Paper: Di-Egy 0.1 Digital Arts Egypt


Conference: Di-Egy 0.1, Behind the Image & Beyond  Location: Cairo, Egypt

Paper: “Half Tiger”: A comparative interrogation of digital & mobile cultural practices in Johannesburg and Nairobi.

Planetary Collegium: 4th Update


On The Paper:

Paper for this Conference was titled: “Half Tiger”: A comparative interrogation of digital & mobile cultural practices in Johannesburg and Nairobi. The paper was based on research I had done for the PhD in Nairobi and Johannesburg. This paper focused specifically on mobile media as a low income media device (hence it’s popularity in these regions) and on how it’s mass use is defining a particular kind of visual aesthetic gowning out of mobile and low bandwidth internet use. In addition to this the paper looked at a history of public media and how the cell phone and internet access through the cell phone was shifting the perception of creatives in these regions with regard to themselves in a global media society.

The Conference:

The Di-Egy fest was the first of it’s kind in Egypt, organized by one of the Planetary Collegium candidates – Haythem Nawar. For a start it was fascinating to be in Cairo which is a deeply cosmopolitan city, it’s history is that of a place on the periphery of the Middle East that has been a refuge to many nationalities in the region during war times. For this reason it is one of the most open Islamic Countries I have ever been to. It is also working very hard, post the Arab Spring uprisings to remain that way, against the strong influence that Islam has on it’s governance and judiciary.

Highlights for me: The first was the video/animation work of And second a paper given by Galia Elsrakbi and Lauren Alexander under the name Foundland on how the Syrian Rebel Movement is using Facebook at and big budget American Style movie graphics to “market” (in essence) it’s cause. I do truely look forward to the next Di-Egy Festival not only because I am interested in how Egyptian creative practitioners start becoming more part of the festival, but because many of the issues faced in putting together the festival are issues that we face in South Africa. And I look forward to growing a synergy between Cairo and Johannesburg through these practices.


4th Update:

I presented the research made in Nariobi and Johannesburg. I began to unpack some the synergy between the two cities and some of the key themes that where beginning to emerge, as topics that could viable become part of the theory developing on African Digital and Technology Arts Practice.

The feedback was very positive at this session and what I achieved personally is identifying my role as artist not a social scientist in the collection and presentation of the research. This now gives me more perspective in how the outcomes of this research will be manifest.

Above is the diagram of the “Relationships” of people interviews in Johannesburg this far. Yellow is pure tech, Blue is Digital Arts Practitioners, Pink is in between, writers, media, advertising etc. The relationships are very disparate and unlinked, compared to Nairobi diagram below which is much has much more integrated relationships between the tech, media and digital arts sectors.






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