States of Postcoloniality/Speculation
In this issue of FUSE, SPARCK (Space for Pan-African Research, Creation and Knowledge), in conversation with the Kongo Astronauts, reflects on uses of speculation as a tool for making sense of and navigating postcolonial geographies. It is the final issue in our series, States of Postcoloniality, which has ran at the rate of every other issue since fall 2011. This ambitious series, curated by outgoing FUSE Editorial Director Gina Badger, has featured Egypt, Inuit Nunangat, the Baltic region, decolonial Aesthetics in the Americas, and finally, speculative futures from Kinshasa, in the DRC.
For the purpose of this issue, postcolonial environments are defined as spaces worldwide whose present is poised on the cusp of a violent, unresolved past and a radically uncertain future. The issue takes the form of conjectural narratives and conversations around alternative ways of producing and disseminating knowledge. Individually and as a group, the contributions engage with an approach that has been at the heart of the SPARCK initiative since its inception in 2008: casting aside hierarchical notions of centre vs periphery and formal vs informal, they concentrate instead on process, movement and shifting networks.
Published as a web-exclusive issue, this will be FUSE‘s last. It consists of a collection of work from the Kinshasa-based Kongo Astronauts, as curated by Kadiatou Diallo and Dominique Malaquais of SPARCK. Its multimedia contents will be published on our website over the month of August, so stay tuned.
In a post-disciplinary funkitude, Kongo Astronauts is an attempt to move beyond the psychic ghettos that hold us fast. Its appearances, transmissions and contaminations signal a vision that is simultaneously intuitive, polysemic, multidimensional and hyperlinear, constructed to face down manifold forms of exile and unmooring. A state of consciousness modified by the inexplicable, remixable ad infinitum, Kongo Astronauts is hybrid and poetic concept. It is a navigator of cognitive dissonance that reinvents itself by the minute, transgressing physical, virtual and aesthetic frontiers to a Hip Hop beat, oscillating between past and future present.
SPARCK (Space for Pan-African Research, Creation and Knowledge) is a programme of experimental multi-disciplinary arts residencies, workshops, symposia, exhibitions, publications and performances centred on innovative, ethically driven approaches to urban space.
Kadiatou Diallo is a Cape Town based artist/ educator/ catalyst with an MA in educational psychology (Universities of Maastricht, NL and Stellenbosch, RSA) and a diploma in Fine Arts (Ruth Prowse School of Art, Cape Town). She has worked as a researcher, curriculum developer and evaluator in the NGO sector (adult education and community healthcare) with the Adult Learning Network. She has developed and facilitated a wide range of creativity workshops, using applied arts and culture as tools for processes in other areas and disciplines (for universities, conferences, NGOs and youth groups). Kadiatou served on the executive committee of the Association of Visual Arts and on the Board of Greatmore Art Studios. She is co-founder of the Cape Town based initiative, Kwa, a physical and conceptual space for imaginations.
Dominique Malaquais is a scholar and writer. Her work focuses on intersections between emergent urban cultures, global, late capitalist market forces and political and economic violence in Central Africa. She has taught extensively in the United States (Columbia and Princeton Universities, Vassar, Trinity and Sarah Lawrence Colleges) and is currently based in France, where she holds the position of Senior Researcher at CNRS – the National Science Research Centre, Paris.Dominique is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles, as well as essays, poems and short stories in English, French and Spanish. She is Associate Editor of Chimurenga magazine (South Africa) and sits on the editorial board of the journal Politique africaine (France).
Image: Cosmonaut in Kinshasa (2014). Courtesy of Kongo Astronauts with the kind assistance of Renaud Barret.