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AUGURISM: Talk with Baloji

AUGURISM, Blurring the lines between reality and imagination
Baloji in conversation with Sandrine Colard and Brandon Wen

Talk in collaboration with MoMu - Fashion Museum Antwerp moderated by Expanding Academy and liaised by Rossana Miele

18:30 doors
19:00 – 20:00 talk
20:00 – 20:30 Q&A
21:00 visit expo Baloji + after talk @ MoMu Café
22:30 bar closing

Expanding Academy, in collaboration with the MoMu - Fashion Museum Antwerp, is hosting a public talk on 12 March 2024 at MoMu. The program is linked to the exhibition project 'Baloji Augurism', launched on October 21st 2023 at MoMu, and draws inspiration from Baloji's debut film 'Augure (Omen).' The film was shot in both Lubumbashi and Kinshasa and was selected for the Cannes Film Festival in 2023, where it received the New Voice Award and nominated to represent Belgium at the Oscar 2024.

The conversation will feature the transidiplinary, all-embracing artist Baloji, along with Sandrine Colard, a writer, curator, and assistant professor of art history at Rutgers University, Newark, and Brandon Wen, artist, designer, and creative director of the Fashion Department at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp. They will explore Baloji's expansive and captivating immaginary at the intersection of visual arts, music, poetry, cinematography, and fashion. Baloji’s body of work, infused with surrealism and magical realism, has been deeply affected by this symbolic play on sorcery, serving as both a weighty burden and a catalyst for an imaginative and empirical approach.

(image credit: (c) MoMu - Fashion Museum Antwerp, photo Stany Dederen)

Born in 1979 in Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo) and based in Belgium, Baloji (not to be confused with the visual artist Sammy Baloji) is an award-winning musician, filmmaker, a polymath artist, he’s working as art director, costume designer for fashion and other visual art forms. Baloji name meaning refers to occult and evil forces. In Swahili, it initially meant "man of science," but in colonial times, it turned into "man of occult sciences/sorcerer". This assignment has influenced his entire work as a heavy burden to bear and, at the same time, as a driver for a playful and empirical approach, shaping his vision with an imaginary
suspended between oneiric and magical realism, notably through a work on the mask and the symbolisms and its report of association of colors and sound caused by its synesthesia. As a filmmaker, Baloji released his first feature film AUGURE (OMEN) (Cannes official selection 2023) accompanied by a four-part soundtrack where each record is written from the point of view of the main characters. The project is also accompanied by a traveling exhibition project featuring the costume designs and photos of the project. The film OMEN follows several short films noticed in the circuit and distributed worldwide such as ZOMBIES (Clermond-Ferrand Short Film Festival, London FF). He is currently working on "Black Dahlia", a short film in 2D and 3D, and has just received a writing grant for his medium-length project "Ghosting". As a musician, Baloji has released two critically acclaimed albums and two EPs/the latest "Avenue Kaniama" on Bella Union Records (Father John Mistry, Fleet Foxes).

Rossana Miele
Rossana Miele is a cultural worker experienced in research, production, and management. Her approach focuses on the process before the artwork's formalization and the various social interactions generated during this phase. She has always felt an absolute commitment to the artist's vision and deep-felt responsibility towards completing their projects, mastering all steps of art production, from concept through realization, research, and installation. After several collaborations with contemporary Art Galleries -T293, Rome, Axel Vervoordt, Antwerp, Hong Kong and Institutions - Macro Museum, Rome, Real Academia de Espana en Roma, Rossana Miele is now working primarily on a whole array of transdisciplinary projects for artists such as Baloji, Rossella Biscotti, Miet Warlop. While in the past, she included collaborations with the estate of Per Kirkeby, Kimsooja, Jimmie Durham, Germaine Kruip, Libia Castro & Olafur Olafsson, Cooking Section, Francesca Grilli, Alex Reynolds, Institute for New Feeling, Cesare Pietroiusti. 

Expanding Academy
Expanding Academy, curated by Nico Dockx and Judith Wielander, is a research and education initiative at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. It operates as a free program with an experimental and flexible profile, emphasizing pluri-versal and transdisciplinary research methods, collective learning, and new modes of exchange based on reciprocity and self-organisation.

Sandrine Colard
Sandrine Colard is an independent curator based in New York City and Brussels, a researcher and a writer, and an assistant professor of art history at Rutgers University, Newark (US). Holding a PhD from Columbia University, Colard is a specialist of modern and contemporary global arts, and a photography historian, with a focus on Africa. Her curatorial projects include The Expanded Subject: New Perspectives in Photographic Portraiture from Africa (co-curator, Wallach Art Gallery, New York, 2016) ; The Way She Looks : A History of Female Gazes in African Portraiture. Photographs from The Walther Collection (Ryerson Image Center, Toronto, 2019) ; Multiple Transmissions : Art in the Afropolitan Age (Wiels, Brussels, 2019). She was the artistic director of the 2019 Lubumbashi Biennale (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Future Genealogies : Tales from the Equatorial Line. 

Brandon Wen
Brandon Wen is the creative director of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp Fashion Department.  is both a fashion designer and a performance artist. He studied at Cornell University in New York and at the Fashion Department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. He worked in Paris, designing for Rick Owens, Michèle Lamy and Maison Lemarié/Chanel, among others. In addition he was an organizer and teacher at the international Arts of Fashion Foundation. 




(image: portrait Baloji (c) Kristin-Lee Moolman)