Conversations From The Center


Episode #1 – Dis/Order

Season 1, Ep. 1

Usha Seejarim, artist from South Africa, introduces a key moment of transformation in her life, when she was asked to design a permanent public memorial for Nelson Mandela in anticipation of his death. Afterwards, we converse with sociologist of the arts Margarita Kuleva (Russia), artist/researcher Bruno Moreschi (Brazil) and technology researcher/activist Jackline Kemigisa (Uganda) about how they see their work in relation to the theme of Dis/Order. Portions of this program were recorded at the AfroQueer podcast studios in Nairobi, Kenya.

Bruno Moreschi

Researcher and multidisciplinary artist. Postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo (FAUUSP), PhD in Arts at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), with a Capes scholarship, and exchange at the University of Arts of Helsinki (Kuva Art Academy), Finland, via CIMO Fellowship. His academic and artistic investigations are related to the deconstruction of systems and the decoding of their procedures and social practices – including here (but not only) experiences in the visual arts system and its spaces of legitimation. He currently conducts experiments in the field of Artificial Intelligence, in reverse engineering processes to carry out expanded practices of institutional critique and studies on human layers present in the training and maintenance of contemporary digital infrastructures. Projects recognized by scholarships, exhibitions and institutions such as Van Abbemuseum, 33rd Bienal de São Paulo, Rumos Award, Funarte, Capes and Fapesp. He is currently a researcher on the Histories of AI: Genealogy of Power (Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University), senior researcher at the Center for Arts, Design and Social Research (CAD+SR) and one of the coordinators of GAIA / C4AI / Inova USP, a group of researchers from different fields in the construction of democratic, artistic and experimental methods in the use of programming, machine learning and Artificial Intelligences – always considering the specifics of the Global South context.

Jackline Kemigisa

Jackline Kemigisa is a feminist Journalist and Podcaster interested in the intersection between technology and the media. Currently, she is pursuing a Masterʼs degree in Digital Journalism and technologies. Before this, Jackline ran a hybrid publication called Parliament Watch, a platform that monitors and updates on Parliament of Uganda, East African Legislative Assembly through leveraging new technology as its primary means of communication as an editor and researcher on Parliamentary democracy in Uganda. The Africa Innovation summit has featured her work among the top 50 technology solutions under the media category, and she is currently sitting on the Africa Innovate board, representing Eastern Africa. As a journalist, her work has been published by the Womenʼs Media Centre, Independent UK, and several Ugandan publications. She also co- hosted a women biased history podcast called Wulira. As a blogger, she contributes to a women publication focusing on telling stories of Ugandan women called women for women in Uganda. Her areas of interest include: Feminisms, Media, decolonization, democracy, and governance 

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Episode #3 – Transforming Materials

Season 1, Ep. 3
Hector Canonge discusses his studio home MODULO 715 in NYC, and the residency program he organized in the space. Faced with a fire that destroyed the building, he had to restart everything (once again). What is an audio performance? The first answer in our series comes from Tamara Al-Mashouk, who asks among other things: “Where are you from?” Next, we invited participants in our residency in Nairobi (Kenya) to discuss: how do you understand transformation in flux? How are materials (and their transformations) part of your art, activism, and research practice? Our group of conversants include artist Laura Porter (Paris/France), artist Wambui Collymore (Nairobi/Kenya), artist/organizer Dennis Kiberu, (Nairobi/Kenya) and photojournalist Adam Sings In The Timber (Providence/USA). We finish off with Dutch sound artist Zeno Van Den Broek’s interpretation of Conversations From The Center, through an audio composition of voices from the future. Portions of this program were recorded at the AfroQueer podcast studios in Nairobi, Kenya.Hector Canonge (@hectorcanonge)Hector Canonge is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, and cultural producer based in New York City. His work incorporates various forms of artistic expression: Performance Art, Dance, Multimedia Production, Installation, and Social Practice to explore and treat issues related to constructions of identity, gender roles, and the politics of migration.Tamara Al-Mashouk (@tmraalm)Tamara Al-Mashouk was born in Saudi Arabia in 1988. She graduated from Wellesley College with a major in architecture (2010) and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Art at Tufts University (2016). Through video, performance, and architectural installation, Al-Mashouk examines the movement of people across societal and national borders with specific focus on the intersectional body and conversely this body’s relationship to institutional systems. She has founded an all-female fine art gallery at a music and arts festival in upstate New York. She produces single and multi-channel video works for the gallery and public sphere- a five-channel video installation for a solo show in Boston, a two-channel video installation in Beijing, and a three-hour multi-channelAdam Sings In The Timber (@signsinthetimber)Adam Sings In The Timber is an enrolled member of the Crow Nation in Montana, USA. Adam was born in Montana and grew up in the Midwest of the USA. He studied photojournalism at the University of Montana, Missoula. Currently based in Providence, RI, his work captures the beauty and complexities of Native American culture without shying away from the realities of poverty, addiction and abuse. His photo making process ethically portrays Indigenous communities through art and documentation. Sings In The Timber’s work, combining documentary photography and portraiture, will be featured in an upcoming exhibition at the Field Museum in Chicago. Previous exhibitions include First Voice Art Gallery at the American Indian Center, Chicago; Paramount Theatre Gallery, Seattle; Montgomery Ward Gallery, University of Illinois-Chicago; Harold Washington Library, Chicago; Gallery OTR, Cincinnati, Ohio; and King Street Station, Seattle, Washington. His photojournalism has been published in The Guardian, Indian Country Today, Indian Peoples Magazine, USA Today and the New York Times, among others. He has lectured widely on the importance of Indigenous people documenting their own culture at institutions including Bowling Green State University, Northwestern University, Brown University, and the University of Colorado Boulder.Laura Porter (@_laura.porter_)Laura Porter is an American artist who lives in Paris, France. She has a practice-based PhD in Fine Arts from École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts / SACRePSL. Through installation, sculpture, and video, her work considers modes of value production. With particular attention to the genesis of objects and tools as well as the role of the body in disposable economies, her works appear as small technological/nutritional economies or systems in the pro- cess of becoming animated. Laura Porter’s work has been presented at Centre Pompidou (Paris), Centre Régional d’Art Contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon (Sète), Fundació Joan Miró (Barcelona), FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (Reims), Woluwe Park (Brussels), In extenso (Clermont-Ferrand), and Bandjoun Station (Cameroon).Wambui Collymore (@wambuikamiru)Born in 1982, in Kenya, Wambui Wamae Kamiru Collymore has been developing artwork around the theme of colonialism, identity, and independence in Africa. She is the Founder of The Art Space – an online contemporary gallery with alternative show spaces, based in Nairobi. Through her own work in contemporary art – mainly simulated experiences, Wambui tackles history, politics and social issues. Originally a painter, Wambui now creates installations with various mediums. She is currently intrigued by pattern, its repetition, and memory. Wambui Kamiru holds an African Studies with a focus on Kenyan History from the University of Oxford. Her dissertation focused on the attempt to create collective memory around Kenyaʼs Mau Mau War and the family of Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi. With this background, Wambui tells stories about the passage of time, through her artwork. Her most recent exhibition, Wakariru (#Wakariru) was an exhibition about the destruction of language for everyday things and the accompanying loss of orally documented knowledge. It looked at memory and the forgotten history of the role of women in the Mau Mau war. It was shown at One Off Galleryʼs Space at Rosslyn Riviera. Akili Ni Nywele (#AkiliNiNywele) was created as part of Sensing Nairobi, a group exhibition that sought to describe Nairobi – the capital city. This exhibition focused on modern perceptions of womenʼs beauty and femininity in relation to hair and how “urbanized” women are increasingly wearing fake hair to enhance their beauty and femininity. It asked where this perception came from and what it means to us, both male and female. It was shown at the British Institute East Africa (BIEA) and at the Kenya National Museum. To see more of her work visit: www.wambuikamiru.comDennis Kiberu (@denniskibbz) Dennis Kiberu is a radio presenter, PR practitioner, music producer, disc jockey and photographer originating from and based in Nairobi, Kenya. He has studied Journalism and minored in Film at the Multimedia University of Kenya, with a focus on broadcast media and photography. In 2013 after finishing high school, he became a self-taught disc-jockey and went on to perform at events in Mombasa and Nairobi, where he later ventured to music production. In 2015, He was the Assistant PR Officer for the Ministry of Tourism. In the same year he ventured into commercial photography working with fashion designers, art studios, live concert performances and festivals. In 2016 he was a producer at Homeboyz Radio Kenya. Since 2016, he has been producing and presenting live a comical mid-morning Saturday show ʻSato Vybzʼ in Multimedia University Radio.

Episode #2 - Radical Listening

Season 1, Ep. 2
KMRU, a sound artist and field recordist from Nairobi (Kenya), introduces their relation to audio, sonic and vibration. KMRU speaks on ways of relating to space through sound, as sound both creates a memory of the physical presence, at the same time as it creates a map of a new land. Afterwards, we discuss Radical Listening with our guests, exploring the importance of sound in relation to architecture, writing, location, education and activism. What do we hear when we stop talking? What do we hear from others, not only people but the populous world around us? What sounds emerge, what silences, what understandings? The conversation group is composed of sound artist KMRU (Kenya), researcher Pelin Tan (Turkey), writer Michelle Angwenyi (Nairobi/Kenya), and artist/researcher and Projects Director at CAD+SR Mary Ellen Strom (US). Portions of this program were recorded at the AfroQueer podcast studios in Nairobi, Kenya.Kamaru Joseph Kamaru (KMRU), is notable for making intelligent atmospheric and emotionally evocative electronic music. KMRU works to inject a dose of experimentation and space in his music. Giving a personal touch using everything from gritty indigenous sounds to field recordings or intricate sonic landscapes.Pelin TanPelin Tan, is a researcher on methodology and field of critical spatial practices, alternative pedagogies, and conflict territories from Turkey and the 6th recipient of the Keith Haring Art&Activism. Tan, co-directed films about the future of art&society with artist Anton Vidokle.Michelle K. AngwenyiMichelle K. Angwenyi is a writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She was shortlisted for the 2018 Brunel Africa International Poetry Prize, and for the 2017 Short Story Day Africa Prize.Michelle has a chapbook, Gray Latitudes, forthcoming later this year from the African Poetry Book Fund and Akashic Books.Mary Ellen StromMary Ellen Strom is an artist, curator and educator. Her place-based, interdisciplinary artworks are produced with communities including ranchers, scientists, Indigenous Scholars, urban planners and politicians. Projects focus on environmental and social justice are exhibited in internationally.Awards include ArtPlace America, International Fulbright Scholar, National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, Artadia Fund, VIA Fund, Art Matters, Creative Capital. Strom is the Project Director for CAD+SR.