• Fri 20 04 – Sun 08 07 2018 •
Global Positioning System Not Working


Venue: Academyspace, Herwarthstraße 3, 50672 Cologne
Free admission

Opening hours:
20​ 04​ – 08​ 07​ 2018
THU / FRI 15:00–19:00
SAT / SUN 14:00–18:00

The exhibition is closed: 26 04, 10 05, 17 - 20 05, 31 05, 21 06 and 5 07 2018

The Global Positioning System, better known by its abbreviation GPS, was originally developed by the United States Department of Defense, but has long become an integral part of everyday life. Our positions in space are also invariably markers of our disappearance. In Crossfire by SHAHIDUL ALAM, for example, the empty streets in Bangladesh transform into a deserted graveyard – a melancholic cityscape echoing with the footsteps of systematic police terror and the murders of the previous night, the scenes of which the photo artist and human rights activist searches out and documents. And then the absent faces re-appear in RAFAEL LOZANO-HEMMER’s face recognition camera that searches for the missing people’s look-alikes among the spectators.

Disappearance is not an isolated, one-time occurrence. Neither people nor places, evidence nor whole cultures disappear just once and for good. Instead, this happens piecemeal and in installments. The disappearances are countered by attempts at preservation, marking the maelstrom of demise with recurring re-emergences, moments that replicate, overlap, and complete each other. Faces and facial features return to haunt us in RAJKAMAL KAHLON’s projection of Afghan men, documented under a colonial anthropological scheme, and projected over found thermal footage of the American-led bombing of Afghanistan in 2002.

The words of exiled Kashmiri poet AGHA SHAHID ALI resonate in the solitary voice of Maream Hmadeh, the mother of the artist AHMAD GHOSSEIN, who, while separated during the 10-year civil war in Lebanon, sent her husband letters in the form of audio cassettes. The love stories of Agha Shahid Ali and Maream Hmadeh both manifest the political histories of their lands, condensed into personal narratives of loss and disembodied love, of yearning and tragic memory.

In Cologne, the scars left by the NSU bombing on Keupstraße on June 9, 2004, are still a long way from being healed. The memorial that artist ULF AMINDE plans for the corner of Keupstraße and Schanzenstraße will not only remember the attack but also the years of vilification that turned the actual victims into perpetrators.

Global Positioning System Not Working reverses the process of forgetting, disappearance and extinction. That which has seemingly disappeared forever emerges anew through artistic interventions, salvaged and transformed in the creative process.

SHAHIDUL ALAM (* 1955 in Dhaka) is a photographer, author, curator, and activist. His photographic work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, at the Royal Albert Hall and the Tate Modern, both in London, among others. He has been a guest speaker at Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, and Cambridge universities, and has chaired the jury of the World Press Photo contest. Alam is a visiting professor at Sunderland University in the United Kingdom and a member of the advisory board of the National Geographic Society.

The poet AGHA SHAHID ALI (1949–2001) grew up in Kashmir and immigrated to the United States in 1967. Ali penned several volumes of poems; individual works have also been published in American Alphabets: 25 Contemporary Poets (2006) and in many other anthologies. As professor of creative writing, he taught at various universities and colleges in India and the United States. He also worked as a translator and editor.

In his work, the artist and filmmaker ULF AMINDE (* 1969 in Stuttgart) engages with socially relevant questions and addresses the potential for self-empowerment and performative aspects in documentary film. To memorialize the victims and those affected by the racist terror attacks perpetrated by the NSU network on Probsteigasse (2001) and Keupstrasse (2004) in Cologne, he is developing the film and participatory project “Mahnmal Keupstraße”.

AHMAD GHOSSEIN (* 1981 in Beirut) is an artist and filmmaker. In his works based on documentary materials he combines video art, installation, and photography. His work has been shown in numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Oslo Kunstforening, and the Nam June Paik Art Center in South Korea, as well as in major film festivals like the Berlinale and the Cannes and Dubai film festivals.

RAFAEL LOZANO-HEMMER (* 1967 in Mexico City) is known for his electronic, interactive installations that straddle architecture and performance art. In 2007, he designed the Mexican Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, MUAC Museum in Mexico City, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer lives and works in Montreal and Madrid.

RAJKAMAL KAHLON (* 1974 in Auburn, USA) questions the boundaries between painting, photography, and sculpture in her interdisciplinary practice. Her works have been shown in many prominent museums as well as at art biennials in North America, Europe, the Mideast, and Asia. She is currently showing a solo exhibition at the Weltmuseum, Vienna. She lives and works in Berlin.

The Tribunal was initiated and will be carried out by the nationwide activist alliance “Unraveling the NSU Complex”, as well as by a number of individual anti-racist activists.