Call for Papers & Actions: Translating Pasts into Futures

Decolonial Perspectives on Things in Art, Design & Film
October 13–14, 2017, Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg

Speculations and fictions allow us to journey through time, drawing on the narratives of the pasts to craft and shape possible futures. These narratives have the potential to influence theCapture d_écran 2017-03-13 à 19.19.03 present, and they call a linear conception of time into question. Stories shatter into fragments, bound together diagrammatically or as a bricolage, queering historical narratives, regimes, and geographies.

What sort of futures will be created in the rereading of past eras? Is  the future already colonized? What sort of postcolonial strategies are being developed in contemporary design, contemporary art, and film for
the shaping and creation of possible futures?

The symposium focuses on observations of temporality with regard to the
function, production, use, and significance of things in colonial,
decolonial, and postcolonial contexts. Questions arising from this
theme include: How does the temporal interchange of things come about?
How should we deal with omissions and absences of things in archives?
What sort of transformational potential is inherent in things, or
assigned to them? Can things be translated, or do they themselves do
the translating? Can things—or the way they are used and perceived—be
emancipated from their contexts?

We are looking for artistic, essayistic, and scholarly responses to
these questions. We are particularly interested in designers and
artists whose work is rooted in these topics.

We are also looking for submissions in the form of performances, short
films, and objects. In addition, we are open to suggestions for
workshops which deal with relevant questions, as well as other forms of
presentation go beyond the boundaries of the categories mentioned.

The symposium will take a flexible structure. It will be organized
around artistic contributions, artist talks, workshops, and thematic
discussions. After the symposium, a book publication is planned, which
will gather a selection of contributions.

Please email your submission to with the
subject line “Proposal Translating Pasts into Futures” by March 31,

Submission guidelines:

Submission deadline: March 31, 2017
Contributions, workshops, and other formats: 1,500 characters as a PDF.
Performances, videos, exhibition displays, images:
images/reproductions, along with a short description, as a PDF.
Article proposals for the book project without participation in the
symposium: proposal of 1,000–1,500 characters with a reading sample as
a PDF.

We ask each applicant to include a brief CV as a PDF.

Travel and accommodation costs may be covered by a grant subject to
approval, as can transport costs and screening fees.

Idea and realization: Eva Knopf, Sophie Lembcke, Mara Recklies,
University of Hamburg and University of the Fine Arts of Hamburg.
For more information, please contact:

This event will take place under the auspices of the interdisciplinary
research group “Übersetzen und Rahmen. Praktiken medialer
Transformationen” (Translation and Framing: Practices of Medial
Transformations) at the Universität Hamburg and the Hochschule für
bildende Künste Hamburg.


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