Non-Aligned Utopias

Dakar, Senegal
Afropixel Festival #6, Kër Thiossane

The first chapter of the Digital Imaginaries project took place in Dakar, Senegal. It was led and hosted by the independent laboratory for digital arts and social innovation Kër Thiosanne, the affiliated maker space Defko Ak Niëp, and the community garden. Digital Imaginaries Dakar entailed four months of workshops and residencies for guest artists and designers leading up to a conference, public discussions, and an exhibition featuring new work and performances.

The events took place as part of Kër Thiossane’s biannual experimental media arts festival Afropixel during the 13th Dak’Art Biennale. Afropixel #6 was dedicated to Non-Aligned Utopias revisiting the non-aligned movement searching for alternative digital possibilities beyond dominant innovation and tech practices.

Afropixel #6 programme.

  • Core Dump Dakar (Performance), Francois Knoetze with Bamba Diagne. Non-Aligned Utopias, 2018

  • Spacecraft_KT (setting up), AMP, DK Osseo-Asare & Yasmine Abbas. Superkilometre, 2018

  • Lead the Way: Speculative Scapes (Performance), Marcus Neustetter with Lamine Kora Kouyaté and Fatou Cissé. Non-Aligned Utopia, 2018

  • La Conseil des Etoiles (Collective star gazing), Tabita Rezaire. Non-Aligned Utopias, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, 2018

  • Décoloniser internet, une utopie? Kër Thiossane Agora, public discussion, Non-Aligned Utopias 2018



Johannesburg, South Africa
Wits Art Museum
Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival Tap Your Afro Source Code

The Johannesburg iteration of Digital Imaginaries was hosted by the annual Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival and the Wits Art Museum. It included workshops, guest artist residencies, public discussions, student projects, and an exhibition.

Participants engaged with the museum’s expansive collection to explore links between computational modelling and traditional future telling, questioning postcolonial infrastructures and histories and the idea that nature is calculable.

  • Towards a Vocabulary for Vernacular Algorithms. Tegan Bristow, Alex Coelho, Russel Hlongwane & João Roxo, Installation view, WAM, 2018.

  • Lead the Way, Johannesburg Marcus Neustetter with Lebogang Mashile, Prophet JD & Mantala Nkoatse, Installation view, WAM. 2018.

  • Borderlands. Kombo Chapfika, Installation view, WAM. 2018.

  • PREMIUM CONNECT. Tabita Razaire, 2017 Installation view, WAM, 2018.


Africas in Production

Karlsruhe, Germany
Zentrum für Kunst und Medien

The exhibition Digital Imaginaries—Africas in Production, hosted by the Zentrum für Kunst und Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, was the third project venue. The exhibition in Karlsruhe presented documentation of the events in Dakar and Johannesburg, as well as additional videos, photographs, sculptures, installations and performances from artists who had not previously taken part.

These additional works and the supporting programme consisting of residencies, workshops and talks linked the project to local concerns and initiatives, establishing that the struggle for a more multifaceted and multifarious configuration of the digital world is always situated but cannot be confined to particular sites and locations.

  • FRONT: Core Dump Karlsruhe. Francois Knoetze. BACK: Billisme Ya Sika. Maurice Mbikayi. Installation view, ZKM, 2018.

  • LEFT: Spacecraft_ZKM. DK Osseo-Asare & Yasmine Abbas. RIGHT: Pan African Flag for the Relic Travellers’ Alliance. Larry Achiampong. Installation view, ZKM. 2018

  • HubCités Africaines. Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou & L’Africaine d’architecture, 2018 Installation view, ZKM, 2018.

  • The Song Of The Spheres. Tabita Razaire, 2018 Installation view, ZKM, 2018.

  • Members of OK Lab and Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform collaborating on air quality sensors for the Spacecraft, 2018 Karlsruhe


African Positions Beyond the Binary

Publication, Internet
Jointly published by Kër Thiossane, Wits Art Museum, ZKM and Kerber
March 2021

Digital Imaginaries. African Positions Beyond the Binary is the fourth and final part of the project. Jointly published by the partner institutions, it presents works developed during the project alongside additional artistic and scientific contributions dealing with diverse digital phenomena: From the continued impact of toxic histories and the conflict-ridden extraction of minerals critical to the digital economy to video games, experimental architecture, the reappropriation of smart city and innovation practices, the commoning of resources, attempts to digitize voter trust, calls for digital resistance and decolonial healing, the relationships between humans and technics, utopia and dystopia, and the limits of reason. 

Grounded in positions on the African continent and diaspora the volume contributes to the global struggle for more diverse and inclusive digital futures.


Available in print, and as a free PDF

Artists & Researchers

Yasmine Abbas, Larry Achiampong, L’Africaine d’architecture, Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou, Bethlehem Anteneh, Younes Baba-Ali, Nothando Bhebhe, David Blandy, Joni Brenner, Tegan Bristow, Kombo Chapfika, Joshua Chiundiza, Bubblegum Club, Alex Coelho, Mehdi Derfoufi, Mamadou Diallo, Sunny Dolat , Amal Hassan Fadlalla, CUSS Group, Milumbe Haimbe, Scott Hazelhurst, Russel Hlongwane, Enrico Ille, Olalekan Jeyifous, Mwenya B. Kabwe, Wanuri Kahiu, Isaac Kariuki, Francois Knoetze, Siri Lamoureaux, Wale Lawal, Achille Mbembe, Maurice Mbikayi, Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou, The Nest Collective, Marcus Neustetter, Njoki Ngumi, Jamal Nxedlana, Nanjala Nyabola, DK Osseo-Asare, Timm Pascal Sureau, Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform, Tabita Rezaire, Judith Rottenburg, João Roxo, Joseph Tonda, Aude Tournaye, Minnette Vári and Michel Wahome.


Digital Imaginaries is a joined project of Kër Thiossane in Dakar, Senegal; Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa; and ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany, initiated by Richard Rottenburg with Julien McHardy and funded by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes) with further support by the DFG, Point Sud, Pro Helvetia and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.


Digital Imaginaries I

Non-Aligned Utopias

Kër Thiossane. Villa for Art and Multimedia, Dakar May 7–30, 2018

Curated by Oulimata Gueye, Julien McHardy, Marion Louisgrand Sylla, Daniel Sciboz

Project team Marion Aïdara, Martha Cissé, Amayel Ndiaye, Daouda Koté, Cyrille Essoh, Idrissa Sall

Digital Imaginaries—Non-Aligned Utopias took place at Kër Thiossane as part of the Afropixel #6 Festival.

Digital Imaginaries II


Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg July 24–September 23, 2018

Curated by Tegan Bristow, Fiona Rankin-Smith

Curatorial assistance Kiera Crowe-Petterson

Digital Imaginaries: Premonition took place at the Wits Art Museum in partnership with the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival.

Digital Imaginaries III

Africas in Production

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
November 17, 2018–March 17, 2019

Curated by Oulimata Gueye, Julien McHardy, Philipp Ziegler with Bettina Korintenberg and Barbara Kiolbassa (education)

Project team Anne Däuper, Natascha Daher, Viktoria von Pidoll, Christina Zartmann

Digital Imaginaries IV

African Positions Beyond Binaries

March 2021, Kerber Verlag

Editors Richard Rottenburg, Oulimata Gueye, Julien McHardy and Philipp Ziegler for Kër Thiossane, Wits Art Museum, and ZKM | Karlsruhe

Head of ZKM | Publications Jens Lutz, Editorial staff Julien McHardy, Philipp Ziegler, Miriam Stürner, Jens Lutz, Caroline Meyer-Jürshof, Hannah-Maria Winters, Daniela Schwarz, Assistance Patrick Trappendreher, Annina Guntli, Laura Schmidt, Leoni Habedank

Design The Laboratory of Manuel Bürger (Manuel Bürger, Simon Schindele)

Copyediting Melanie Mallon and the team of ZKM | Publications, Copyediting of the original German texts Kirsten Rachowiak, Munich, Copyediting of the original French texts Martine Passelaigue. Translations German > English: Steven Corcoran, Gloria Custance, Isaac Custance, Lauren K. Wolfe, French > English: Steven Corcoran. Project management, Kerber Verlag Lydia Fuchs, Production, Kerber Verlag Jens Bartneck