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Artist Talk - Special

The Spectres of May - A Hauntological Saloon

Begleiten Sie unter freiem Himmel und in entspannter Atmosphäre unsere Künstler:innen Cristina Kristal Rizzo, Tänzerin aus Florenz, Pedro Sepulveda Cruz Coke aus Chile, den aus Mexiko stammenden Alberto Bustamante aka "Mexican Jihad" und die in Tansania geborene Kuratorin und Künstlerin Kathleen Bomani bei der Live-Kommentierung von Ausschnitten aus Karl-May-Verfilmungen.

Im Sinne eines Saloons ist dies eine BYOB-freundliche Veranstaltung: Bring deine eigene Flasche mit!

Konzept: Kathleen Bomani
Künstler:innen: Kathleen Bomani, Alberto Bustamante, Cristina Kristal Rizzo, Pedro Sepulveda Cruz Coke


Though Karl May’s writing have been debunked as confabulations at the time of publication, its ghosts still haunt and inform the German understanding of North American Indigenous culture and largely remain uninterrogated. The opposite rather: year after year these stories are performed for an audience of tens of thousands in an open-air theatre specifically built for the purpose and “Der Schuh des Manitu”, a slapstick parody of the movie franchise, is still one of the highest grossing German movies ever, with a spin-off in form of an international touring musical. The white man’s fantasies of heroic Indians are turned into highly profitable media pieces and tourist attractions with no critical distance. The books and the movie franchises have also created a fandom with a long history both in East-Germany and West-Germany, so-called “Indianerclubs” with tens of thousands of members, combining a form of escapist cosplaying with elements of (pseudo-)historical reenactment. All these phenomena have one thing in common: they turn the genocide and violent erasure of Indigenous histories into mutated simulacra at best, but often completely omit them all together, on top of not addressing the current realities of disenfranchisement and marginalization of the Indigenous people they seek to copy and supposedly empower. 

This phenomenon is nowhere more evident, more fertile than here in Clara Zetkin Park today. Many moons ago the Saxon-Thuringian Industry and Trade Exhibition 1897 (STIGA) was anchored on these grounds giving way to a glorification of German exceptionalism in industry and commerce, and in tandem German superiority with a continental past time of human zoos, 49 human lives were forcefully removed from their then occupied home in the German East African colony and shipped to Leipzig, of which only 47 survived the journey to Leipzig, to be put on display.

May’s body of work needs to be understood not just as a series of camp fantasy novels and ethnographic projections, but it needs to be read and analyzed as a colonial hauntology of sorts, as he operated within the historical context of the German imperial project and the German obsession of defining Germanness through the construction of otherness (i.e. in form of human zoos), therefore May's pop-cultural spectres speak of the same colonial past. 

In an open air and relaxed format with the audience, join our artists of May Town in Zetkin-Park; Florence based dancemaker Cristina Kristal Rizzo; Chilean artist Pedro Sepulveda Cruz Coke, “Mexican Jihad” also known as Alberto Bustamante along with Tanzanian-born curator and artist Kathleen Bomani as we depart from the standard May fandom, with a live reaction and interrogation of a Karl May adapted western film.

- by Kathleen Bomani


Am Kubus (Parkeingang in der Nähe des Kreisverkehrs/Anton-Bruckner-Allee)

Die Teilnahme ist kostenfrei.

Die Veranstaltung findet in englischer Sprache statt.


Direkt vor dem "Artist Talk - Special":
Vernissage: "Nati"

Vergangene Termine
Do. 16.06.2022 / 20:00 Uhr