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(c) Mona Namer

“As an artist i didn’t think much about what I was doing at that time. It was more of a survival strategy. I had to leave my comfort zone,” says Elsa M’bala, reflecting on her relocation to Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, in 2012. Elsa M’bala left her guitar and practice as a singer-songwriter in Münster, Germany, to move back to Cameroon—and shifted towards working with digital sonic tools and cyberspace. In Cameroon she began recording people in taxi buses without their knowledge, embarking on a process of disidentification: unlearning what she knew, tapping into unknown, unfamiliar spaces. She listened to these recordings in order to process memories: from her childhood in Cameroon, her coming of age in Germany, her research trips in various African contexts, and her presence back in Yaoundé. This has been a continuous identity quest, a process of coming to grips with her sense of belonging, and alternative collective histories. In her practice M’bala works with her own recordings as well as archival materials to piece together historical facts, narratives, and their impact on today’s world, creating a living archive that is made tangible through the power of sound. Elsa M’bala shows us that marginalized bodies and voices can be (re)connected through shared collectivities. For im*possible bodies #2 she will be doing a sound research on the idea of community. (Text by Aïcha Diallo / berlin biennale 2018)

Moses März completed a Master’s degree in Political Science at the Free University Berlin (FU) in 2012. He then moved to Cape Town (South Africa) where he began research for his PhD thesis on Édouard Glissant’s “politics of relation” at the African Studies Department of the University of Cape Town (UCT). In 2016, he returned to Germany to continue his postdoc at the University of Potsdam as part of the RTG Minor-Cosmopolitanisms. He is a contributing editor for the Pan-African literary magazine Chimurenga Chronic since 2014 and in 2018, co-founded the literary journal Mittel & Zweck together with Philipp Meyer in Berlin.

At im*possible bodies #2, Moses März will speak about his research on Édouard Glissant’s philosophy and the possible implications of Glissant’s politics of relation for our understanding of political borders, as well as for concepts of local, regional and global community.