Time's Up for Tales of Resilience - Itinerant Story Telling/Story Building in Southern Africa and Austria in 2014

Often it is an individual experience – wrapped up as a story – which eventually allows the reception of a past, the comprehension of the present and the formulation of a future. Furthermore, or in fact precisely because of and through that - stories enable an insight into „The Other“ - a view of the other life, the other culture, the other approach or mindset.  Apart from “The Other,” stories let us see “The Common”, similar values, familiar desires and kindred visions. Through listening to them and trying to understand them, stories make us more tolerant in our dealing with cultural differences and multiple identities, they bring us closer to each other and place the commonalities above the separations.

Tales of Resilience traces stories from people who travel and have traveled between regions, cultures and continents; people who move and have moved between their origins and other worlds. Tales of Resilience documents and shares their experiences, adventures and perceptions. The project archives what these people left behind them, what they have taken with them, what they collected and what they lost along the way.  Whether forced to move or by their own volition, whether for reasons of family, politics, religion or livelihood, the stories are tales of resilience, the many ways in which people react to their circumstances.

Tales of Resilience is an itinerant Story Telling/Story Building project by a group of Austrian and Zimbabwean artists in April / May 2014. The outcome of this collaboration between Time's Up, Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association, Pamberi Trust, local artists and art institutions will be presented in Southern Africa and back in Austria.

Tales of Resilience will focus first on women from the group Simonga in rural Siachilaba / Binga, who have traveled to Europe to perform their Ngoma Buntibe music in the context of ‘Linz09 European Capital of Culture’.  Five years later they will recall, in a photography workshop led by Calvin Dondo, Nancy Mteki and Annie Mpalume, the impact of this exposure and their experiences. Another focal point will be an urban hot-spot of resilience: the Book Cafe in Harare. In each of these interactions, the project collects the stories, anecdotes and reactions of the people involved in these communities and their resilient tales.

Easily recalled, an audience can listen to these stories in the resulting installation: they are placed one beside another as channels on an enlarged and augmented radio-set. The radio-set stands as a symbol for access to information and freedom of expression in a hotly contested public sphere, as well as a form of community understanding and the overcoming of distance.

Time's Up is a group of artists based in the industrial harbor area along the Danube River in Linz / Austria. Founded in 1996 they run a Laboratory for the construction of experimental situations. Its mission is to investigate ways in which people interact with and explore their physical surroundings as a complete context, discovering, learning and communicating as they do. Such Physical Narratives augment spaces and real objects with information and media delivery capability.  In such narrative experimentations the artists as well as their audiences discover, develop and push new creative boundaries. The artists / authors are constantly emphasising dramatic elements of the story to embrace new media and technologies. They challenge and engage their audiences with new interactive interfaces to explore and complete a story in its wider social / global context, pushing new modes of delivery.

Time's Up approach: “We would like to trace and explore further untold stories and tales of everyday life and routines of resilience and survival, of experience and exploration in a range of possible futures in which visions of everyday life in the time ahead become tangible and a subject for discussion. Therefore, we would like to get in close contact with cultures that differ from the so-called Western world, meet experts of everyday life in Zimbabwe and South Africa, document these experiences via audiovisual tools aiming to raise awareness about the impact of ambitions and future visions on contemporary culture, livelihood and lifestyle in a global context.  In this research process we use tools from the arts and design, mathematics, science and technology as well as sociology and cultural studies. Our goals are to collaboratively investigate the world and its options with a general public, communicating and discussing these discoveries through workshops, publications and other media, teachings and symposia.”

Time's Up - Laboratory for the construction of experimental situations
Linz, 20th October 2013