Episode III: Enjoy Poverty
and White Cube
As a prelude to our conversation with Ibrahim Mahama and Renzo Martens, Callie’s will host a double feature of Renzo Martens’ films Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2008) and White Cube (2020). Please join us for one or both screenings.
Martens’ film Episode III: Enjoy Poverty is a chilling indictment of structural inequality. Set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the film follows Martens as he interviews UN peacekeepers, landowners, and day workers in order to understand the complicity of Western forces in perpetuating systems of extraction and control. In response to an overwhelming impression that this sort of poverty is permanent, he attempts to inform local residents about how images of their suffering are turned into profit by Western photographers and news agencies. Martens sets up an ad hoc program to encourage local Congolese men to benefit financially from the DRC’s largest export industry: poverty.
Marking a critical turning point, this project solidifies Martens’ commitment to working in the DRC and serves as an essential exploration into the entrenched nature of inequality on a global scale. It informs his subsequent film White Cube.
White Cube (2020) chronicles Martens’ controversial project in Lusanga, DRC: an attempt to reverse the way that capital and resources circulate through the art market.
The provocative film examines how corporations use the plantation system to enforce geopolitically determined poverty, and how museums indirectly benefit from the legacy of colonialism. Following a failed attempt in 2012 to collaborate with plantation workers in Boteka, DRC, Martens travels to Lusanga, where he proposes to wield the museum model to redistribute capital back to an abandoned Unilever plantation. The film comes to focus on the Congolese Plantation Workers Art League (CATPC), a cooperative of artists established in Lusanga, and their efforts to repatriate their land. When CATPC’s work becomes the subject of a solo exhibition at the Sculpure Center in New York, viewers glimpse how art making—which was long ago abolished—could find a way back to the plantation.
Friday, October 22nd
7pm: Screening of Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2008). The film has a duration of 90 min.
9pm: Screening of White Cube (2020). The film has a duration of 80 min.
Please register online in advance using the form below. Registration on-site is possible, capacity permitting.
Admission is free.
On the 22nd, please bring one of the following: proof of vaccination, a negative Covid test from the past 24 hours, or proof of recovery from Covid. Wearing an FFP2 mask is mandatory inside the venue.