Archive Milano
Opening weekend
June 18–20, 2021

On the summer solstice weekend, Archive Milano opens its doors to Muna Mussie’s solo show የቦሎኛ ጎዳና | شارع بولونيا | Bologna St. 173. The August sun, high in the sky, beats down. Conceived and built over the course of Muna Mussie’s residency at Archive (29.01–31.03.2021), the exhibition is part of Archive’s research stream (re)memberings and (re)groundings(2020–2022). The exhibition will run until August 27, 2021.

6.00 pm
Exhibition opening and
performance by Muna Mussie

A phantasmagoric body covered with Netsela from the waist up, prepares popcorn. The sound and the matter shooting out from it glides in the space, and drags with it the billowing-trailing-body. A prechosen point will be the base from which the arm of liberty emerges, the body abandons the molt and escapes into the uncovered open. There are small rites that accompany the life of all peoples. That of popcorn in Eritrea is a rite that finds space inside parties, birthdays, weddings, dances; but rather than something to be eaten, the popcorn here is thrown, made to fly in the air as if it were carnivalesque-confetti-snow and then flung to the ground, scattered as to mark an area of joy where thrift gives way to the sign of abundance and of the ephemeral. By design, popcorn is the result of small explosive reactions that translate into something particularly spongy and soft, both to touch and to view. The sound generated by this reaction, recalls that of shooting: fireworks or firearms. On this sonorous ambiguity plays the action of PF DJ: where the struggle for independence advances between gunfire and bombardment; at dusk – during the week of the Bologna Congresses – music and dance take over, revealing the more tender, recreational, crackling and playful phase of the struggle. (MM)


8.00 pm
Communal dinner
Food by Mosobna


9.00 pm
Sound performance
by Plethor X

Plethor X is a duo from Milan who make experimentation and musical research an absolute stylistic blueprint. From James Brown to Fela Kuti, to this day. The sounds that most characterize the sound of Plethor X are of Eritrean and Ethiopian influence, such as tigryna, Eritrean folk music, and the masinko, an instrument typical of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Without roots, neither musical nor territorial: everything blends under the name of Plethor X, which therefore symbolizes the presence of a mass, of a mixture of intents, of a crowd without name, without label, irrecoognized but real and anxious to express themselves.

3.00–6.00 pm
Diasporic Saturday School
Storytelling through and with fabrics
by Saidou Ndiaye and Chiara Figone.

The Diasporic Saturday School is a porous space for youth with diasporic backgrounds, a site where to practice an encompassing understanding of self, a laboratory of imagination, a space where the importance of community and conviviality are central. It is vital for children and young people to embrace differences, to unsettle the limits constructed by monolithic articulation of identity, it is essential to listen to the many stories and forms of knowing that can be part of their expecience of being in the world and build their world(s). As a space of co-learning, the social, emotional, intellectual balance of each child is of the utmost importance. The Diasporic Saturday School is initiated by Seydou Ndiaye and Chiara Figone.

4.00 – 7.00 pm
Deep Listening session with Kirykou collective.

Kirykou is a collective formed by Jermay Michael Gabriel Yhonnas Cappellin, Leila Bencharnia, Ismael Condoy, Giuliano Pascoe, and Ronke Oluwadare. A cultural and diasporic project born in October 2019 in Milan. Through music, art and literature, Kirykou embraces the differences between bodies and cultures. Kirykou’s music is a vindication, contaminated and powered by diversity, a sonic force that crosses and transcends boundaries. Ismael Condoy plays on the mix of Andean and electronic sounds, Jermay Cappellin with those of Ethiopian rituals, Giuliano Pascoe aka Dj Droven builds on the sonorities of Western music, and Leila Bencharnia incorporates Berber sounds into classical music. Ronke Oluwadare is the wordsmith of the collective.

Opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 3–7pm
Or contact us at milano@archivesites.org to book an appointment.

Covid-19 safety measures: We are looking forward to welcoming you, safely, in our space. Please wear a maskandregister at the entrance. Thank you all for your collaboration.

Curators: Zasha Colah and Chiara Figone
Artist liaison and artistic co-production:
Soyeon Lee, Rebeca Yun Hee Pak, Amelie Jakubek,
Gaia Martino
Graphic conception: Lilia Di Bella
Translations: Emanuela Maltese
Communication: Matilde Doni and Miriam Gatt 

Archive thanks Muna Mussie for her inspiring work and and the several artists and collectives who worked together in the making of this solo exhibition and performance. The artist and curators deeply thank: the duo, Canedicoda and Valentina Lucchetti, for their essential contribution to the show and for the inhabitable structures; Nicole Colombo and Stefano Serretta for the installation; Matteo Nobile for the soundcomponent; Dotdotdot and Opendot studio and Fab Lab, Milano, for a hundred small asks; the artist space and collective Standards, Milan; Sarvesh Jasuja; Amol Patil; Monia Ben Hamouda for the visual documentation; Irise/Wenxiang Xin, Yasemin Celtikci, Silvia Castagna, Master students at NABA, Milano; Xing Bologna; Simone Lorini for loaning sound equipment.

About Muna Mussie

Muna Mussie (Eritrea, 1978, lives in Bologna) began as a performer with Teatrino Clandestino (1998–2001), and with Cesare Ronconi of Teatro Valdoca (2002–10). She was a founding member of the research collective Open (2001–5). Her work has been presented, amongst others, at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Turin, Museo Marino Marini Florence, Workspace Brussels, MAMbo Bologna, Santarcangelo Festival, Viafarini Milan, Museion Bolzano, Biennale Atlas of Transitions, Studio Arts College International in the frame of Black History Month Florence, and at the Italian Cultural Institute, a collateral site of Manifesta 2020 Marseille.

sigla /sigil
by Zasha Colah

In Muna Mussie’s solo exhibition, Bologna St. 173 – whose essence is a single movement of braids rising horizontally from the force of swiveling bodies – a millisecond-movement is expanded to reverberate through the entire space, encompassing twenty-three years of annual Eritrean political congresses and festivals at once. Attended by diasporic Eritreans from several continents, and held in Munich, Nuremberg, Pavia, but mostly (uninterrupted from 1974 to 1991) in Bologna, these festivals were a front of the struggle to overthrow military dictatorship and gain an independent new nation.

While inhabited since prehistoric time, the nation-state of Eritrea is so much an imagined community. It was severed out from many kingdoms by the Italian nation, who ruled Eritrea as a colony from 1886 until 1941. The Italians gave it the name in 1890 from the Greek words for the Red Sea. In 1942, the colonial army was defeated, and Eritrea passed from the Italians to the British, who administered it until 1952. That year, Eritrea was federated to Ethiopia by a vote in the general assembly of the United Nations. The Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), began an armed struggle in 1961. In 1962, Ethiopia annexed Eritrea, casting Eritrean identity as under siege, or occupation, leading to thrirty years of secessionist guerrilla militancy to overthrow Ethiopian rule – that of Emperor Haile Selassie till 1974, then the military govern- ment known as the Dergue. The left-wing nationalist Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), broke-out of and then fought the ELF, and it was the EPLF who overcame the Dergue to achieve independence in 1991, through guerrilla armed struggle, and the intellectual, organi- sational, moral, and financial support of the diaspora. EPLF aided a coalition of Ethiopian rebel forces take control of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. In 1993 a referendum of the Eritrean people declaring this new nation was supervised by the United Nations. ELF’s successor was the EPLF, whose successor is the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). They formed a National Assembly, and a constitution was written in 1997, which provided for multi-party elections the same year. The constitution was never implemented. PFDJ is the only political party of Eritrea. Disappearances, crises, wars, have dogged its independent history.

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A note from the Notes
by Muna Mussie

“Hundreds of people descend from buses and cars, whole families make their way toward the congress hall, they hug tightly, manifesting an intense joy, so much enthusiasm and so many smiles. Exchanging greetings: How are you?.. It’s been so long. Where are you coming from? Tell me of those who came with you, and the situation of the struggle? (this is the one most frequently heard). It’s normal to see tears well up in eyes, spontaneously and naturally, struck with emotion. As the sun moving higher shines more intensely, so grows the smile on each person’s face.”1

Testimonies of the struggle of the Eritreans exiled in Europe is a book that narrates an event, singular and extraordinary to me, and for the history of Eritrea, where I was born and the city of Bologna, where I grew up. From 1974 until 1991 in Bologna, during the month of August, there was the Congress-Festival by the E.F.L.E. (Eritrea For Liberation in Europe). Here hundreds, thousands of Eritreans from all over the world (USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Northern Europe) gathered for twenty years in support of the struggle for the liberation of Eritrea from Ethiopia.

Le Caserme Rosse (the Red Barracks), the site that hosted the Festival – located in a large public park in Corticalla, in the peripheral neighbourhoods of Bologna – goes down in history for having been a concentration and sorting camp of the Nazis, active from 8 September 1943 to 12 October 1944. I remember attending some of these festivals during the eighties, when I was still a little girl; what remains of that experience and that fascinates me still, is the festivity of the event: a tenacious political resistance that passed especially through commonality, the music, the dances.

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Past Events

Artist in Residency
29.01.21 – 31.03.21

“The concept of trespassing is close to me because it relies on my roots-uprooted. I belong to a feeling of de-construction, of non-belonging that is the filter with which I look, live, and operate; the constant search for aesthetic cohesion is my daily, salvific exercise.”

—Muna Mussie

Sharing a dialogue with Muna Mussie since the very beginning of our embarking in Milano, we’re thrilled and more than grateful to announce her residency at Archive, from January 29 to March 31. As an artist, she explores her own ways for (Re)membering and (Re)grounding with a performative and situated practice addressing memories, languages, and world making through the constant refounding of experience in reciprocity, and multiplicity of stories. Muna will work on a site specific and practice-based research, involving and enlightening our space in Milano as a space of participation, and as one force at stake, an active part of the engagement.

Muna Mussie Curva (2019), Photos by Luca Ghedini.

Residency Program:
Filmon Yemane Talk

6.03.2021

In the context of the artist, Muna Mussie’s residency at Archive Milan, Filmon Yimane spoke about the recent violence in Tigray, Ethiopia’s border region with Eritrea, through the lens of the intertwined history of the region over the last twenty years.

Filmon Yemane (Eritrea, 1995, lives in Bologna since 2008) is working on a thesis critically analysing the federal and constitutional system of Ethiopia for a master’s degree in International and Diplomatic Sciences at the University of Bologna since 2018. He has participated in several cultural activities and artistic projects, including the realization of a documentary film within the project Atlas of Transitions–New Geographies for a Cross-Cultural Europe, and is a contributor to LUMI a book by the Bologna-based artist collective ZimmerFrei (Mousse, 2020). Currently he is collaborating with the artist Muna Mussie to develop a performance work, Curva Cieca (trans. Blind Turn).

(Re)memberings and (Re)groundings. Meditations

30.01.21

A gathering with Silvana Carotenuto, Zasha Colah, Lilia Di Bella, Binta Diaw, Giovanna Esposito Yussif , Chiara Figone, Paz Guevara, Soyeon Lee, Lisa Lindsay, Emanuela Maltese, Muna Mussie, Monilola Olayemi Ilupeju, Beya Othmani, Rebeca Pak

About the Event

Conceived as a rehearsal for togetherness, consisting of meditations, performative readings, and collective listening, this hybrid gathering continued an ongoing series of dialogues on theoretical and spiritual (re)memberings and (re)groundings.In this context, (re)membering within and across archives is a praxis of activating memory (re)deployed to unsettle violent systems of oppression.
Following a public conversation between the artists Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa and Alessandra Ferrini and workshops by the artists Alessandra Ferrini and Belinda Kazeem-Kaminski, (Re)memberings and (Re)groundings pauses to unpack the recurring terms, theory, and debates underlying this year-long research project that began in December at Archive’s new space in Milan (extending radicles and first roots) that will carry through 2021.
The long-term research project “(Re)memberings and (Re)groundings” finds one such radicle in the library of the former Centro Documentazione Frantz Fanon, that was active in Milan throughout the 1960s and whose traces persist in a body of material housed by Panetteria Occupata, an occupied space since 1991. The Centro Documentazione’s main purpose was to create a network of support for anti-colonial movements and to actively research, translate, and publish documentation of their struggles. By (re)membering this archive, a manifold of narratives and strategies emerge as tools to use in the struggle against the coloniality of power.

Muna Mussie Punteggiatura (2018), Photo by M. Ben Hamouda

About the Program

(Re)memberings and (Re)groundings was conceived by Archive in the framework of “Vulnerable Archives: On Silenced Archives and Dissenting Views,” a project by SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin in collaboration with R22 Tout-Monde (together with Atelier Medicis, Clichy/Montfermeil, Un Lieu pour respirer, Les Lilas, Rester. Etranger, Saint-Denis), After the Archive?, Istanbul, and Archive, Milan. 
The project is funded by and in cooperation with Allianz Kulturstiftung and in cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin in the framework of the Archive Project.

From the archive

Monsters, Catastrophes and the Anthropocene: A Postcolonial Critique

Monsters, Catastrophes and the Anthropocene: A Postcolonial Critique

30.04.2021

Gaia Giuliani presenta il suo ultimo libro Monsters, Catastrophes and the Anthropocene: A Postcolonial Critique, (Routledge: London, 2020), in un percorso che esplora gli immaginari occidentali su disastri naturali, migrazioni di massa e terrorismo secondo una lettura postcoloniale, dalla quale emerge lo sguardo europeo su mostruosità e catastrofi.

Undercommons

Undercommons

23.02.2021

Undercommons. Pianificazione fuggitiva e studio nero is the first book of the series Ante-politics published with Tamu Edition. In this essential book, Stefano Harney and Fred Moten draw on the theory and practice of the black radical tradition as it supports, inspires, and extends contemporary social and political thought and aesthetic critique.

Archive Milano

Archive Milano

15.12.2020

Through its new site in Milan, Archive strives to challenge and unravel a monolithic idea of Italy based on the assertion of whiteness. Archive is a space of intertwining trajectories, taking into account a plurality of art, cultural and political forms, histories, legacies, and perspectives—among them, Milan’s anti-fascist tradition and its support of anti-colonial struggles.

On Fragments and Historical Erasure

On Fragments and Historical Erasure

19.12.2020

Archive is thrilled to begin its activities in Milan with a talk on archival research, anti-colonial militancy, and processes of historical erasure by artist and researcher Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa. In her talk she unraveled the lines of inquiry driving her project Carrying Yours and Standing Between You, that presents her research into the life of the revolutionary Pan-Africanist Amy Ashwood Garvey.