in arts outreach, will develop a programme over several weeks, shaped by one or more of the Season's focal questions. The goal in erecting these HQs is to create increased opportunities for encounters between African players (operators, artists, intellectuals) and the French public, to promote spaces for discussion of the main questions raised by the Season. The creation of HQs in different cities in France will make it possible to build loyalty in a local audience, connecting the Season with a permanent service. Each HQ will be a place for meetings, discussion, experiments and socializing, as well as information about the projects offered across the region and the rest of France.
A series of digital and educational projects which can be presented at different Africa 2020 partner locations. These travelling projects will enable targeted outreach actions through educational tools, screenings, master classes, creative workshops, hackathons, and video games.
Visibility en Africa
Africa 2020 will take place in France. The General Commissioner hopes that some projects will also be presented in Africa.
Possible avenues include:
- Presentation of digital-centric mobile projects in France in a selection of African countries;
- Presentation of an intermediate stage of a project in the country of the African partner (creative residency, presentation stage, film screening);
- Organisation of round tables and conferences around Africa 2020's five focus areas in independent art centres or universities in Africa;
- A communication campaign across all media (radio, television, Internet) in Africa.
- General Commissioner: Mrs N’Goné Fall (Senegal), Exhibition Curator and Consultant on Cultural Policies
- Deputy Curator: Mr Noël Corbin (France), Inspector General of Cultural Affairs for the Ministry of Culture