Colonial Neighbours

Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock

09/07/2019 17:00 - 09/07/2019 21:00

Mântuleasa 4, Bucharest, Romania


SAVVY Contemporary | The laboratory of form-ideas is an art space, discursive platform, place for good talks, foods and drinks––a space for conviviality. Founded in 2009 by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, SAVVY Contemporary situates itself at the threshold of notions of the West and non-West, to understand and deconstruct them. SAVVY Contemporary is a team of about 35 mostly volunteering members from almost all continents, who have realized a kaleidoscope of art exhibitions, research projects, performances, film screenings, lectures, concerts, readings, talks, dances. In 2017, SAVVY has set up a new radio station, SAVVY Funk, in the framework of the documenta 14 radio programme EVERY TIME A EAR DI SOUN. SAVVY has established COLONIAL NEIGHBOURS–a participatory archive on German colonial history, a performance arts documentation centre, a library, a residency program, as well as educational projects with schools. The art space engages in its neighbourhood’s historical and socio-political realities which are entangled with the reflections and discourses of the project.

With almost a full decade, it is worth to pause and rearview the agencies and ambitions, agitations and turbulences, missions and visions that led to its founding, it is worth deliberating on the beaten and unbeaten tracks SAVVY strode and stumbled upon, as well as stating the challenges of the past and the status quo, and redefining the causes and courses.

Lynhan Balatbat–Helbock will talk about SAVVY‘s recent projects and future endeavours, what they dream about and what causes them sleepless nights, which recipes bring the team through another late night of exhibition mounting and why hospitality and conviviality are lived and challenged concept in SAVVY’s daily practise. She will further give an in-depth presentation about the archival project Colonial Neighbours, its challenges and limitations, visions and educational programs.



All participants, including the workshop initiators, should prepare to bring one or several “objects” to the space. “Objects” can be understood in many ways. They can be material or immaterial. A sound piece, a dance move. A book, an article. A film. An image. They can be personal, or impersonal. They should relate to the overall topic of archive(s), the personal narrative is vital as it would be great if the participants could say a few words about them.
Bring comfortable clothes!

Our thoughts, imaginations, personal stories and assumptions will meet in order to create a space for epistemological risk-taking that will eventually break open the selective memory and question the formats of representation.

Through the participants’ confrontations with an area of research and practice of their choice, we hope to bring together a polymorphous collection of thoughts, objects and doings, that will be explored in a collective exchange. The participants are encouraged to explore manifold forms and disciplines, from the written word to sonic manifestations, touch, ephemeral moments, performative encounters, scents, graphic patterns or whatever seems suitable.

Our research and practical enquiries will be brought together continuously and will transform
the former space into a connected living structure.

Please email info@oddweb.org to register for the workshop.

The workshop starts at 17:00, with a break at 18:30. The  talk is from 19:00 to 20:30, followed by a Q&A.


Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock

Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock is a curator and researcher at S A V V Y 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 and moved to Berlin in 2013. 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 decanonization 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. Most recently, she assisted the management for 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). Lately she produced Agnieszka Polska ́s commission for Germany’s National Gallery Prize show in the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin (September 2018-March 2019).