The Breakfasts in-Common process was initiated by Senegal’s “Centre d’Art Senegalais Kër Thiossane” and Quebec’s “Communautique”, as part of the project Remix the Commons.
Born from a research dynamic about endogenous definitions of commons, Breakfasts in-Common bring occasions to think collectively about what commons mean, from an artistic approach. The goal of these meetings whether in Dakar or Montréal is not only to understand but also to feel the meaning difference that exists between my “I” and the “we” of a collective process. A sensitive approach that allows to craft stories able to give some meaning to the fact of living together. Stories that help maintain the community in motion and give a purpose to one’s own existence and thriving.
First light in Dakar
From January 2012, in Dakar, in a violent pre-election context, in the midst of doubts about the constitution and the rise of citizenship awareness in all Senegal, Kër Thiossane started an exploratory work around Commons by organizing Breakfasts in-Common in a monthy cycle.
Three Breakfasts in-Common were organized between January and April 2012 on the subjects “The commons in African cities” ; “Commons and space” and “Languages and knowledge”.
These Breakfasts in-Common were moments of gathering and exchanges constituting by themselves a practice of the “in-Common”, where each participates in sharing knowledge in a horizontal dynamic.
Each Breakfast started by viewing a film produced by the Kër Thiossane team on an artist and his or her questioning about one aspect of the Commons in the Senegalese society.
Some of the films and extracts from the breakfasts recordings are available online on the Kër Thiossane website, along with a toolbox of books, texts, interviews that anyone is welcomed to enrich with their own contributions via a wiki or at a breakfast in-Common.
This material, accumulated since early 2012 and the thinking initiated among the artistic community and the inhabitants was used to prepare a variety of activities, residences, workshops and performances at the time of the Afropixel festival as part of the theme “Creation, culture and knowledge in Common”, that took place in may 2012.
Among this diverse and rich programming, Kër Thiossane gathered great African thinkers and artists to elaborate collectively on the question of “Artistic responsibility in the construction of the in-Common”.
All around a glass of tea, Achille Mbembe, Simon Njami, Ken Bugul, Kan-Si, Felwine Sarr, Thiat and Ibrahima Wane took part in what was not an expert group but rather a meeting where everyone’s expertise was to profit the collective thinking that was woven along the talks.
Kédougou, until where is your place ?
In 2013, the Breakfasts in-Common keep on with the collaboration of the collective “La companyía (http://www.lacompanyia.org/). They delocalize with a first breakfast outside Dakar in March as part of the “Night of the stars” festival organised by the Multimedia Community center of Kédougou.
Taking the same theme as the festival, “Kédougou, until where is your place ?”, we investigated on the problematic of the Kédougou region associated with Commons. The opening of the question “where is your place” allowed to approach the questions about managing natural resources in a boundary region rich in gold and ore, as well as belonging and building of communities.
The Breakfasts in-Common and the Afropixel festival organized so far have drawn a great interest, as much from artists and members of the civil society as from citizens, in Senegal. Seeds were sown and a real awareness of the stake of Commons invites us to continue these meetings in an even more open way, about other aspects of Commons, with the objective to enable and widen this collective thinking space.
In 2013-2014, Kër Thiossane would like to organize other breakfasts at regular intervals and repeat more of the delocalised experiments, outside Dakar, in partnership with Senegal’s community radios network.
These experiments with continue to be filmed, documented and shared with Communautique in Montréal and other partners, actors of commons elsewhere in the world (Finland, Colombia…). Videos and other documents from these with be posted online on the Remix the commons platform.
Marion Louisgrand Sylla (Ker Thiossane). Susana Moliner – Marta Vallejo Herrando ( La Companiya),
The Breakfasts in-Common receives financial support from the “Fonds Francophone des inforoutes” through the project Remix the Commons.
The production of the Breakfasts in-Common in Dakar was made possible thanks to the financial support from Arts Collaboratory and the “Organisation Internationale de la Froncophonie in Kër Thiossane.
Contribution of Remix the Commons
Remix the Commons contributed in the onset of the project and spread the word of it’s existance among commoners. Remix the Commons supports formalisation of the process and the deployement of a network of similar practices.