Chronic arts


Nostalgia for Baby Doc rubs shoulders with nostalgia for the Bay of Pigs. And Balaguer. Do(es) battle with other dreams of homeland. Shuttles between this place and that place. Haiti, Cuba, DR – one, all, most – imagined from Miami, on the edge of Millennium 3

(Chenjerai Hove ‘s new book Homeless Sweet Home: A Memoir of Miami consists of essays, poems, and plays on Miami)

Documenta 13. What Kassel looks like from Lagos

“On June 9, 2012, when the exhibition opened in Kassel, we said that dOCUMENTA (13) was dedicated to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory. We said these were terrains where politics are inseparable from a sensual, energetic, and worldly alliance between current research in various scientific and artistic fields and other knowledges, both ancient and contemporary…”

After four years of preliminary encounters, seminars and preparations, after a 100-day exhibition and other activities in Kassel, a series of seminars and a 30-day exhibition in Kabul, an 8-day seminar in Alexandria, and a 14-day retreat in Banff, dOCUMENTA (13) closed in Kassel on Sunday, September 16, 2012, at 8 pm.

But what does Kassel looks like from Lagos?


“i-Mine is an experimental art-app/game which acts as a portal to the human lives built into the screen you are reading this on right now!!”

In the game you play a miner digging one of the precious ingredients for today’s electronics: tin, tungsten or tantalum. Do you know what these have to do with your phone? Have you ever heard about conflict minerals? As a miner in iMine you must work hard and deal with a difficult situation, try to make a little money, and dig enough so the soldiers who run the mine don’t get angry. It is not possible to win at iMine, you can only survive as long as you can. This is the dark reality of the hundreds of thousands of miners mining in difficult, dangerous or even lethal conditions for the minerals of high tech electronics around the globe right now.

Spotlight on this activist app-game-(bad) joke-learning tool about the rush for coltan and the mobile telephone industry

 i-Mine designers (Baruch Gottlieb, Horacio González Diéguez & Cocomoya)

Bebson Elemba.

Bebson Elemba a.k.a. de la Rue is a singer/rapper and the leader of Tryonix, an Afrofuturist project based in Kinshasa (DRC). As poet laureate of Kinshasa’s streets (hence his nickname “De La Rue” meaning “Of the streets”), Bebson is an influential figure in Ngbaka, one of the city’s most notorious ghettos, where he also teaches music and dance. He is also an inventor of music instruments and sound machines, some of which are used during Tryonix’s performances. Bebson and his brother Dicoco Boketshu, a bass player and video artist, formed Tryonix during the mid-1990s, as a collaborative project that blends Congolese rumba with rap and Jamaican raggamuffin with jazz sensibilities and electronica. Lyrically, Bebson taps into his vast knowledge of proverbs, Mongo chants and Kinshasa’s street slang. A sound they call Original Raggamuffin Folklore (ORF). In 1998, Tryonix released their critically acclaimed album entitled Mazapo, which lead to appearances at festivals across the DRC. They’ve since performed in Cameroon, Belgium and France.

A walk on the (wild) side of Bebson’s mind. This piece is channeled, rather than written.

Zanele Muholi

Trained at the Market Photo Workshop, Muholi came to national attention in September 2004 with her exhibition Visual Sexuality at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Her work is without precedent in South Africa, where there are very few instances of black women openly portraying female same-sex practices. As a gender and sexual rights activist, and as a photographer, she confronts the notion that lesbian practices are alien to African cultures, and offers a radical break from stereotypical narratives about black female sexualities. She succeeds in transgressing the taboos surrounding black female same-sex practices because of her intimate relationships in these communities, negotiating the boundaries through trust and respect. Her photographs offer a view from the inside, a personal perspective on the challenges facing black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the townships and other communities.

We speak to her about taking in photographs in 21st century South African society where loving can be dangerous.

An interview.

Family photography

The standard narrative about South African photography could be summed up in a few words: colonialism, Drum, the struggle, and liberated art. But we should say more.

We complicate the established narrative about South African life by exploring “family photography”: families separated by apartheid snap individual portraits, which are then assembled. Virtual “wholeness”. An archive?

See: Réflexions sur la photographie sud-africaine et l’extra-photographique John Peffer

and Portraiture and Photography in Africa Edited by John Peffer and Elisabeth L. Cameron, African Expressive Cultures, IU Press, 2013


Outside Carlsbad, New Mexico. Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP): a site so radically altered by human action that it should be left untouched for all time. Since the early 1990s, on invitation from the US government, linguists, scientists, science fiction writers, anthropologists and futurists have been working together to design a set of images that will warn generations in the distant future to keep away from WIPP at all costs. Suppose a response to the WIPP image project from Port Harcourt

A call to artists

Justine Gaga

“My work relates to loneliness. In the work ‘Siége de la pensée’ the string represents the fragility in which all people are; the boxes are the way human beings keep their thoughts and their memories. The boxes can be secret places; where no-one other than the person knows what is inside.” Justine Gaga

We engage “ the art of making art about aloneness” through artist Gaga’s work

Ernest Ouandié.

The last, historical leader of the Union des Populations du Cameroun, Ouandié was publically executed on a plaza in Bafoussam in 1972.

A theatre and photo intervention

Barthélémy Toguo.

In an era of global exchange, Barthélémy Toguo’s work reveals the absurdity of borders, whether psychological, familial, or territorial. He uses drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, performance, and video to reflect upon the places and people he encounters through his numerous travels. He is always both the subject and the narrator of these works, and considers them to be an interactive platform for information and communication.

We interview Tuguo

The Underground Railroad.

A 21stcentury road trip.

A study of a city, its design, its topographies, its networks and long-distance interchanges and transactions, as well as a ‘divine comedy’, a decent into the belly of the beast to explore the spectacles at its foundation.

See: Dakar: The Making of an African Metropolis and a study of the Underground Railroad by Steven Nelson

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