Annotations

by Nico Andreas Heller

Annotations offers cultural producers a space to reflect on the defining currents and crises of our time and to talk about how these currents and crises impact and, in some cases, motivate their practice.

Conceived as a multiplatform multimedia online publication, Annotations combines a newsletter with a podcast and youtube channel and is presented by  ... 

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Podcast episodes

  • Season 2

  • Practicing Decoloniality: A Curator's Perspective

    Practicing Decoloniality: A Curator's Perspective

    Nico Heller in Conversation with Lou Mo. Lou Mo is a leading Taipei-based artist and curator, specialising in her curatorial practice in contemporary Asian and African art. She read Art History at McGill University (2009-2013), graduating with a BA, and later studied Chinese Art in the Asian Studies division of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris (2014-2017). In 2022 Lou was selected as one of four guest curators of the 14th Dakar Bienniale in Senegal (2022) and in 2023-24 she curated Hot Flux: Modern and Contemporary Photography in Taiwan and Africa at the Tainan Art Museum. As a member of the School of Mutants collective, her works have been exhibited in venues such as the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the Centre Pompidou Metz, the 12th Berlin Bienniale, the autostrada biennale, and the Glasgow International. Her other research-based works have recently been exhibited at the Hong-Gah Museum and The Cube Space in Taipei, and the Kochi Bienniale in India. In this dialogue, we explore how Lou, as a Chinese-Canadian female curator and artist, engages with, frames, and presents the practices and work of different African and Asian artists through a decolonial lens, centring non-European artistic approaches rather than relating them primarily to Western conventions. Further information about Lou Mo is available via LinkedIn. Her blog can be found on WordPress. To ensure you never miss an Annotations Dialogue, do subscribe to our YouTube channel and our newsletter at www.annotations.art. If you are already a free subscriber and like what we do, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription.

  • Staging Resilience: Theatre as Resistance Under Occupation

    Staging Resilience: Theatre as Resistance Under Occupation

    Nico Andreas Heller in Conversation with Iman Aoun. In a region where narratives often clash, Iman Aoun's artistic voice resonates as a beacon of creative resilience. The award-winning Palestinian actress, director, and co-founder of Ashtar Theatre in Ramallah since 1991, Iman has harnessed the techniques of Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed. Her pioneering work sheds light on the suffering and plight of Palestinians under occupation and in exile through critically acclaimed projects such as The Gaza Monologues, the One Billion Rising Palestine campaign, and her current production, Oranges and Stones. Iman joins us from Portugal to discuss her artistic journey, Oranges and Stones, and the role her art plays in fostering resistance and rebellion. First staged in 2017 and now revived, Oranges and Stones is currently showing at the Almada Municipal Theatre in Almada, Portugal. This powerful play poignantly depicts Palestinian displacement through a wordless story of a refugee gradually expelling a local woman from her home and orange orchards after WWI, following the Balfour Declaration of 1917. About this production, Peter Brook wrote: It's an amazing, magnificent piece of work. In fact, it is all of a piece, as there is no way of separating conception, visualisation, staging, performing – and meaning. If there is any very positive and hopeful message, as some of the audience in the discussion were looking for – it is there in the fact that your work is an affirmation that unity – even for 48 minutes and encompassing the spectators – is real. More information about Iman Aoun is available linkedin.com/in/iman-aoun-6779ab17. Ashtar Theatre's website can be found at ashtar-theatre.org. To never miss an Annotations Dialogue, subscribe to our Substack newsletter at annotations.art and our YouTube channel at youtube.com/@nnotationz. If you already are a free subscriber and like what we do, please consider upgrading.

  • #ArtForTheHumans

    #ArtForTheHumans

    Nico Andreas Heller in Conversation with Yvon Ngassam. Yvon Ngassam, based in Douala, Cameroon, combines traditional and contemporary media to explore urban transformation and to confront the enduring legacies of slavery, colonial history, displacement and migration. Employing a wide range of techniques, from photography, video and sound, to conceptual, live and digital art, he examines these themes from the perspective of resilience and through the prism of dreams, envisioning alternative narratives of empowerment. Central to his work is his profound engagement with Cameroon's socio-political landscape and the wider African context. By combining traditional methods like etching and embroidery with technologies such as NFTs, Yvon challenges conventional notions of medium-specificity and critically examines cultural heritage, identity and power dynamics in post-colonial societies. In this podcast, we explore his notion of the artist as a custodian of collective memory, talk about who the ‘humans’ are in his #ArtForTheHumans, and discuss why resilience is such a central concern for him. His recent solo exhibitions include: ‘Crypto Genèse: Opus 1’, Institut français du Cameroun – Yaoundé (2024); ‘Seeds and Souls’, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2023-24); ‘Portrait of a Community – Features of a Land’, Municipal Foyer, Lolodorf (2022); ‘Traces’, Doual’Art, Douala (2021). He has participated in international group exhibitions and biennales including: ‘The Nudity of the Soul’, Kunsthal Aarhus (2021); ‘Streams of Consciousness’, 12th Bamako Encounters – African Biennale of Photography, Bamako (2019); ‘L’Heure Rouge’, 13th Dak’Art – Biennale of Contemporary African Art, Dakar (2018); ‘Rip It Up’, 2nd Changjiang International Photography and Video Biennale, Changjiang Museum of Contemporary Art, Changjiang (2017). For more information about Yvon Ngassam, visit his website.

  • Why Theatre?

    Why Theatre?

    Nico Andreas Heller in Conversation with Stefan Kaegi. Over the years, Stefan Kaegi’s work has been variously described as documentary, participatory, experimental and postdramatic. In this podcast we talk about his unique approach and practice as a theatre director and work with Remini Protokoll, the Berlin-based collective he cofounded in early 2000 together with Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel. Born and raised in Switzerland, he studied philosophy in Basel, art in Zurich and theatre in Gießen (in Germany). Defying conventions, for over 20 years he has been creating documentary theatre, audio-interventions and curated formats that redefine what theatre can be and do. Using research, public auditions and conceptual processes, he often gives voice to ‘experts' who are not trained actors but have something to say. Over the years Stefan won numerous national and international awards and his work has been shown at festivals and theatres around the world. For more information about Stefan Kaegi, visit Rimini Protokoll’s website.

  • Tracing Coloniality | The Documentary Practice of Valérie Osouf

    Tracing Coloniality | The Documentary Practice of Valérie Osouf

    Nico Andreas Heller in Conversation with Valérie Osouf. Valérie Osouf is a French documentary film maker and artist, and a leading voice in the migrant rights and social justice movement internationally. She is currently working on a feature-length international documentary on human mobility, traversing five countries (UAE, Russia, Rwanda, China, and Canada) and in November will be shooting a nocturnal urban motorbike film in Kigali. Whilst she has frequently crossed over into fine art practice, in 2021 she formally joined the artists’ collective School of Mutants and, since then, has exhibited widely also with them, including at The New Museum in Rotterdam, the Berlin Biennial of Contemporary Art, the Kaunas Biennial of Contemporary Art, and soon at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery in Leeds. Neo-/Colonialism, France’s colonial history and decoloniality feature big in Valérie’s work. In this podcast we explore these themes further within the context of and in relation to her own practice as a French or European filmmaker and artist. For more information about Valérie Osouf, visit her website at eng.valerieosouf.com.