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2020 - ongoing

EVENT, April,30th 2022: 

One Belt. Many Roads. First public online presentation on April, 30th 2022, 14.00

This event is funded by Austrian Federal Ministery for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport, Division Arts and Culture.

A collaboration between Agung Kurniawan/INDONESIA. Almagul Menlibayeva/KAZAKHSTAN. Behzad Khosravi Noori/IRAN, PAKISTAN. Berhanu Ashagrie Deribew/ETHIOPIA., Hatem Bourial/TUNISIA. transparadiso (Paul Rajakovics, Barbara Holub)/ITALY. Yara Mekawei/EGYPT. and Grammar of Urgencies (Maren Richter, Klaus Schafler with Niels Plotard)/AUSTRIA.


One Belt. Many Roads (OBMR) is a transdisciplinary long-term collaboration project, that explores at eight destinations along China’s global large-scale infrastructure project, the “New Silk Road”, how the chain of activities of this neocolonialism affects them, what new kinds of grammars of dependencies or new geographies emerge or old mechanisms of occupation are being reproduced. The „New Silk Road“, the Belt and Road Initiative’(BRI), formerly 'One Belt, One Road’, is arguably the most comprehensive global project, through which China aims to declare itself the largest economic power on earth. The official plot is to speed up the transport of goods between Asia and Europe through newly constructed logistics, the necessary facilities are being created in various corridors on land and water. 

The term Silkroad was only coined in 1877 by German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen to describe the ancient trade routes by drawing a nearly straight and single line, although they were really a network of routes that diverged and converged across the extent of Eurasia. This happened in the context of the nineteenth-century orientalism and the European conquest of China. Like the myth of Silk Road, Belt and Road is storytelling to both simplify and glorify the unimaginable complexity of human actions, thoughts and relations across vast spans of space and time. 

OBMR takes “Belt and Road” as the methodological point of departure for a research on how we can re-imagine territories. In search for the “polyphonic potentials of the irregular” OBMR aims to traverse the ecologies of the local, of hi/story and seeks the productive potentials of unproductive by-products by zooming into the layers and toxic interweaving mechanisms that administer time, space and narratives. Taking a critical subjective position, we find it useful to interpret the phenomenon of “Belt and Road” as a fragmented narrative. Our methodology relies on the process of collaborating, collecting pieces and using essayistic as well as performative methods as a form of artistic representation with offering time and space for exchange and sharing stories, plots and narratives.

Conventionally understood as the operative substrate of contemporary global life, “infrastructure” invokes systems such as physical networks for transportation and communications, the organization of waste and utilities, resource flows, digital management, and capital movements. Moving away from these material associations, OBMR grows from the interest toward the ghostly, affective, and fugitive intensities that undergird both infrastructural and quotidian life, the hidden and invisible textures that sustain an undefinable and disruptive quality in an otherwise efficient seeming organism, or in other cases, the ephemeral glue that ‘holds things together in affective modality’. “Polyphonic potentials of the irregular” by nature elude stable definitions but act as fleeting recompositions and hauntings of dominant historical narratives and structures. By so doing, they allow for the warding off of the regimes of capture deployed by contemporary governmentality and governance. The project conjures the invisible, inaudible, and illegible through textures, rhythms, atmospheres, invocations, gestures, vernaculars, and affects— elements that escape traditional forms of tracking or measurement, calling instead for experimental forms of mapping, sensing, and tracing.


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