Article 3-e

A Topography of Loss

Sam Hopkins & Simon Rittmeier

In this contribution in three parts, artists Sam Hopkins and Simon Rittmeier present and discuss their piece A Topography of Loss (2021).
Part one and two are excerpts from an installation they developed within the context of the International Inventories Programme (IIP); part three is a synthesis of various different conversations in which the artists register and try to reflect upon the research process and the questions that it brought to the fore: how to deal with loss, and particularly the loss felt by “others”? What responsibilities does it require? Is there a fair distance to work with an ethnographic museum? What kind of work does this entail?

IIP is a project developed over three years (2018-2021) by The Nest collective, the National Museum of Kenya (Nairobi) and SHIFT collective (Sam Hopkins, Marian Nur Goni, Simon Rittmeier), in collaboration with the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum (Cologne) and the Weltkulturen Museum (Frankfurt am Main), in which they collectively developed a database and investigated a corpus of Kenyan objects held in museums outside Kenya.

Sam Hopkins is an artist who is attentive to the ways in which different media produce different truths. He has participated in a broad spectrum of exhibitions, including biennales in Lagos, Dakar and Moscow, museums such as the Dortmunder U, Kunstmuseum Bonn and Kunsthaus Bregenz. His work is held in the collections of the Smithsonian, Abteiberg Museum and the Iwalewahaus. He currently works as Assistant Professor at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM).

Simon Rittmeier is a German filmmaker based in Paris. His works, both experimental and essayistic, explore the power of moving images and their political impact. In 2022 he was a resident of Lightcone’s Atelier 105. He is a founding member of the International Inventories Programme (IIP), and part of the SHIFT Collective, a multidisciplinary art collective between France and Germany. Screenings and exhibitions of his work include Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Visions du Réel, Nyon, British Film Institute, Londo‎n, The Studio Museum Harlem, New York.