Christian Nyampeta

Entering From The Inside

In his current series of works that span this residency, Christian Nyampeta delves deeper into the ‘idiorrhythmy’. This theological concept originates in the late Antiquity and in early Western asceticism and refers to societies who lived together and yet alone, such as the hermits and outcasts of this period who sought refuge in the North African desert, founding new autonomous religious communities. The term idiorrhythmy stems from the word ‘idios’ (own, private), which is the root for words such as ‘idiot’ and ‘idiom.’ Idios is also related to concepts of identity formation such as ‘idea’. Here the idiosyncrasy of ‘living in one’s own rhythm’ and creating the space and time to do so is in contrast with the individual’s need for contact with ‘the other’ in order to live. Nyampeta explores this notion as a sphere of ideas and extends this thought into what famous philosophers have called ‘unconditional hospitality’, in which conversations form a terrain where various ideals and ideologies may forge or simulate a cohabitation. You could see his approach as an ode to public debate, itself posing a lucid and urgent question: Is it possible in Europe – in its current, tired state – to imagine such an unconditional hospitality? And how might we give shape to such an absolute hospitality, both aesthetically and politically?

In Western history, the societal concept of ‘hospitality’ is defined by Greek-Roman ideas, influenced by both the Jewish-Christian tradition and by the political philosophy of Kant and Hegel, who each played important roles in the development of revolutionary and universally regarded human values. In the tradition of identity, hospitality with respect to the ‘foreigner’ was always conditional and regulated according to a social contract with the ruling nation. The state has by default an intrinsic value that places itself above the individual and organic society, enacting rules that serve to establish the difference between citizens and foreigners, hosts and guests. An unconditional hospitality would assume the throwing open of our doors to the anonymous other and the sharing of our space without any promise of a return on investment. This absolute form of welcoming creates a glitch in the identity of the self: via the unknown guest, the host re-enters his or her intimate home. In this presentation, Christian Nyampeta gives this central question space and time and visualises the idea surrounding it in a landscape of ‘hosting structures’.

Entering From The Inside is arranged like a meeting room that invites the visitor to consider the speculation and the practice of unconditional hospitality. The exhibition includes the online radio station Radius, which features a programme of live sessions. The live sessions of this programme are open to the visitors, and the radio platform encourages further uses through contributions and hosting of the visitor’s and staff’s own programmes for the duration of the period of the exhibition. The room is backgrounded with a panoramic wall drawing that evokes the value and complexities of exile and exodus as a motif for a more actual European currency. The room is arranged with resting structures which facilitate the reading of fragments from Nyampeta’s ongoing dossier of contrasting journeys and encounters.
Central to this interior are video recordings of conversations with non-EU philosophers who nevertheless have a lot to say about Western thought. This polyphonic conversation between insiders, outsiders and new members of our society (or societies) highlights the making, the use and the sharing of time and space. The associative element present here is elemental in the artist’s undertakings. Fellow artists and friends as well as researchers such as Noah Angell, Dr Jean Paul Martinon, Dr Isaïe Nzeyimana and Tom Richards, among others, have made contributions from their wide-ranging geographical and cultural positions. Podcasts, transcriptions of conversations, recordings and other ‘documents’ will come to light during the online residency period and will be added to the presentation over time.

For the opening weekend of Radius, the London-based artist Noah Angell presents two radio sessions on Radius at Netwerk.

1. In a cell lit by singing fireflies – live on Radius, on Friday 22 April 2016, 4 – 5pm
“In a cell lit by singing fireflies guides us through an auditory cinema of desire, distance, and bodily rhythm. We are transported by a few select categories of ethnographic field recordings: Love songs transmitted via bird and insect messengers, a form which carries the voice beyond its audible range to the ears of the desired recipient, prison songs where the yearnings of the incarcerated fail to reach their loved ones, but instead reverberate unheard in concrete cells, and by the maternal resonances of bass immersion as exemplified in recordings of gongs – which recall the warm and watery sound filters of the womb.
Featuring recordings from Papua New Guinea, Bulgaria, France, Mississippi and Vietnam.”
Everyone is welcome to tune online or to attend the performance in the studio.

2. Sunday Live radio session, 25 April 2016, 4pm to 6pm
On Sunday afternoon Noah Angell and Christian Nyampeta will preside over a live broadcast of gospel and country blues from the Southern United States recorded mostly during the post-industrial period of the 1960s onward. Angell and Nyampeta will discuss the music’s links to systems of labour, religion and politics as they existed in the American South at that time, and as they continue today.

Further programme will be announced regularly, please subscribe to our channels and follow the announcements for further updates.

We invite you to follow the program of Radius with live contributions of Noah Angell online through the exhibition page on netwerk-art.be.

Christian Nyampeta is an artist living and working in London. Nyampeta is a PhD candidate at the Visual Cultures Department of Goldsmiths, University of London. He researches idiorrhythmy, a formational concept for regional utopian imaginaries drawn from early asceticism, proposed through Roland Barthes’ Comment Vivre Ensemble, and Sub-Saharan African philosophy. Ongoing activities include contributions to research programmes of Another Roadmap Africa Cluster. Recent exhibitions include Through the Fog: Descripting the Present, a group exhibition at State of Concept in Athens curated by Nick Aikens, Prix de Rome 2015 at de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam, How to Live Together: Prototypes, The Showroom, London; New Habits, the research group exhibition organised by Casco – Office for Art Design and Theory, Utrecht; How To Live Together at Casco and at Stroom Den Haag between 2013 and 2014. Forthcoming activities include contributions to the Gwangju Biennial 2016, the Jerusalem Show 2016 and the Venice Biennale 2017.

This solo exhibition is organized in the context of the European collaboration Understanding Territoriality Identity, Place and Possession, funded by the programm Creative Europe of the European Union.