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The Colonial Institute

Daniel Kulle, Germany 2019, 89 Min. Min., OV with English subs

In cooperation with fluctuating images

When Hamburg University was founded in 1919, it was proud to be the first university of a new, democratic Germany; but it did not emerge from nowhere. By 1909, professors and politicians had founded the Hamburg Colonial Institute. Responding to genocide and bloody wars in German colonies, they tried to give colonialism a “scientific” foundation. The Colonial Institute wanders through the archives and collections of Hamburg University, its greenhouses and labs to track down this intricate entanglement of science, colonialism and restitution. The film takes us on an expedition to Central Africa, presents us with the letters of an African language assistant and takes us on a search for a skull we are not allowed to see.

Thị Minh Huyền Nguyễn is a freelance writer and media scholar. As a marathon runner, she is involved in the empowerment of BIPOC* LGBTQI* communities. As co-founder of the ichbinkeinvirus.org platform, Huyen volunteers against anti-Asian racism. When Huyen is not writing or running, she supports intersectional feminist projects such as BIWOC* Rising.

Daniel Kulle is a film maker and film scholar based in Hamburg. His work has focussed on queer cinema, (post-)digital aesthetics and experimental film. His short films, such as NoFace (2015), Under Your Skin (2016) and The Taming (2018) have been screened at several international film festivals.