Piet Defraeye explores Milo Rau’s work in Central Africa, focusing on 2011’s Hate Radio and 2015’s The Congo Tribunal. Defraeye suggests that while Rau’s interest in Central Africa is not based on any personal connection, it began before the founding of his company, the International Institute of Political Murder (iipm), and has been something of a through line for the director. In analyzing both projects, Defraeye traces their development and provides the historical and cultural context of the events presented. In the case of Hate Radio, this involves looking at performances of the piece around Europe and on-site in a radio studio in Kigali and explaining the role of radio in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. With The Congo Tribunal, Defraeye identifies several of the many global ramifications of what is often referred to as the African World War and summarizes the three cases that made up the three-day imagined trial in Bukavu, Congo, which, along with the follow-up presentation in Berlin and a wide range of ancillary materials, was the centerpiece of the project. Defraeye contextualizes The Congo Tribunal within both Rau’s oeuvre and the larger ecosystem of Central African activism, identifying Rau’s utopian goals as well as the criticisms leveled against him.
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