You Stole The Objects! The Past, Present & Future is Continuous: The Algorithm of Being “Difference” in Space

Blog, Founder’s Note / Sep. 22nd, 2022

Okhiogbe Omonblanks Omonhinmin
You Stole The Objects! The Past, Present & Future is Continuous: The Algorithm of Being “Difference” in Space
Tangibles & Intangibles: Internal Restitution within Western Institutions
The Pedagogy & Effect of a Black Practitioner Within a Predominantly White Academic Institution

Seminar, English, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Wednesdays, weekly with on-site and online elements
Wednesday, 19.10, 16-17 h, info session online
Wednesdays, 16-17:30 h, 26.10, 2.11, 9.11., 16.11., 23.11., online
Wednesdays, 16-19:30 h, 30.11., 7.12., 14.12., on-site, Einsteinufer 43, room 203
Wednesdays, 16-17:30 h, 21.12.2022, 1.2.2023, online
Wednesdays, 16-19:30 h, 8.2., 15.2.2023, on-site, Einsteinufer 43, room 203

On-site – Berlin, Universität der Künste Berlin (UDK), Germany: Ongoing Class by Okhiogbe Omonblanks Omonhinmin “You Stole The Objects: The Past, Present and Future is Continuous” is a class open to Bachelor, MA and postgraduate that deals with the multilayered conversation on restitution of museum collection holdings and attempts to decentralize the classroom, which is the attempt to take the teacher from the position of power and give power over the class to both the students and teacher. In doing so, the class together navigates racial prejudice, patriarchy, oppressive systems, their effects and the many ways to contest them. I am using my fellowship to develop the research project Tangibles & Intangibles: internal restitution within western institutions. Situated inside and outside the classroom, the project is a continuation of my current artistic research ARCHIVING THE MO(VE)MENT: Documenting the Black and African Experience in Knowledge Decolonisation and current teaching practice You Stole The Object: The Past, Present and Future at the University of Arts, UDK, Berlin. Entwined within my own artistic work, this class is an attempt at a safe environment for students and staff to voice various aspects and positions [ON WHAT], within a process of self-reflection and conversations. Objects violently taken from the Benin Kingdom Massacre are a point of departure and it could also go into dialogue with on-going situations around the world.

As a current research fellow at the UDK, my research is focused on the experience of Black and African practitioners within knowledge decolonisation, as a practitioner my lived experience continues to be the main reference for my practice hence why besides the documentation aspect of this research I have also been participating as an educator within UDK. my class on restitution titled: “You Stole The Objects! The Past, Present & Future is Continuous,” now in its third semester is oriented by my pedagogical practice of decentralizing. In this class, we begin with unsettling few essential questions of..” how do you decentralize the classroom within an institution socialized in whiteness? How do we begin to make the classroom a safe space for all marginalized voices? in all its oppressive ways and particularly within academia and formal systems of knowledge? How is UDK making space for internal restitution? The answer is, I don’t know. What I am coming to realize is that, it is a day by day and class by class experience. My students at UDK are teaching and giving me new navigation apparatus. This attempt of a safe space we are developing or finding together with each class is something that students have made very clear they have not been able to fully navigate with a white lecturer or professor, for the non-white students they find it hard because they lack trust for someone who represents or reminds them of the exact systems they have to deal with daily and for the white students it’s almost like a mirror, they are used to this version, it isn’t cathartic enough.

The “formal academic center” still remains within a rigid Euro-centrism. Despite the immense work done by critical academics from marginalized communities, as well as by traditional and indigenous knowledge producers around the world, these voices are still very limited within broader academic institutional structures Thus, despite real progress, these structures are still very much oppressive and epistemically violent towards non-white people who must participate through the margin. Through conversation as a core pedagogical method, my teaching during this fellowship will investigate who occupies the center of the institution as it relates to restitution. How do we begin to have a more robust conversation that goes beyond the tangibles into the intangibles (rational and emotional)? The goal is to attempt to create a safe environment for UDK students within a process of self-reflection and conversations where various opinions can be voiced. In doing so, my teaching and art interventions aim to create an entanglement that decentralizes the conversation on restitution.

Link to full course text and pedagogy:

Guest Lecturers (tbc):
Professor Peju Olowu Layiwola, Artist, Professor of Art History, University of Lagos, Founder, Women and Youth Art Center and Master Art Classes.
Drew Snyder, Senior Curator at KORO
Andrea Goetzke, Curator & Cultural Producer
Eric Gyamfi, MFA, Artist & Photographer
Ato Annan, Artist, Co-Director for the Foundation for Contemporary Art-Ghana.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: Regular participation and active contribution to seminar activities.

For non-students who want to take part in this class, email:

First things first, Okhiogbe Omonblanks Omonhinmin na the pikin of Victoria Elomese Omonhinmin and Cosmos Ijogbe Omonhinmin, E family big well well and e believe say all these things na very important reason wey make am the person wey e be today, because of the type of pikin wey e be to e mama and papa, the type of brother wey e be to e siblings and the nephew, cousin and uncle wey e be to e extender family and the different communities wey e don stay, all join to make am the very person wey dey do the type of work wey e dey do and difference nor dey between e work and daily life, all of dem joining together as storyteller and spacemaker. Na for Benin City, for Nigeria 1985 naim dem born Okhiogbe Omonblanks Omonhinmin. Omonblanks na interdisciplinary creative producer or “ambassador of entanglement” wey dey use everything e fit use take make things happen, like form or position wey e need take do e project. Na so e done take do everything like festival curating & producing, creative direction, film, music, art practice, sharing food, conversations and more. With critical discourse E dey rearrange intersections with all d plenty conceptual tools like research-based methods inside oral-storytelling, biographical conversation documentation, archiving, design and collaboration. As a storyteller, spacemaker, he feel say practitioners, especially the ones with Black and African heritage, deserve the chance to do anything them want just like their academic colleagues and get the same respect and regard, because na ontop the work wey practitioners dey do, naim we take dey test theories. He start ‘The Art Concept’, a documentation and archive-focused platform with eye for African and Black societies from individual, community, city, country and continent perspectives, as way to take back power to determine our center and talk our narratives. As E life-Practice sitdon ontop participatory and social-practice, E believe say our body na memory collector and everything we do takes on a life of its own, so through the relationship wey e get with people, stories, space, spices, cooking, sharing collected memories and food all na major part of e handwork/practice. Omonblanks’s past and present works na projects wey dey always touch social engagement. Omonblanks na d architect of The Art Concept Project, wey dey forge new ground in the documentation and archiving of narratives of people of Black and African heritage and those within the many intersections. E be fellow and lecturer for University of Art, Berlin (Oct. 2021-23)

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