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 Imaginairies – 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.

Artistic director: Julien McHardy (NL); Research director: Richard Rottenburg (DE); Curators: Marion Louisgrand Sylla (SN), Julien McHardy (NL), Fiona Rankin-Smith (ZA), Philipp Ziegler (DE); Advisory curators: Elvira Dyangani Ose (GB), Neo Muyanga (ZA)
Participating artists: Younes Baba Ali (MA), Tegan Bristow (ZA), Serge Attukwei Clotted (GH), Layla Gaye (SN), Neo Muyanga (ZA), Marcus Neustetter (ZA), Myriam Syowia (KE), Grada Kilomba (PT), João Orecchia (ZA)

Additional dates

1 May -15 Jun. 2018, Kër Thiosanne Villa for Art and Multimedia/Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar – workshop, exhibition

1 Aug. -30 Sep. 2018, Wits Art Museum (WAM), Johannesburg - exhibition

TURN – Fund for Artistic Co­oper­a­tion between Ger­many and African Coun­tries

In 2012, the Federal Cultural Foundation established the TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries in order to encourage a wide range of German institutions to shift their focus on the artistic production and cultural debates in African countries.

More about the TURN Fund

  • Date

    17.11.2018 –


    ZKM | Karlsruhe


ZKM - Zentrum für Kunst- und Medientechnologie

Lorenzstr. 19
76135 Karlsruhe