For some time now, there has been a thematic focus on Africa in the media design course at DHBW Ravensburg: mediendesign-ravensburg.de/play-session-come-back-africa, Play Session – Between tribal and global referencing or mediendesign-ravensburg.de/the-new-people.
In Berlin in spring 2015, Holger Lund met the Austrian director Sandra Krampelhuber and saw her documentary “100% Dakar,” which presents the situation in design and related fields such as music, dance and fashion in Dakar (film trailer: https://vimeo.com/92330537.
At the same time, Klaus Birk met Verena Gerlach at the Typotage in Leipzig and learned about her typo-workshops in North Africa, India and the Middle East (documentaries: http://www.fraugerlach.de).
It quickly became clear that this was a case for a Dinner Time Talk. For away from the Western focus of attention, extraordinary design approaches are to be pursued, in context, methodology and practice. This concerns participatory, informal and non-authoritative approaches, strategies of self-empowerment and collaboration, upcycling and do-it-yourself methods, but above all highly dynamic resilience and creative strategies. They serve a production of culture that aims for independence.
Unlike Lunch Time Talk, which focuses on solo performances, the Dinner Time Talk is about duos. More precisely, it is a blind date duo, because the speakers and discussants do not know each other, although there is an intersection of their fields of interest. Exciting conditions, therefore, for a joint discussion on topics of design and its social relevance.
The documentary film “100% Dakar – more than art” (Austria/Senegal, approx. 60 min., 2014) by director Sandra Krampelhuber will also be shown. Graphic designer Verena Gerlach will give an insight into her international projects such as Paradox Alg(i)r(s) and Chamki Remix, which were created in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut in Algiers and Bangalore. Afterwards, both guests will discuss their perspectives and experiences from these projects.
Sandra Krampelhuber became interested in so-called black music and the cultural currents of Africa and the African diaspora at an early age, which was further deepened by her studies in ethnology, social and cultural anthropology. In 2004, she left for Kingston, Jamaica, to investigate the understudied female side of Jamaican reggae and dancehall culture. Her resulting first documentary Queens of Sound – A Herstory of Reggae and Dancehall was rewarded with international festival screenings. Trips to Dakar, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo followed, always focusing on the music, art and cultural production of each country. Driven by her passion for music and her urge to look at the social backgrounds of different music genres, she initiated and curated the first KAPU film festival in Linz in 2010, with documentaries on music from Africa and the African diaspora. In 2012 and 2014 she curated and organized the festivals “Survival of the Hippest? Urban Art and Culture in Africa” and “Afropea Now!” (http://ta.stwst.at) of the Stadtwerkstatt Linz. In 2014, she made her second documentary film “100% Dakar – more than art” about the young art and culture scene in Dakar, Senegal. The film had its world premiere at the Crossing Europe Film Festival 2014 and has since been shown many times at international festivals, most recently at the New York Africa Film Festival 2015 at Lincoln Center in Manhattan: http://100-dakar.com
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Verena Gerlach discovered the abundance and beauty of signs and shop lettering in East Berlin. She preserved her typographic discoveries photographically and processed them in 1998/2013 in the typeface and book project Karbid, which documents these lost forms of German type aesthetics. Her interest in handmade and non-academic professional everyday typography led her to Algeria, India or the Middle East, among other places, where she carried out numerous design projects and workshops with local craftsmen, artists and laypeople. In her lecture, Verena Gerlach will shed light on this creative transformation. Verena Gerlach (Berlin) works freelance in the fields of type design, typography, graphic design/book design and works for international contemporary artists. She has been a freelance lecturer in typography and typedesign at universities worldwide since 2003. www.fraugerlach.de