- Arts & Culture
- Radio Play
TO THE RED SOIL, 60 Min., 2023
An audio piece by Astrid S. Klein with contributions by Jupiter Bokondji, Albert Gouaffo, Koko Komégné, and Soro Solo, and with music by Mariá Portugal and Huguette Tolinga – in English language
Young Kola plants, living in the diaspora in Germany, are embarking on a journey to the African tropics. The plants have decided to leave the University of Hohenheim’s tropical collection greenhouse to accept an invitation to travel to Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This departure from the Western archive may seem a bit absurd, and it raises questions. Why are the plants in a botanical collection in Europe in the first place? Why are they traveling “to the red soil”? What are their plans? Do they wish to unfold their dormant potential, activate alliances, and negotiate more just relationships? Will they make use of their profound skills to become active again? Will they link various systems of knowledge in an equitable way? Are they capable of countering the violence of industrial plantations and the extraction of natural resources with alternative perspectives and actions?
The Kola tree and its seeds, the Kola nuts, hold significant meaning for the African continent. In the botanical collections of the West, which are inextricably linked to European colonialism and extractivism, the Cola acuminata as a tropical crop plant and raw material is omnipresent. Yet the agency of these plants as protagonists is widely ignored.
The audio piece TO THE RED SOIL will accompany the Kola plants’ leave-taking. The journey of the plants will take place in 2024 and is part of the multivoiced art project The Power OF THE KOLA by Astrid S. Klein.
Voice actresses: Paula Maestrali, Astrid S. Klein, Yara Richter
Announcer: Annett Lorisz
Translation : Paula Maestrali, Dawn Michelle d’Atri, Carmina Röger
Text consulting: Karin Rebbert
Music: Mariá Portugal, Huguette Tolinga
Sound and technical production: Nils Edte
Production: Astrid S. Klein / quartier flottant, 2023
image credits: ©2021 Serge Nguelou Ngouffo