Fortnightly Highlight 1: An Interlude

Dear friends,

When I lived in Barcelona in the early 1990s, I used to write letters to my mum. I wrote a lot of them. That was before the internet and many other things we deem normal these days. In those letters, in place of the usual date and location, I used to write my emotional status. So she would read, for instance: ”On a rainy morning, much too early to confess,” at the beginning of the letter, and then I would proceed to tell her about my adventures and reflections of that period. Usually what followed was somewhat poetic, somewhat political, full of the nostalgia of a college kid—missing home while urging myself to live the experience to its fullest. You know, “youth is wasted on the young,” and all those things…

I’m not so far away from those feelings these days, again, as we plan to send you a note from our desks every two weeks—offering you thoughts about The Showroom’s online archive, about past and present projects, in the hope that this offers you an interlude, hopefully, something you experience as beautiful and interesting, that redirects your mind away from some of the new routines we are learning to live with. The point I’m getting to with this long prologue is that what follows is not necessarily your usual newsletter, because these are not typical times. And that, for the first time, we want not to invoke the ’voice’ of the organisation, but offer you our personal reflections, writing to you fortnightly about our current projects as well as other things in our archive, as if they were a state of mind, or perhaps a note to self—if one is to follow Simnikiwe Bulunghu’s invitation… Because, like my mum, while you might know the date I’ve written this and from where, you might not know how I feel.


Elvira Dyangani Ose
Director, The Showroom

Recetas Urbanas, Affection as Subversive Architecture, The Showroom, 2020.


Recetas Urbanas: Affection as Subversive Architecture – Virtual Updates

Whilst our current project is physically closed, we’re bringing the videos and archive materials on display to you virtually. Enjoy these materials from home, which introduce Spanish architecture collective Recetas Urbanas’s projects exploring collective methodologies for creating alternative architectural and educational spaces through participatory self-construction and active citizenship.

  • READ: Affection as a Subversive Architectural FormElvira Dyangani Ose and Raúl Muñoz de la Vega In Conversation
  • WATCH: Conviviality Room, 30 mins, 2017-19
  • WATCH: Green Mountain, 9 mins, 2018
  • WATCH: Tretzevents Workshop, 6 mins, 2013
  • READ: House of Words: How to ‘Host’ History Making by Katherine Finerty
  • DIG THROUGH: Recetas Urbanas’s Construction Data Sheets


Sara Mabombo conforms 35mm film in the INC laboratory, 1981. © Ophera Hallis


Book Launch & Screening: Cinemas of the Mozambican Revolution with Ros Gray

At our most recent event last month, Ros Gray introduced her new book Cinemas of the Mozambican Revolution: Anti-Colonialism, Independence and Internationalism in Filmmaking, 1968-1991, exploring how a unique culture of revolutionary filmmaking began during the armed struggle against Portuguese colonialism in Mozambique. Ros screened excerpts from two films rarely shown in the UK, Santiago Álvarez’s Maputo: meridiano novo (Maputo: The Ninth Meridian), 1976 and João Costa and Carlos Henrique’s Pamberi ne Zimbabwe (Forward Zimbabwe), 1981.

Listen to the recording from this special event to learn more about this radical experiment in harnessing cinema to social change.


Women on Aeroplanes Inflight Magazine #1, 2018. Design by very (Alexandra Papadopoulou, Marie Schoppmann and Nathalie Landenberger)



Women on Aeroplanes Inflight Magazine ## 1

Read Issue One of the Women on Aeroplanes Inflight Magazine edited by Annett Busch and Marie-Hélène Gutberlet from the international curatorial team of the wider project, including Magda Lipska, Emily Pethick and Elvira Dyangani Ose with The Otolith Collective. This first issue includes texts by Kodwo Eshun and Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa.

At The Showroom Women on Aeroplanes included new commissions by artists Lungiswa Gqunta, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum and Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, and observed the largely unrecognised role of women in struggles for liberation, their participation in transatlantic networks, and their key voices in revolutionary socio-political movements that helped to achieve post-colonial nation-states in Africa.


Lawrence Abu Hamdan, The Freedom of Speech Itself, The Showroom, 2012.


Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Aural Contract – The Freedom of Speech Itself

This video documentation produced by Ibraaz in 2012 introduces the exhibition The Freedom of Speech Itself as part of Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s wider research project Aural Contract, commissioned by The Showroom within our participatory programme Communal Knowledge.

In conversation with Anthony Downey, Abu Hamdan introduces his installation at The Showroom, which included a new sound commission and excerpts from his wider sound archive of juridical listening and speaking. Aural Contract constituted a series of events, publications, performances, exhibitions, interviews, compositions and workshops, all examining the politics of listening through a focus on the role of the voice in law.


Film still: Uriel Orlow, The Crown Against Mafavuke, 18:45, 2016.


Uriel Orlow: Mafavuke’s Trial and Other Plant Stories, 2016

This major commission by London-based artist Uriel Orlow looked to the botanical world as a stage for politics at large through film, photography, installation and sound. Working from the dual vantage points of South Africa and Europe, the project considered plants as both witnesses and actors in history, and as dynamic agents – linking nature and humans, rural and cosmopolitan medicine, tradition and modernity – across different geographies, histories and systems of knowledge, with a variety of curative, spiritual and economic powers.

Through the work of many artists, communities and collaborators, a multi-vocal archive and new medicinal garden opened up dialogues between the UK, South Africa and other parts of the continent. Participants included David Goldblatt, Cedric Nunn, Kapwani Kiwanga, Philippe Zourgane, Subtle Agency (Julia Raynham, Bradley van Sitters and collaborators), Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe), 60 Penfold Community Hub, Carole Wright, Church Street Bengali Women’s Group and Penfold Hub Gardening Group.



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