BE-side(s) work – em’kal eyongakpa, friends and traces 2014-2009


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Be-side(s) work
Em’kal Eyongakpa, friends and traces 2014-2009
First edition limited to 99 numbered copies.

112 pages, full colour, Stucco Fedrigoni paper

A special edition of 33 copies, signed and numbered I-XXXIII, includes a code for one time audio download.
Curated by Em’kal Eyongakpa with Amal Alhaag .
Produced byBoîte (, Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten(, KHaL!SHRINE (
Printed and bound in Italy. November 2014
© the artist

overview by Amal Alhaag.


You don’t know how hard it is here
The streets is tricky in these parts here
You don’t know how hard this is here
The streets need this shit here— K’naan- T.I.A.

The B-side is the reverse side of a phonograph record. According to the urban dictionary, the B-side is the less popular song
but to audiophiles and the streets, B-side has come to be known as the more experimental, real or true-to-the-streets recording
of an artist. Be-side(s) Work directs us to the unknown side of the coin. A backstage entrance to the unprocessed processes,
blood, sweat and adventures of Em’kal Eyongakpa.
How does one interpret an anarchist archive created within one of the most prestigious institutions in the Netherlands? Shit.
Maybe, a delusional attempt or a facile interpretation of one of the layers of this book and skipping the institutional
bla bla/ hot air could suffice. Since Be-side(s) Works offers many layers of possible truths. Perhaps Be-side(s) Work traces the
boundaries of memories, metaphors, conversations, sounds, dreams and poetry. Perhaps Eyongakpa’s collection of yesteryears
interweaves realities, cities and moments offering us insight into a layered world — sampling experiences that are flavored with
emotions, thoughts and life. In this
recollection—on these pages where reminiscence is celebrated, mourning love and haunting dreams meet casually in a chapter.
While in other corners of the publication coliseums are built for nostalgia, icons and loved ones. Conceivably amassing
digitalized memories in such a manner proposes an overview to the frugality of life.
Walking on dusty glorified roads to nomad’s land, I wondered if ”letters from Etokobarek” speak of collective war amnesia or the
little man’s suffering? Listening to women gossip from the heart, I recognized the similitude to the casual poetry splattered in
the Book of Romance, chapter 17. Perhaps being in Hargeisa, Somaliland, among war ruins, dollars and hope, one overstands the desire to
share depictions of processes of yesteryears since forgetfulness awaits, like a hungry hyena on mankind. What’s memory worth in
time of Face Books?
This recollection of (visual) memories is made from the hearts and drawn with pencils sharpened by the harshness of life in
Eurolands. Biographies aside— its ability to recall worlds and knowledge systems remains far beyond our grasp, and there where
you forget to look, a bit of humor is hidden to relinquish misunderstood moments.

Bonding over words, world and jujuism; our conversations scrutinized the realities of Africa—the continent, not the country.
Finding similarities in differences provided depth to conversations that grew into collaboration where language, histories and
memories intermingle. When Em’kal invited me to contribute my curatorial two cents, I was not aware of the countless hours we
had to spend shifting through intimate moments and the conversations the process would spark. When I think of the hours spent in
the studio peeling off layers of digitalized memories and selecting thoughts that symbolized a certain era, process or profound
current affair, I remembered the Somali proverb; “If people come together, they can even mend a crack in the sky. Perhaps these
memories, friends, poems, visual footprints and processes show us ways to mend a crack in the sky?

Nonetheless, these precious sessions presented a thought-provoking puzzle, covering parameters of rites, coded-languages,
rituals and mundane routines–unified, these lingua francas of parallel veracities construct deeper notions and imagery that
underlie and challenge concepts of imaginations, dialogism, meaning and reality. At the end of the day, all that’s left is to
wander follow the traces, and loose track of time
in this publication.

About Em'kal Eyongakpa

Em'kal Eyongakpa (b1981, Mamfe, Cameroons) approaches the experienced, the unknown, as well as collective histories through a ritual use of repetition and transformation. His recent ideas increasingly draw from indigenous knowledge systems and aesthetics, ethnobotany, applied mycology and technology, in his explorations of the personal and the universal. He is also known for self organised community research spaces and autonomous art hubs, from KHaL! SHRINE in Yaounde (2007-2012), to the recent research platform/ fund Bɔ́ Bɛtɔk/ ɛfukuyu. Eyongakpa holds degrees in Plant biology and Ecology from the University of Yaounde 1 and was a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. The artist's work has recently been exhibited at the Jakarta Biennale (2017), the 13th Sharjah biennial (2017), La Biennale de Montreal (2016), the 32nd Bienal de Sao Paulo (2016), 9th and 10th Bamako Encounters(2011,2015), 10th Dak'art biennial (2012) and several international art spaces and museums around the world.

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