Every two years, we issue a call for projects that leads to the publication of a collective book, giving all photographers and writers the opportunity to publish. The aim of these calls for projects is to build a book around a subject that we believe is at the heart of contemporary issues. We are always on the lookout for authors willing to entrust us with their lines and eyes.
Working Men Have No Country
To rethink a world that fights against social injustices would be to adopt alternative ways of thinking. These ways are not those of the world where a cultural hegemony rages, but those that lead to recognition and representations of pluralities. Guided by postcolonial thinkers such as Achille Mbembe, we are proposing here to question the renewal of sociability; a notion repeatedly corrupted and usually absent from contemporary politics in spite of efforts made by artists, militants and activists to rethink it intelligently.
One of the roles of schools and universities is to open us up to shared reflections: spaces for circulating ideas, spaces of sharing. Within them, groups of individuals of all tendencies (cultural, political, philosophical, religious) are formed and initiate the constitution of movements that challenge injustices. They can branch-out, extending to have a strong impact on public opinion. For example, the FEANF (Black African Students Federation in France, est. 1950) and the Algerian Hirak (est. 2019) were both initiated by students and awarded the recognition of their cause on the international scene. From 1960, cooperation developed between African, Eastern Bloc and Western Bloc universities in order to rethink inequalities such as colonial systems, exploitations, capitalistic order. In the context of colonisations, world wars and the Cold War, this triangle of academic exchanges and political ideas remains underexplored.
We are looking for photographic, literary and theoretical contributions that would allow us to measure the possible repercussions of these movements on today’s thought. In doing so, the study of multicultural student organisations created after Independences and based in various countries (Congo, Benin, Algeria, South Africa, France, Austria, Russia, Ethiopia, Poland, …) would seem an excellent starting point. Thanks to your propositions, we are hoping to clarify the complex contribution of these different movements on multilateral exchanges in our three poles of interest: Africa, Eastern Europe and Western Europe.
Following the peregrinations and cultural heritages of these students, could we not rethink an in-common world, rethink diversity and stand against certain neoliberal tendencies that shattered and banned any sorts of differences and daydreaming?
Through figures such as Achille Mbembe, Henri Lopes, Elaine Mokhefi, Guy Tillim, Santu Mofokeng, Frantz Fanon and many others, we could ask ourselves many questions:
- What are the visual, political, literary links that have once unified African, Eastern European and Western European universities and under which forms are they appearing today?
- How could we understand today’s inequalities through the revolts of the past?
- How could we “rethink” French republican values built on the ruins of colonialism and slavery?
- How does photography, art and literature continue to question some of the imperialist principals that are still used today, disguised in constitutive elements of “democracy”?