The first TURN2 resident to arrive in Lagos is Berlin-based Lynhan Balatbat Helbock, a curator and researcher at SAVVY Contemporary, where she is part of the participatory archive project Colonial Neighbours. Ahead of her residency, which commences in May 2022, Lynhan discusses her practice and her hopes for the trip.
What is the current focus of your research and curatorial practice?
The focus of my overall research evolves around the question of heritage, colonial traces that manifest in the contemporary or near future and the collective approach to undoing these ongoing structures. The practice could be understood within the broader sense of organising structures that are needed for the collective labour of decanonising the imposed historicities.
What drew you towards a residency in Nigeria and how do you think the location will inform your work?
The many existing open strands, creative production and inspiring works both by individuals and the creative industry that already exists. Having worked in megacities before, I am drawn towards the complexities of navigating between the omnipresent stimulations and helping facilitate small islands for intimate encounters.
Can you give us an insight into how you hope to shape your 8-week residency?
The first weeks will be dedicated to getting to know the environment and a lot of listening. This will be followed by visits to art spaces, exchanges and collective drafting of a timeline for small work schedules. Art practitioners, neighbouring businesses, street vendors and more local people outside the art bubble should be invited to join the various formats of community encounters.
We will draft a plan for two parallel projects: short term activities like pop up events along with long term collaborations for sonic archival production. These activities will be accompanied by closed workshops in smaller groups and the two last weeks are planned for meetings to discuss strategies for sustainable collaborations.
Are there any places of interest that you're looking forward to visiting or attending?
The main focus in regards to venues would be focusing on places of encounter, be it within the compound of the residential area, cultural institutions or gathering spaces.
All featured images are from Monumental Shadows – Rethinking Colonial Heritage, an artistic exploration of Germany’s colonial heritage and current culture of remembrance that took place in Berlin in 2021. The project was initiated by artist duo Various & Gould and developed in cooperation with Colonial Neighbours a project by Lynhan Balatbat Helbock for SAVVY Contemporary.
Photography by Raisa Galofre.
LYNHAN BALATBAT-HELBOCK is a curator and researcher at SAVVY Contemporary where she is part of the participatory archive project Colonial Neighbours. She received her MA in Postcolonial Cultures and Global Policy at Goldsmiths University of London. In her work within the permanent collection of SAVVY Contemporary, she looks for colonial traces that are manifested in our present. The collaborative archive dedicates itself to discussing silenced histories and to the decanonisation of the Western gaze through objects and the stories behind them. In close collaboration with artists, initiatives and activists, the archive is activated through hybrid forms of practice.
She assisted the management of the documenta14 radio program––Every Time a Ear di Soun, SAVVY Funk in Berlin (June–July 2017). She supported the artist Bouchra Khalili with several projects and exhibitions (May 2015–May 2016) and worked on a yearlong research project on Julius Eastman in a collaboration between SAVVY Contemporary and the Maerzmusik Festival (Berliner Festspiele, March 2017–2018).
In 2018 she produced Agnieszka Polska ́s commission for Germany’s National Gallery Prize show in the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin (September 2018-March 2019).
Recently she co-curated the yearlong research and exhibition programme HERE HISTORY BEGAN. TRACING THE RE/VERBERATIONS OF HALIM EL-DABH (2020-2021).