Digital Imaginaries

Digital Imaginaries is a joined project of Kër Thiossane and Afropixel Festival in Dakar, Wit Art Museum and Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival in Johannesburg, and ZKM in Karlsruhe.

'Digital Imaginaries' reminds us that digital technologies are not self-evident or universal but configured in a historically contingent field. Articulating digital technologies and Africa together is an opportunity to reevaluate the dominant imaginaries that shape contemporary digital practices. That at least is our starting premise. To put it to the test, we invite artists and writers to Dakar, Johannesburg and Karlsruhe. The resulting works expose, disrupt, hack or subvert dominant digital imaginaries to propose alternative configurations of the digital.

I am chuffed to finally share the programme for the Afropixel festival that forms the first chapter of the project.

Afropixel #6, Digital Imaginaries: Non-Aligned Utopias revisits the old struggle for non-aligned African positionalities under the conditions of contemporary digital practices. If the ghosting of non-western technological histories and realities is impoverishing digital imaginaries, we should be able to recover resources for alternative configurations of the digital by paying attention to non-western digital practices, whether they emerge in Africa or elsewhere. Thus at least, is the utopian premise of digital non-alignment. A premise that energises experiments with alternative forms of digital production and local digital cultures. It is to this energy and the initiatives and experiments that nurture it that the first chapter of the Digital Imaginaries project in Dakar is dedicated. Léopold Sédar Senghor’s conviction, that cultural productions are central to the possibility of non-aligned Senegalese positionalities is lively here. So, is his proposition that African positionalities are important to the reconfiguration of richer universals.

Check the LOST website for a full project outline

Partners
Kër Thiossane
Wits Art Museum
Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival
ZKM

Digital Imaginaries Dates
Afropixel: Non-Aligned Utopias | Dakar
Afropixel workshops & residencies 15 Feb - 12 May 2018
Afropixel festival 1-12 May 2018

Wits Art Museum & Fak’ugesi Festival: Premonition | Johannesburg
WAM exhibition 24 July – 23 September 2018
Fak'ugesi festival 31 August – 9 September

ZKM: Situating Digital Imaginaries — Africas in Production | Karlsruhe
ZKM exhibition 17 November 2018 – 31 March 2019


Developing New Platforms for Open Access Publishers

Happy to announce that we secured EU Open Aire funding for a collaborative project to develop and prototype a new platform for Open Access book publishers. The consortium application was initiated by Mattering Press and supported by May Fly, Open Humanities Press, Punctum Books, Open Book Publishers and Meson Press. Joe Deville and I lead the application and are chuffed to be working on this with the participating presses. We are excited because this is quite a rare opportunity to strengthen a collective, alternative Open Access publishing scene, that can show and make real alternatives to the monolithic, and monopolistic Open Access infrastructures that are currently being established.


Shooting Range

The Swiss sound festival Klang Moor Schopfe invited artists to work in and around the highland moor of Appenzell from 1–10 September.

Audio research collective Norient put together a programme of talks and events and contributed the sound installation 'Theatre of War.' The piece presents podcasts and soundscapes of war in the local rifle range. The installation uses audio-visual exhibition furniture that Collectionista's Carlotta Werner and I designed for Norient in collaboration with the audio wizards from Hands On Sound.


Nieuw-West

Slowly getting the hang of things in Amsterdam Nieuw-West, where I am setting up a new studio space with Cristina Garriga, Tara Karpinski and Caspar van Gemund.

Come visit us, here.


Like Cream

John Knight's 'Right to be Lazy,' Hamburger Bahnhof, Photo: Tahani Nadim

In 2016 I presented in the 'Indicator Game' panel at the Society for Social Studies of Science conference in Denver following an invitation by Sarah de Rijcke and Maximilian Fochler. The event resulted in a special issue of the 'Engaging Science, Technology, and Society Journal' (ESTS) with essays by Roland Bal, Ulrike Felt, Alan Irwin, Ruth Müller, Katie Vann, Paul Wouters, Daniel Lee Kleinman, Maureen McNeil, Marilyn Strathern and myself.

In my contribution, I argue that innovation requires spaces that are protected from the demands of evaluation regimes. Writing in an auto-ethnographic mode, I draw on my experience as a design consultant, John Knight's installation 'The Right to Be Lazy' and my work at Mattering Press. The ESTS Journal is open access. You can download my contribution here.


Seismographic Sounds

The Norient exhibition Seismographic Sounds – Visions of a New World showed and discussed contemporary video clips, tracks and sound art from around the globe. It was shown from August 2015 to February 2017 in six venues including the ZKM in Karlsruhe, the CTM Festival/Kunsthaus Bethanien Berlin, a castle in Bellinzona and BASE Milano. Having toured for over two years we celebrated the final show in Bern's Kornhausforum this January.

Curated by the music research network Norient the show was conceived as a multi-authored exhibition about the global diversity in music and video production brought forth by digital cultures. Presenting 15 podcasts, three semi-open cinemas, an encyclopedic book, a stuffed skunk singing Arabic, an interactive debate about the politics of global music production, an awe-inspiring selection of videos and an archival sofa showcasing rare playlists this travelling show packed neatly into a 40-ton truck. Now that the show is over, you can still check out the podcasts and playlist, as well as the book at Norient.

Together with Nils Volkmann and Carlotta Werner I developed the scenography of the show and supervised the production and install. We worked closely with Norient’s curators Thomas Burkhalter, Theresa Beyer, Hannes Liechti as well as Jan Paul Herzer and Max Kullmann at Hands on Sound (Audio Scenography), Annegreth Schärli (Graphics) and Nicolai Wienzoschek (Technical Producer), Jens Dralle (Prototyping and 3d) and Arne Krüger, Nico Krüger, Jens Langsteiner and Doris Pahl (Production). This was a very special project to work on, largely because of the fantastic team.


Mattering Launch

We first setup Mattering Press as an independent publisher in 2012, when I joined the editorial board. In 2016, we officially launched with an event hosted by the Centre for Invention & Social Process at Goldsmiths, University of London. Having published four books in 2016 we currently have eight titles in production, great proposals rolling in, and plans for new publishing interventions in the pipeline.

As an open access publisher, we are dedicated to making empirically grounded monographs and edited collections widely and freely available. All our books are therefore available freely online and as printed books to purchase. If you’re interested in the books or in proposing a book project visit us at matteringpress.org.


Europe Endless Express

The EEE debating carriage

30 Juni - 2 July 2016. A politics, literature, theatre and music festival on a night train from Amsterdam to Bratislava and back. An alternative handover of the European Presidency from the Netherlands to Slovakia. 15 train carriages, 3 days, two nights, 600 guests, onboard theatre, concert, club, debate and cinema wagons as well as a restaurant, two bars and performances and readings throughout the train not to forget a lab analysing trans-European spore travel, trainspotters choreographed along the track and live festival radio programme broadcasted throughout the train and stops in Prague and Bratislava with dedicated performance programmes.

I joined the creative team of the Europe Endless Express Festival as the scenographer. This was my first Dutch production and what a ride it was.

Thanks to the fantastic team: Caspar van Gemund (Artistic director), Lizzy Timmers (Dramaturge), Rik Elstgeest (Music Programme) Julien McHardy (Scenography), Floortje Halters & Ellen van Bunnik (Main Producers), Julia Mikx (Production Train), Betul Erat (Production Prague/Bratislava), Lieveke Heijn (Production Assistant), Siemen van der Werf (Technical Producer), Rebecca van Vuure (Communication), Joost de Haas (Graphic Design). And the amazing partners: Eddie The Eagle Museum, Touki Delphine, PipsLab, Warme Winkel, Wunderbaum, Pink Pony Express, SLAA, de Balie, Eye


Éclair Rewards

National TV spot for the Éclair Roumde, Burkina Faso max-

In 2014 we were awarded a Red Dot Design award for our work with FiveNinety Design on the improved ‘Eclair’ charcoal cook stove for West African markets. The Eclair stove was initially developed by my partner at FiveNinety Carlotta Werner starting in 2011 in Benin. I joined her in 2013 and we have since introduced and adapted the stove to user and production requirements in Benin, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Senegal.

Featuring a handcrafted, co-designed product in the flagship brand dominated kitchen section of the industry award was satisfying. The real reward, however, is to know that over 100,000 stoves have been sold, with 20,000 “Éclair” stoves sold in Benin in 2013 alone. And from knowing that this success is largely the result of a long-term co-design process involving local distributors and sellers, the responsible country programmes of the Energising Development Initiative, Christoph Messinger and Christa Roth at Food and Fuel and the many users and metal workers who contributed their expertise and ideas for improvements.

I am particularly grateful for working with metal producer Ousmane Thiam and consultant Modou Loum in Senegal. Ousmane et Loum, merci pour votre expertise et enthousiasme.


Keck Kiosk

Keck by Night, Base

Following an invitation of the ‘House of Electronic Arts Basel, H3K,’, the music research collective Norient selected over 200 video clips from over 50 countries from their 5 Videos from X project, installing them in a former newsagent from August - October 2014. The so-called ‘Keck Kiosk’ is located at a busy intersection and serves as an art platform in public space.

I designed and installed Norient’s Keck intervention, together with the Norient team and Nils Volkmann in three intense days that became the starting point for our collaboration with Norient.


Why Books Matter

'Publish like you give a damn' in the Colegio Arzobispo de Fonseca

The esCTS Spanish network of Science and Technology Studies is unusual not least because of the political decision to sustain intellectual freedom by operating outside of official university structures.

Invited to speak at the annual esCTS meeting in Salamanca, I led the session 'Publish like you give a damn: Careful Experiments in Academic Publishing.’ The Colegio Arzobispo de Fonseca is one of the oldest European Universtiy buildings and its sombre grandeur participated in our discussion about academic politics and publishing.

Reflecting on the event I wrote the blog post ‘Why books matter: There is value in what cannot be evaluated’ that was published by LSE’s Impact of Social Sciences and on the Hybrid Publishing blog, amongst other places. You can read it here