Reflecting on the deconstruction of borders in Africa, Achille Mbembe says »the business of a border is, in fact, to be crossed. That is what borders are for. There is no conceivable border outside of that principle, the law of permeability.« Cross-border connections subvert the notion of borders, at least in the traditional sense of the word, and offer possibilities of borderlessness, be they physical or intellectual. Drawing from Teju Cole, who says »a book suggests conversation: one person is speaking to another,« Membrane – Festival of African Books and Ideas, taking place in Stuttgart May 23 – 26, seeks to circumvent the notion of borders and permeability by initiating cross-border dialogue and exchange through literature and art.
Thus, within the framework of Membrane – Festival of African Books and Ideas curated by Felwine Sarr, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, and Nadja Ofuatey-Alazard, authors from Francophone West Africa, Anglophone East Africa and former German colonies in Africa, fostering and challenging the concept of »Africanity,« Afro-European and Afropolitanism, will enter into conversation.
Accompanying the festival, Schlosspost will curate the issue Membrane – Permeable Thinking in African/-diasporic Literatures and Art which will amplify these conversations as well as open up the conversations. With a multidisciplinary approach and form that goes from text to multimedia art, Schlosspost will join the ongoing dialogue as it attempts to answer questions such as:
- How can we, looking at other cultural contexts, distance ourselves from our own supposed certainties?
- How can we learn from Afropolitan mobility for a Europe of the future?
- How can precolonial institutions be restrengthened in light of historical experience? How can new modes of expression be developed?
- How can we work to overcome racism, gender hierarchies and social impenetrabilities; how can we reflect on these and research them?
We refer to authors, thinkers, scholars, journalists, poets, sound and visual artists associated with the African continent in assorted ways. Together, we shall debate, reflect upon, explore, question, re-imagine and contemplate the notion, space and place of Africa in/and the world.
»The very idea of »membranes« suggests porosity, fluidity, transfer, transformation, toxicity, purification, convergence, for example. In using it as a prism to gaze upon notions of›Africanity,‹(perhaps) what emerges? We have deliberately sought a multi-disciplinary approach so that unusual imaginative, literary, technological spiritual, aesthetic, emotional, intellectual, physical and liminal spaces can be stirred.« 
Opening the door to a multiperspective world as well as transversal forms of knowledge and alternative futures, with this issue, we like to foster a dialogue for a society based on transnational humanism.
We accept texts, essays, reports, portraits, poems, fiction, videos, image galleries, podcasts, or and any other experimental mediums.
Membrane – Festival of African Books and Ideas curated by Felwine Sarr, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, and Nadja Ofuatey-Alazard, taking place in Stuttgart May 23 – 26, was initiated by Literaturhaus Stuttgart, Institut français and the Akademie Schloss Solitude, and is supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. In cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation of Baden-Wuerttemberg
Submit your project proposal for the upcoming Schlosspost issue (max. 1,500 characters) here: sumi(at)akademie-solitude.de
For external guest contributors not associated with the festival or a Solitude fellowship, we provide a small author’s fee as well as English proofreading and editorial support.
April 15, 2019
We look forward to receiving your proposals!
Your Schlosspost team, and the editors of this issue, Dzekashu MacViban, Denise Helene Sumi, and Johanna Ziemer
- See the Curator’s Statement for Membrane– Festival of African Books and Ideas curated by Felwine Sarr, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor and Nadja Ofuatey-Alazard.