Digital Imaginaries: Premonition

Bristow curated in collaboration between the Wits Art Museum special projects curator Fiona Rankin Smith an exhibition titled Digital Imaginaries: Premonition held at the Wits Art Museum August and September 2018. Linked talks and workshops took place in Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival 2018.

This exhibition acted as the second leg of a three-city project, which started with Kër Thiossane and Afropixel Festival in Dakar, Senegal – under the title Digital Imaginaries: Unaligned Utopia’s curated by Oulimata Gueye and Marion Louisgrand in May 2018 and culminated at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany in November 2018 in an exhibition titled Digital Imaginaries: Africa’s in Production, curated by Oulimata Gueye, Julien MacHardy and Phillip Ziegler. With Richard Rottenberg as Scientific Advisor and Bettina Korintenberg as co-curator.

The project, an initiative between social scientists and artists, imagines and critiques how globalised digital technology and systems have already, and will continue, to shape and shift African futures.

The vaguely sinister exploratory notion ‘Premonition’, in the title of the WAM exhibition, references the way in which digital data practices shift how uncertain futures are anticipated and predicted. The exhibition explores questions surrounding data, knowledge and decolonisation in a globalised information society.

Artists from South Africa and other African countries have contributed works for the exhibition across a range of contemporary digital media art forms, from video projections, interactive virtual reality and augmented reality animations. Divination objects from the Wits Art Museum collections of African art where used in a video projection and by digital arts students (taught by Dr. Bristow) exploring fractals mathematics thus activating the collection as a resource for contemporary concerns with alternative knowledge systems.

Artists included: Tabita Rezaire, Kombo Chapfika, Marcus Neustetter, Tegan Bristow, Russel Hlongwane, Alex Coehlo, Joao Roxo, Minette Vari, Francios Knoetze, Younes Baba Ali.