M.Bassy Dialogues #2
with Melanie Raabe
We want to stay in touch with the M.Bassy familiy, artists and audience in this exceptional time! Thus, we are delighted to launch a series of dialogues with artists that collaborated with us in the past or that will collaborate with us in the future. We invite you for an inside view of their current artistic practice, spiritual state of being and personal reflection of the realities of life – shifting the perspective to the global south and raising vital questions that eventually affect us all.
In SERIES #2 we are happy to host online for a close-up interview the author and writer Melanie Raabe.
How does your current artistic practice look like?
Since I am a writer, the core of my work isn’t really affected. I do my best work in the morning, so I try to get up rather early to write no matter the circumstances. I have been working on my first non-fiction book during the last months, so I have been glued to my desk practically all day every day.
For which three things are you very thankful at the moment?
My family, my friends, young activists trying to make the world a better place. (Not things, I know.)
What have you learned during this time: What can you do without, that you usually stick to?
I am so over crowded spaces. I love talking one on one, but I don’t miss big, noisy crowds one bit. I also went off social media during the Covid-19 pandemic. I felt I had to take action to reclaim my brain in a way. I can very well do without this constant flow of words and images and opinions (and toxicity). The more time I spend offline, the more creative I feel.
How do you deal with the uncertainty of the future?
As an author I am rather lucky, since I can write no matter what. That helps a lot, because writing is how I deal with things. If I‘m feeling uncertainty, that‘s what I‘m going to write about.
At which place would you choose to be at the moment?
I‘m so glad I am home in my Cologne apartment. I love to travel, but right now I wouldn‘t like being stranded abroad.
Who should view your art right now?
Everybody who loves to read and cherishes fiction with a young female perspective.
Which connection do you have to nature currently?
Nature has become a huge source of comfort, stillness and inspiration for me. I love my daily walks and I go hiking whenever I can.
In how far the Corona pandemic is an allegory of global capitalism?
Well, it’s deadly, it grows exponentially, and the richer parts of the population are rather comfortable and well protected while everybody else suffers. Sounds a lot like turbocapitalism to me!
What is your ONE question to the world (that you would stitch onto your M.Bassy-mouthgard)?
How can I help, love?
Which topics are drowned out by Corona at the moment?
So many. The climate crisis with all its implications. The resurgence of fascism and totalitarian systems around the world...At least racial injustice is back on the agenda now, thanks to many amazing activists.
To what extent do you feel responsible for educating white people in term of rascism?
There is a lot of people who find this rather shocking, but I will elaborate on racism and white privilege when I feel like it. When I am in the right state of mind, mentally, emotionally. When I, personally, think it makes sense. When being asked by white people I care about - family and friends for example. I am more and more reluctant to talk to strangers or media outlets. I know this isn't a popular stance. But I refuse being reduced to the color of my skin, and I dislike feeling like a bot you can ask anything at any time that is convenient for you. I absolutely love and respect everybody who feels responsible for educating the masses. I commend all of them for the work they are doing. It's important work. But that is not a route I find myself able to go. The feeling my reluctance is coming from is this, I guess: Black people didn't invent racism. White people did. They brought it into the world and they are the ones keeping it alive. They must be the ones to fight it. (Just as much as heterosexual cis people need to fight homophobia and transphobia, just as much as everybody who is not Jewish needs to fight anti-Semitism and so on.)
What options are there to fight racism?
I think it's important to understand that racism runs through every institution. It's a system, a structure. I'm all about self-efficacy, and I find all the small things we can do on a personal level meaningful and important. But we need a change of the system. How we can achieve that is above my pay grade.
About Melanie Raabe
Melanie Raabe (*1981) is an author and writer of German and Beninese descent. After her studies of media management she worked as a journalist before succesfully publishing several novels. Together with the artist Laura Kampf she runs the weekly podcast »Raabe & Kampf« about creativity. She lives and works in Cologne.