Journeys with the initiated: Yesomi Umolu, Diedrich Diederichsen, and Anselm Franke

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A conversation with Yesomi Umolu, Diedrich Diederichsen, and Anselm Franke on the occasion of Journeys with the initiated, on view at e-flux and Participant Inc through January 13, 2019. The exhibition features artists Malik Gaines, Evan Ifekoya, Grada Kilomba, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, and Virginia de Medeiros, and is curated by Yesomi Umolu with Katja Rivera.

Journeys with the initiated is part of the project Hubert Fichte: Love and Ethnology, initiated by Goethe-Institut and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin with the support of S. Fischer Stiftung and the S. Fischer Verlag, and led by artistic directors Diedrich Diederichsen and Anselm Franke. The project runs from 2017 to 2019 in collaboration with numerous partners in Lisbon, Salvador de Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile, Dakar, and New York, with the final station culminating in Berlin in 2019.

Excerpt from Journeys with the initiated:

Between 1978 and 1980, queer German novelist, poet, and self-taught ethnographer Hubert Fichte traveled to New York to engage with a city that he perceived to be a center of Afro-diasporic culture and tradition. From the early 1970s and into the following decade, Fichte attempted to create a new ethnology that would run counter to an academic and colonial model. This effort coalesced in Fichte’s development of a diaristic form of ethnographic writing that accounted for his own subjectivity and embeddedness within a given context. Fichte’s novel Die Schwarze Stadt. Glossen, 1990 (The Black City: Glosses) features several sprawling long-form texts and interviews related to his encounters with artists, scholars, activists, spiritualists, everyday citizens, and queer communities in New York.

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