tectonik:TOMBWA – Café Mito da Utopia is a pop-up exhibition, research laboratory and desert cinema, staged in the ruin of a colonial Cantoneiros’ house (maintenance house), along the road from the city of Moçâmedes to the town of Tombwa, on the southwest coast of Angola
The Café is the latest iteration of tectonik: Tombwa, an ongoing research project by Angolan composer, musician and instrument designer Victor Gama into the life, work and disappearance of Angolan anthropologist Augusto Zita N’Gonguenho. Initiated in 2006, the project is based on the late anthropologist’s fragmented notes that were found in South Africa in the late 90s, and is intended to resurface his thoughts, concepts and analysis.
Café Mito da Utopia takes its name from Zita’s research project “An anthropology of Utopia: formation of Utopian identities”, which engaged English renaissance social philosopher Thomas More’s concept of “Utopia,” which Zita connected to European colonial expansionism. He substantiated this with examples from the Portuguese administrative system, and chose the road and its Cantoneiros’ houses, built in the second half of the 20th century, as sites for his field research. His research methodology included scientific methods as well as ancient divination systems derived from the animist belief that all matter is imbued with a spiritual essence.
For a month, the Café will serve as a research site, to explore and reenact Zita’s ideas and radical research methodologies in order to expose and counter dominant modes of colonial and postcolonial thinking and practice, which have produced catastrophic results for the planet and its species.
Ultimately, on July 1, it will officially open its doors to the public and serve as a meeting point for artists, poets, musicians, thinkers and researchers to retrace Zita’s journey in the territory, and to study his fragmented field notes and sketches.
This iteration of tectonik: Tombwa is conceived by Gama, in collaboration with South African writer Stacy Hardy, Angolan architect and curator Paula Nascimento, filmmaker Kiluanje Liberdade and journalist Francisco Keth Pedro. It will host “Speculative Practice and the Politics of the Wayward,” an international itinerant workshop organised by the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, and open conversations with Centro de Estudos do Deserto, CEDO, in Curoca, and Movimento Lev’Arte in Tombwa, as well as other institutes and artists. Recordings, interviews, discussion sessions and performances from the Café will be broadcast on the Pan African Space Station (www.panafricanspacestation.org.za), an online radio station and periodic, pop-up live radio studio by pan-African platform, Chimurenga, in the future.
Café Mito da Utopia is a production by PangeiArt with support from the Prince Claus Fund & Goethe Institut, and the assistance of the Centro de Estudos do Deserto, Academia de Pescas e Ciências do Mar, Provincial Government of Namibe and Huíla and the Municipal Administration of Tombwa.