Atelier video mapping, 2017, Foto © Kër Thiossane, Dakar

Digital Imaginaries – Africas in Production

Research and exhibition project in Karlsruhe, Johannesburg and Dakar – funded by the TURN fund

Collective images can shape public perception of what Africa was, is and could become in the future. According to the postcolonial visionary Édouard Glissant (1928-2011), these different “Africas” can be described as a technological web of relationships which extend far beyond the physical boundaries of the continent. In this sense, Africa is not so much a vision as it is a relational category which can comprise any number of contradictory possibilities. Yet how did these Africas originate? Based on science, technology and postcolonial studies, one can argue that cultural techniques play an important role in the creation of such imaginary entities.

The project “Digital Imaginaries – Africas in Production” by the Centre for Art and Media Technology (ZKM) takes these considerations as a basis for illuminating the significance of cultural techniques in constructing collective perceptions of the African continent. In cooperation with the Wits Art Museum (WAM) in Johannesburg, Kër Thiosanne in Dakar und the Martin Luther University in Halle, the project is developing a series of exhibitions in Dakar, Johannesburg and Karlsruhe which highlight a number of these imaginary concepts and reflect on technological development.

The exhibition platform brings art institutions together which are known for exploring the overlap of art and science. The aim is to artistically and scientifically investigate conceptual techniques of self, race, gender and government. The project will commission works for each exhibition which reflect on their individual production conditions – exhibitions as such are colonial techniques which have been integral in shaping public perception of Africa. Thematically, the curators will focus on “intermediate spaces” and postcolonial research on hybrid spaces where diverse areas of knowledge blend and merge. The project places particular emphasis on the digital arts and sound art, as audio-digital technologies play a decisive role in forming a globally intertwined, contemporary Africa due to their physical-emotional character.

Scientific adviser and project initiator: Richard Rottenburg (DE)
Project curators: Julien McHardy (NL), Oulimata Gueye
Afropixel artistic director: Marion Louisgrand Sylla (SN)
Afropixel curators: Oulimata Gaye, Daniel Sciboz, Julien McHardy
Afropixel producers: Marion Aïdara, Martha Cissé, Amayel Ndiaye
Fak’ugesi artistic director: Tegan Bristow (ZA)
Wits Art Museum, curators: Fiona Rankin-Smith (ZA), Tegan Bristow, Julien McHardy
ZKM curators: Philipp Ziegler (DE), Oulimata Gueye, Julien McHardy
Participating artists: Younes Baba Ali (MA), Tegan Bristow, Marcus Neustetter (ZA), François Knoetze, Tabita Rezaire, Kombo Chapfka, DK Osseo-Asare, Yasmine Abbas

17.11.2018 - 31.03.2019 ZKM, Karlsruhe Situating Digital Imaginaries — Africas in Production

Additional dates

Kër Thiosanne Villa for Art and Multimedia & Afropixel Festival: Non-Aligned Utopias, Dakar

Afropixel workshops & residencies 15 Feb-12 May 2018
Afropixel festival 1-12 May 2018

Wits Art Museum (WAM) & Fak’ugesi Festival: Premonition, Johannesburg

WAM exhibition 24 July-23 Sep 2018
Fak'ugesi festival 31 Aug-9 Sep 2018