UNMAPPING TIME: On the Decolonization of Time

On Sunday, February 26, a real highlight took place in the Berlin Global Village! We were part of the brand new festival Schall&Rausch of the Komische Oper (which will be held annualy from now on) and were able to welcome a top-class and international panel in the packed Miriam Makeba Hall.

Under the title “UNMAPPING TIME. On the Decolonization of Time,” cultural scholars Aleida Assmann and Jan Assmann (SZ Magazin called them “perhaps Germany’s most famous couple in humanities”), internationally touring musician and activist Camae Ayewa (better known as Moor Mother), lawyer, activist and author Rasheedah Phillips (both founders of the collective Black Quantum Futurism), and author and critic Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung discussed the topic. Together they took a critical look at our understanding of time.

What was particularly exciting was that the roundtable managed to initiate a real change of perspective that foregrounded decolonial approaches rather than white knowledge cultures. The approximately 80 participants gained insight into a view of time and history that includes the perspectives of marginalized communities and recognizes and respects their concepts and experiences of time.

The approach of activists Black Quantum Futurism (BQF), who joined from the U.S., views time not as a linear sequence of events, but as a complex and multifaceted dimension shaped by cultural, social, and political factors. BQF’s work demonstrates how Western-influenced notions of time and history supported and sustained colonial oppression and exploitation. The discussion highlighted this perspective and a conversation took place in which everyone learned from each other.

We thank Tilman Hecker and the Komische Oper for the successful cooperation as well as Julia Jordà Stoppelhaar (Komische Oper) and Michael Küppers-Adebisi (Berlin Global Village) for the sovereign moderation.

There will be a follow-up panel discussion with the same five panelists at the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele on May 18, 2023.

More impressions and quotes from the event are available on our Instagram account.

The video recording of UNMAPPING TIME will be available here next week: Berlin Global Village – YouTube