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Picnos Tshombé (SIGNED)

Gloria Oyazabal
Picnos Tshombé (SIGNED)

Photographs by Gloria Oyazabal

Design by Tres Tipos Gráficos

Witty Kiwi Books, 2018

Edition of 600 copies

Clothbound hardcover

142 pp. + booklet 32 pp., illustrated throughout

170 x 240 mm

ISBN 978-88-941882-7-1

Item #0878

0.900 0878 Sold Out

Video preview

In 1876 King Leopold II of Belgium created the African International Association (AIA) to promote peace, civilization, education, religion and scientific progress, and thus eradicate slave trade. 3 years later an expedition is financed to the Congo River led by American explorer Henry M. Stanley. At the Berlin Conference (1884-1885), European nations with colonial interests -which agreed to the partition of Africa- pledged to improve the lives of the native inhabitants and recognized the creation of the Congo Free State as a "private property " territory belonging to Leopold II and not as a colony of Belgium. Leopold sent an army of 16,000 Europeans of different nationalities -paid with his money- to control the region, turning it into a labor camp through slavery and mutilation. The census conducted by Belgium in 1924 showed that during Leopold's Free State period the population had fallen by 10 million people, ie 50%.

Picnolepsia: Absence seizures, petit mal, brief episodes of altered state of consciousness. The time of our existence takes place in moments which flow linearly without interruption, but the petit mal produces cuts and the person is subtracted from this continuity. Term used by Paul Virilio in "The Aesthetics of Disappearance".

The Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly the Katanga region, is immensely rich in minerals : cobalt and uranium -essential for chemical, nuclear, aerospace and arms industry-, gold, diamonds, copper and tin; coltan present in soils 3,000 million years old and essential for cell phones (80% of world reserves of coltan are in DRC). Secessionist leader Moise Tshombe was a secessionist leader of this rich region during the process of independence from Belgium in the 60's.

After being accused of the brutal murder of anti colonialist democratically elected leader Patrice Lumumba, and having a politically eventful life, he went into exile in 1963 in Franco's Spain where, four years later, a bizarre international plot (US, Britain, UN and Belgium) concocts his abduction following a pretended business trip to Mallorca. He ended up imprisoned in a military camp in Algeria where he died two years later. Not only he had the support of Franco but of the regime's propaganda press.

Peering through a peephole to History to understand one of the consequences. Top Manta: popular expression used in Spain to refer to the activity of displaying and selling fake products on the street. The "manteros", under the Ulysses Syndrome, always living on the run, fear and distrust. Latent are the social contradictions which the top manta evidence, inherently linked to colonial neoliberalism in which we live.

"Conscious time is automatically welded forming a continuity without apparent cuts"  Paul Virilio, The Aesthetics of Disappearance

 "Politics and art (...) construct fictions, ie, material agencements of signs and images, of the relationships between what we see and what we say, between what we do and can do." — Jacques Rancière

Read more:

Metal Magazine (interview in Spanish)

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