On Wednesday, December 22, Renzo Martens’ White Cube (2020) will be available for viewing on the Weird Economies platform and coincide with a recent text and interview by the artists João Enxuto & Erica Love.
White Cube is a powerful and provocative dissection of art, class and decolonisation. The film follows the Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC), a plantation workers’ cooperative based on a former Unilever plantation in the Congolese town of Lusanga, as they attempt to end the destructive system of monoculture on their lands – by building upon it a gallery, the ‘white cube’ of the title.
By presenting and selling art within this new space, the collective attempt to raise sufficient finances to buy back their land from international plantation companies – and secure it for future generations. From the violence of the plantation system to the aesthetics of the gallery, this multi-layered and fascinating film posits that galleries and museums can only become decolonised and inclusive if the benefits accrued from them flow back to the workers whose labour financed – in some cases, continue to finance – their foundations.