ANNALISA URBANO

Annalisa holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. As a post-doctoral researcher at the Academy for Advanced African Studies, she is working on a book project provisionally entitled Creating Somalia: The United Nations, nationalism and the end of empire in East Africa (1945-1969).

ATO MALINDA

Ato Malinda lives and works in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She has a Masters of Fine Art (MFA) from Transart Institute, New York and is a PhD candidate at Leiden University and the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. She works in the mediums of performance, drawing, painting, installation and video, as well as has a growing interest in object-making. Her previous work has focused on Afrocentricity based in a postcolonial context. Within this context, Malinda has focused on the hybrid nature of African identity, contesting notions of authenticity. Through her research, Malinda has discovered numerous histories of intermingling of Africans through colonialism, but also trade, with other cultures. In addition, Malinda focuses on ontology of the female experience pertaining to Africa, examining gender and ideologies surrounding the history and current state of gender and sexuality in Africa. She has exhibited at Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK) in Berlin (2011), Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main (2014), the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution (2015), Salon Urbain de Douala in Cameroon (2010) and the Karen Blixen Museum in Copenhagen (2010).

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Selected Solo Exhibitions

2013 GAMES, Savvy Contemporary, Berlin

2011 Incommensurable Identities, im Rahmen von IMAGINE – towards an ecoaesthetic, The Aarhus Art Building, Aarhus

2009 Dans Mon Brun, Doual’art, Douala

2009 Solo exhibition at Goethe Institute Nairobi: Looking at Art; Looking at Africa; Looking at Art, Prison Sex II.

Selected Group Exhibitions

2012 Untitled January 2012, Roots Contemporary, Brüssel

2011 the Urban Cultures of Global Prayers, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK), Berlin

2011 One Minutes Africa, at Townhouse Gallery, Cairo

2011 FOCUS 11, Contemporary Art Africa, Art 42 Basel

2011 Fertile, South London Gallery, CONTEMPORARY AFRICA ON SCREEN, London

2011 Kaddou Diggen, La Paroles aux Femmes, Women Speak Out, Galerie Le Manège, Dakar

2010 Salon Urbain de Douala, SUD2010: Douala Triennial, Douala

2010 II Trienal Luanda 2010. Luanda

2010 My World IMAGES, Contemporary Arts Festival 2010, Copenhagen, Denmark. Rebuilding, Remembering & Renewing, Karen Blixen Museum, Rungstedlund

CONCEPTS OF FUTURE IN MEDIASPACES OF AFRICA AND ITS DIASPORAS

Our sub-project is dedicated to fictional conceptualisations of the future in the intersection and overlapping of internet, imagination and Africa and its diasporas.

Description

The sub-project “Concepts of Future in Mediaspaces of Africa and its Diasporas” is dedicated to fictional conceptualizations of ‘Future’ in the intersecting trans-spaces of Internet, Fiction, and Africa/n Diasporas. In doing so, literary studies are mobilized as transcultural and transmedial “life science” (Ottmar Ette).

Terms

Diasporas constitute societal spaces that perform entangled (hi)stories and generate transcultural futures, promising creative solutions for global challenges. Fiction does not exist in a vacuum; rather, given constellations of knowledge, power and visions are negotiated polyphonously—affirmed, and/or subverted. Diasporas transgress borders between languages and nations just as much as fiction transgresses conventional boundaries of genres and media. The Internet has become a haven and home for these kinds of intersections and interactions of both Africa and its diasporas as well as media and genres. Weblogs, informational as well as social fora (to mention just the most obvious), are mediaspaces that are informed by given geopolitical power constellations and yet offer scopes of intellectual and aesthetic mobility that transgress them. Here, a poetics arises that (re)invents itself for the future, coping with history and negotiating the present.

Methodology and Theory

Literary Studies facing transmedial and transcultural fiction has to reinvent itself and resituate its structures, concepts and agendas. The various projects will rely on an expertise in African and African-diasporic Literatures, English and Anglophone Literatures, as well as German and Romance Literatures. Yet, conventional pigeonholes such as national literatures and one-language-one-nation-only frames of literary studies are likewise transgressed. As a result, the project performs Transcultural Literary Studies, relying on postcolonial theory and critical whiteness studies, Diaspora studies, gender and sexuality studies, and queer studies.

Questions

1. How are visions of ‘Future’ mediated via the Internet?

2. Which visions and projections of ,Future’—with particular reference to Africa/n diasporas, Europe, and the USA—are negotiated in fiction, above all in Afrofuturism, Africanist Science Fiction and African-diasporic Net-Art?

3. How have Afrofuturism, Africanist SF and African-diasporic Net-Art intervened and generated visions of histories that remember into futures? (How) do they influence conceptualizations of the future and intervene in contemporary processes? What are the implications of such interventions?

4. What are the impacts of visions of ‘Future’ on global archives of knowledge, on transcultural dialogicity, and on local and translocal conceptions of ‘Future’ in Europe, Africa and the USA?

5. (How) Does the Internet influence other media? Does it open specific potentials for future-oriented, transcultural and transmedial forms of expression, as well as, e.g., new economic and ethical formats of ‘intellectual property’? How do various genres interact, how are their stakeholders and/or agencies cross-linked on the local and/or transregional levels, and how do their literary-aesthetical visions of ‘Future’ influence political activism in ‘real’ (local) settings, especially in urban agglomerations—understood as contact spaces between Africa-/Europe/Northern America/Asia, and Africa/Diaspora(s)—, respectively?

6. Different Web formats (blogs, artists’ websites, publications in social fora, etc.) will be compared in order to address the following questions: To what extent do new aesthetic genres, especially those of particular relevance for the development and/or presentation of visions of ‘Future’ in/for Africa, emerge from and through the Internet? In a comparative perspective, Internet literature of the African Diaspora(s) can be analyzed in relation to other, ‘classical’ literary media (publishers, booksellers, literary cafés, academia, etc.), and the relevance of the Internet for different regional spaces shall be considered. Insomuch as Web-based aesthetic production presents itself as polyphonic genre-crossing, prose and Spoken Word Performances will be compared with genres such as fine (visual) arts, photography, music, and theatre/film production in/of African Diaspora(s).

7. (How) Can research on new literary representations of future (e.g. ‘Afrofuturism’, SF, African-diasporic Net-Art) determine coordinates for the future of a ‘Literary Study in Motion’ (Ottmar Ette), contribute to new paradigms and mappings, and thereby result in the advancement of both literature and literary studies?

Narratives of the Future in Modern African History

Beyond Europe:
Narratives of the Future in Modern African History

As key agents who built and are building the future of Africa, Africans and the African diaspora themselves developed significant narratives of that future throughout modern history. They often diverged from, but were also entangled with, alternative notions from outside the continent. This sub-project is concerned with writing the history of African and African diaspora visions of times to come and how they were connected with global debates about the future.

Description

Africans and the African Diaspora developed narratives of the future of Africa, which often diverged from, but also entangled with, alternative notions from outside the continent. Historical writing on European ideas for the future of Africa is rich and often innovative, shaping historical theory and practice. Particularly the concepts of ‘civilisation’, ‘progress’ and ‘development’ (as they were applied by Europeans to African societies) have been interrogated in detail. These teleological concepts reveal a particular understanding of the relationship between time, place and change applied by some to the African continent.

This rare portrait of a solitary mid-century African-American man reading by the fireside, depicts a cold and shadowed room while the man studies the newspaper and considers a possible brighter future in the colony of Liberia

The project will also analyse African, African-American and African diaspora concepts of time and show how they are related to ideas about space. In comparison to European linear and progressive narratives of a burgeoning civilisation or planned development, the project will demonstrate how African and African diaspora conceived of the future trajectory of the continent. The research puts an emphasis on social diversity and the “embeddedness” of narratives in power relations. Furthermore, we will consider links between religious and secular concepts, the manifold transfers and mutual appropriations of ideas between Europeans, Americans, and Africans, asking how “indigenous” or “authentic” concepts are, if we take into consideration the on-going process of transculturation. Lastly, we will inquire into the impact of past ideas on the times to come.

With Africans and the African Diaspora firmly at the heart of the research, as the agents who built and are building the future of Africa, our project is concerned with writing the history of these groups’ concepts and how they impacted on global debates about the future.

Picture:
Edwin White, Thoughts of Liberian Emancipation
This rare portrait of a solitary mid-century African-American man reading by the fireside, depicts a cold and shadowed room while the man studies the newspaper and considers a possible brighter future in the colony of Liberia

REVOLUTION 3.0

The research project investigates the entanglements of aesthetics and politics in situations of radical social transformation, and the becoming of icons. What constitutes the ‘seismographic power’ of images, and the sustainability of icons in terms of radicalism? Central to our investigation are diachronic and transcultural filiations within visual culture in the ‚longue durée‘of lusophone Africa. These images are part of visual memory cultures and are enmeshed in thriving political-social movements and recent medial transformations. Our research firstly focuses on Mozambique, particularly because of the foundation of „Instituto Nacional de Cinema“ right after independence in 1975; established in order to produce and promote ‚homemade‘ images for Mozambicans; and conceptualized as a contrast to colonial imageries. Furthermore, Mozambique as part of the „socialist international“ formed an integral part of political dynamics (eg in Algeria, Angola, Namibia, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau), which found its expression in the iconographies of the time. This internationalism, both ideological and factual, resulted in references and relations which reach beyond Africa as a continent (and connect with, eg, Cuba, GDR, Chile). Contemporary visions of futures seem to meander between political-economic pragmatism and nostalgic utopias and evoke the question of actual ‘originality’. The core question here is the negotiation of recent and historical imaginations of future in iconographies of revolutions; and the investigation of visual archives. The research is located at the triangle of fine arts, film and virtual imageries in digital media such as the internet. “Revolution 3.0” is one of the five research projects of the interdisciplinary Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies.

Picture: © Nayko – http://www.redbubble.com/people/nayko

Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies

Founded in October 2012 and inaugurated in a festive event on December 3rd, 2012, the “Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies” will expand the horizon of the well-established field of African Studies at this University at international, national and local levels. Across a broad range of disciplines, it will open dialogues with other Area Studies as well as with fields of research dedicated to ‘systematic’ (i.e. non-regional) approaches. Thus, in its first phase (2012-2016), the Bayreuth Academy will fathom concepts of the future emerging from Africa and its diasporas from different academic perspectives. An essential concern is to engage in general debates about the concept of ‘future’ through insights gained from regional research, notably African Studies. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding this project and the setting up of its institutional structures during the next four years.

Future – Concepts