City as a Lab #4 | ‘I came here to be free’

15Sept2017 19:30 - 21:30


Presenting the work of Neo Musangi, artist in residence, through a video installation followed by a panel discussion.

Artist in residence Neo Sinoxolo Musangi (Kenya) describes themselves* as a ‘non-person of no particular significance to the survival of any species’.  Neo experiments with installation, performance and text.

During the event four video installations will be screened simultaneously. Three out of four are based on a performance done by Neo in the streets of Amsterdam at the beginning of September 2017. The performance is built on a character paradoxically embodying Jan van Riebeeck, the Dutch man who 'established’ the Cape Colony, and 'Zwarte Piet' Sinterklaas his moor assistant. Both personas are brought together through the notion of the rainbow and the notion of the gift. The fourth video is a recording of a speech by a prominent personality in South Africa in recent times. The choice of this personality (might) change depending on the outcome of the site-specific performance.

The video installations will be followed by a panel discussion (panelists TBC). The panel discussion will provide feedback to Neo’s work focusing on themes of decoloniality, race, and queer experience in the city. This will be followed by a public discussion in which the audience is invited to engage with how these ideas present themselves in every day urban life and how these issues question the imaginations of an inclusive Europe.

Neo Musangi

Through their work, Neo attempts to examine the place of history as a metaphorical interpretation for both being and dying. What began as a personal crisis of existentialism has translated into images of bodies and things that at times will resonate with people intent on unlearning. Their practice embodies an idiosyncratic view of the archive, yet the familiar imagery allows for a connection between coloniality, bodies and place. They have exhibited in group shows in South Africa and in Nairobi and they currently spend their time thinking about the life of dogs and strategies for tax abolition.


Intro by moderator

19:35 - 19:55      

Introduction of panel  by moderator

20:05 - 20:35     
Panel discussion

20:35 – 21:15      
Round-table debate and Q&A

Art Residency

The art residency of Neo is financed and supported with a Seed Grant XL of the Centre for Urban Studies. The art residency is organized by Tracian Meikle and Francesco Colona. Neo’s residency at the Centre for Urban Studies seeks to bridge the gap between academia and art. It articulates the two realms in a non-hierarchical transdisciplinary process. This residency is not only a vehicle for academics in the CUS to engage with artistic practices, but also a moment for anyone who is interested in queerness, race, and coloniality to learn and engage with each other.


Expo room, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Piet Heinkade 179, 1019 HC Amsterdam

* Neo does not identify as a woman or a man, therefore the pronouns He/She or Her/His are not used. This language problem of not having a gender neutral pronoun is overcome by using They/Their/Them.

Published by  CUS