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Where the fuck is Erlangen?

A cultural exchange between continents. Artists from Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and the Congolese diaspora answer questions posed by the International Comic Salon Erlangen.

Where the fuck is Erlangen?
Video editing: Mukenge/Schellhammer

Where is Erlangen, actually? From a Congolese point of view, far away, at the end of the world, so to speak. Just like Kinshasa or Lubumbashi is an abstract concept for most inhabitants of Erlangen.

Apart from the geographical distance, both cities seem to be far apart from each other due to their very different cultural imprints. But at the latest since colonialism and especially currently, they are in direct, complex and controversial ways, continual contact with each other. Global markets, circulating technologies and, last but not least, more or less publicity-shy social networks maintain current inequalities and power disparities consistently in place – legitimized by political paradigms and social conventions, which this project not only addresses but whose implementation it also seeks to break down.

The primary goal of this project is to invite selected Congolese artists to Erlangen to present an exhibition on Congolese comics at the International Comic-Salon. After all, the easiest way to get to know people from different cultural spheres, to communicate directly and exchange experiences, broaden the horizons of one’s own thought, break down prejudices, try to perceive things that usually divide people with humour instead, clear up misunderstandings and recognise and overcome cultural boundaries, is by meeting them in person.

Due to the Corona crisis, this direct exchange is temporarily impossible. Not only has air travel been suspended, but the 19th International Comic-Salon 2020 has also been cancelled. Consequently, we have tried to find new strategies to bring about cultural exchange under these conditions. With the help of digital media, we have tried to make cultural exchange across two continents possible. The team of the International Comic-Salon Erlangen posed many questions to the Congolese artists who now have to wait until 2022 for the next Comic-Salon. Each artist answered three of the questions by video message, and the result is this video.

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