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I, Roland Gunst, a.k.a. John K Cobra, (* 1977), am a self-taught conceptual artist, filmmaker and musician of Belgian-Congolese (D.R.C.) descent, living and working between Belgium and South Africa.


My work emerges from an autobiographical perspective, being raised in a bicultural family in Congo and migrating to Belgium around the age of 12, and the daily confrontation to racism (verbally and physically). 


Through performances, film, music and visual art, I reflect on Afro-European strategies and narratives of liberation to counter strategies of oppression on (body) identity and trauma instilled by capitalism and its rigid categories and hierarchies. Even spatial architecture (monuments, avenues…) is used to create social groups that serve capitalism.


My strategies are developed around what Prof. Cecil Fromont called "spaces of correlation": spaces of similarity between European and African cultural traditions developed separately but using similar concepts of liberation and pratiques of critique. 


I merge social architecture (human bodies) and spatial architecture to come to a new type of fluid or trans architecture that functions as a moving site of memory and critique on oppression. 


I uss the human body and architecture to come to a new type of fluid or trans architecture that functions as a moving site of memory. By creating disruptive hybrid concepts and mediums he defies the boundaries that define (body) identity, community, habitat, culture and history. 


I am inspired by African and European (art) history, anthropology, psychology, philosophy and mythology. 


I work with symbolic materials that are "spaces of correlation" between Europe and Africa: human hair, copper, aluminium, rubber and wood. All are symbols of power, used in strategies of colonial rule as well as in anti-colonial and anti-capitalist resistance. 

I am an artist and researcher involved in the Critical Network BEyond PARTicipation, a four-year European research project of 9 performance art festivals aimed at developing a better understanding of the interrelationship between power, politics, place and audience in art practice.

My research is a collaboration with Esther Severi (*1983), a Belgian dramaturge from Brussels.

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