We are Going to Mars uses international video works to explore the history of the first African space program and how the reception of this story has changed over the past fifty years. In 1960, Edward Mukuka Nkoloso founded the Zambia National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy. The goal: an African space program of its own to join the "Space Race" between the United States and the Soviet Union. On a remote farm, the "Afronauts" trained on homemade equipment. Together they created a rocket out of sheet metal and wanted to launch it into space on October 24, 1964. The rocket was to be piloted by 17-year-old Matha Mwambwa, the only woman on the team. The attempt to launch an African space program was taken anything but seriously by the international press. But hardly anyone thought of the project as a satirical commentary on the megalomania and absurdity of an imperialist show of strength like the Space Race. Until a video of the training surfaced ten years ago and triggered a change in perspective. To this day, it is not certain whether the project was a serious scientific endeavor, a joke at the expense of the colonial powers, or even a cover for a training camp for independence fighters. Either way, the term Afronauts stands today for a new self-confidence of black people, visible in the videos from the 60s.
Originally planned as a stage play, the company changed the concept and produced video works together with local artists in Uganda and the USA, which set very different accents. The Ugandan contribution, created with choreographer Robert Ssempijja among others, celebrates the spirit of optimism associated with the Space program and locates Mars in its own homeland. In contrast, Mourning [A] BLKstar and Symara Johnson's We are Going to Mars Suite is a fever dream that opens us up to new fantasies of space travel across formal boundaries.
CHRISTOPH WINKLER is considered one of the most distinguished and versatile choreographers in Germany. Starting from a close local connection to the Berlin dance and theater scene, he develops a variety of different formats and productions for very different venues, companies and institutions. Under the umbrella of Company Christoph Winkler, he brings together dancers from all over the world to work together as temporary collectives on a broad spectrum of content. Last year, the company received the Tabori Award, among other things, for its close cooperation with non-European actors and its problematization of postcolonial aspects in dance. http://christoph-winkler.com/
DANCERS Robert Ssempijja, Denis Magezi, Lydia Kasirye Nanozi, Shane Munina, Stuart Etou, Davis Ahimbisibwe, Herbert Jovan Simbwa, Denis Lule, Dance Theatre Uganda, Umar Kareregga, Fausta Nakasujja, Joana Mbabazi, Joan Nakawombe, Shafic Walusimbi, Ian Elijah Ssenkungu, Richard Kasosi, Edward Jjombwe, Salama Natabi, Sosolya Undugu Dance Academy, Intare Performers, Walter Ruva, Moses Mukalazi, Anna Tracy Aguti, Martha Naggita, Prisca Atite, Noah Bemuka, Bosco Kitabira, Joel Kakande, Godfrey Natuhwera, Julius Musenze, Edison Musanje, Mario William Mayega, Edison Musanje, Richard Tamale MUSIC HHY & The Kampala Unit, Arsenal COSTUME GC Fashion Artistic Kampala Crew/ GRAPHICS, WEB DESIGN Anthony Okiria VISUAL ARTIST Joel Kateeba Uganda VIDEO PRODUCTION Teflon Film DIRECTOR, EDITING Teflon Moses FIRST CAMERAMAN Kino Musoke SECOND CAMERAMAN Mugera Spin Godfrey CAMERA ASSISTANT Ivan Clark Niwamanya PHOTOGRAPHER Jeff Musoke DRONE PILOT Asaph Kasujja SOUND ENGINEER Brian Kisembo Delon Digital Imaging Technician Eric Mukalazi PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Ark Martin Kyaligamba Kisiti SET RUNNER Habib Mbogo
BY AND WITH Symara Johnson, Angel Glasby, Dava Huesca, Mourning [A] BLKstar MUSIC Mourning [A] BLKstar DIRECTOR Symara Johnson CAMERA Yasmin Josiah PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Kalliope Piersol COSTUME Stanley Gambucci CONCEPT Christoph Winkler PRODUCTION MANAGER Laura Biagioni VIDEO EDITING Gabriella Fiore
A production of Company Christoph Winkler in co-production with SOPHIENSÆLE, supported by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds and the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. Media partner: taz.die tageszeitung.