The White Cube and the Post-Plantation - film screening

In this two-part event we will look closely at the work of Human Activities which, through critical thought and artistic production, aims to reverse the inequality that underpins the global art world.

White Cube (2020) is a film by Renzo Martens, made in collaboration with the Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC). It will be screened via Zoom, see below for booking details.

A discussion with Renzo Martens & CATPC will follow at a second event on Wednesday 24 November from 5–6.30pm.

Throughout this two-part event, Renzo Martens and members of CATPC will join us to discuss the economic, social and artistic critique which is at the heart of the project. Made by Martens in collaboration with CATPC, the film documents the way in which Congolese plantation workers have co-opted the concept of the White Cube in order to buy back their land from international plantation companies and secure it for future generations.

About the Human Activities and CATPC

Since 2014, Human Activities has collaborated with the plantation worker’s art league Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC) From a base at a former Unilever palm oil plantation in Lusanga, DR Congo, Human Activities and CATPC have established an arts centre, which aims to fully deal with the economic and industrial structures that sustain global economic segregation.

In 2017, Human Activities and CATPC celebrated the Repatriation of the White Cube. A quintessential White Cube, designed by OMA, was built and inaugurated on the former Unilever site. The White Cube is at the heart of the Human Activities/CATPC collaboration. With the establishment of the White Cube, the project aims to reverse the mechanisms through which plantations underwrite the art world.

Crucially, the White Cube attracts the capital and visibility needed to invent a new ecological and economic model on site: the post-plantation. With the repatriation of the White Cube, Human Activities and CATPC aim to bring back the privileges associated with the art world to one of the plantations that has historically funded the establishment of western museums.

How to book

Both events are free to attend and will take place on Zoom.

If you would like to watch the film but can’t make the live screening, please email Gill Park for a time-limited link. You can also view a trailer of White Cube prior to the event.

The work of Human Activities and CATPC.

About the Museum Legitimacies Events Series

These events are part of the Museum Legitimacies event series organised by in the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage.

The question of the legitimacy of art galleries, museums and heritage organisations is being posed increasingly loudly. Long standing attempts to reform are now being framed by strikes, demonstrations, occupations but also by increasing government oversight and policy constraint.

Negotiating between the politics of representational legitimacy via the state, delegated authority to professionals and participatory politics has for many decades now been core institutional work. Yet the present moment has exposed and generated vulnerabilities in the political constitution of art galleries, museums and heritage organisations.

In this series exploring political innovation in, against and beyond art galleries, museum and heritage organisations we will connect a range of debates often not well connected – from new approaches to practice, democratic innovation beyond trustee and arms-length models, DIY and mutual aid, co-operatives and community benefit societies to defunding and abolition – to ask: What does ‘legitimacy’ mean for art galleries, museums and heritage organisations?


Lusanga International Research Centre for Art and Economic Inequality; and Institute for Human Activities, Lusanga, Congo, 2017: The Repatriation of The White Cube. Photo: Thomas Nolf. © Lusanga International Research Centre for Art and Economic Inequality; and Institute for Human Activities.