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Mkhari
Marie-Eve
Levasseur
Zahra
Malkani
Lark
VCR
»Muntu Maxims«

Call for Web Residencies No 13

»Muntu Maxims«

The immanence of spiritual beings that permeate daily life is expressed as continuous awareness and submissions through greetings, salutations, proverbs, verbal invocations, names, songs, religious rituals and ceremonies, myths, folk tales, and fables. These often feature animals, legendary creatures, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature to convey fundamental principles contingent to a philosophy. Artists will conceive imagery that venerates other things central to life’s existence; consecrated forms that express ideas and foundations of diverse systems of thought. And how these dynamisms can be manifested in creating ideas using the digital to access and start to imagine other, different common and spiritual existences – in monumental acknowledgement of other realms of the divine from cultures around the world.

Curated by Violet Nantume — Sep 14, 2020

OPEN ARTWORKS

Call Page @ Akademie Schloss Solitude

www.akademie-solitude.de Webresidencies

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We invite artists, collectives, experts, and activists from all disciplines to dedicate themselves to an experimental publishing practice through a Web Residency. With this call, we intend to bring together different areas of spirituality from cultures all over the world, and to highlight selected examples online. The project seeks to reflect on the socio-psychological position with regard to facts or states of affairs that indicate Muntu’s dependence on other dynamisms in things, people, and the supernatural.

»A maxim is a simple and memorable guide for living – understood as a subjective principle of action.«

Our present dynamic creates room for varied images of thinking that explore different common existences. Images that venerate the idea of things being central to the existence of life; consecrated forms that express different concepts and foundations of thought and societal values.

Since time immemorial, and more specifically after the third Industrial Revolution, mobility as a notion has become an important resource that facilitates today’s Information Age – of bodies, ideas, information, and influence. Being able to move and the freedom to do so has intensified cultural and political activities toward dissolving or abandoning the solid ground of defined categories (as often excluded majority of cognitive schemas and imposed an ideal scale). Premised on the accelerated movement between places, this calls the mobile person to be a »translation-human,« that is, someone who is »translatable« across cultures in a way in which people (groups or individuals) and cultures are transformed by changing their own places in society (Young, 2003). This innately accentuates the desire to stay connected and has put continuous pressure on the idea of boundaries.

Philosophies from new and old communities offer us new parameters for fresh grounds of engagement and subsequently suggest fresh ways of »relating to« things and one another. Take for example the Baganda Ntu’ology, in which a significant element of Muntu1 (person) is »being in relation to« (Kasozi, 2011). Kasozi Mutaawe urges that Muntu is conceived as a being that is interwoven in a network of relations – whose role is not to be the pivot but a partaker, with duties to maintain ontological harmony of the various realms of the universe. The »live person« or Muntu-mulamu, in their wholeness is gauged by their constant cultivation and maintenance of a good sense of belonging to the complex multitude. This proposes fundamentals of society in which thinking is from a position of the majority (non-human included, could also be nonwestern) rather than minority (human, and could also be western). Systems led with majority thinking harbor possibilities for redistributing power, as it is ever on shifting planes and in switching positions.

»We invite artists, dancers, musicians, technologists, and audio makers to explore notions of transcendence, omniscience, and eternity to express content of spiritual concepts in form and visual matter. How can the digital be used to denote spiritual interactions?«

Due to a progressive globalized world configuration, people are becoming more relevant as »infrastructure« and it has become imperative to also consider Muntu thinking as a center – expounding on the idea of times and spaces in which man does not occupy a unique place, except that of a mere collaborator; where a Muntu’s not being in relation to other things is equivalent to not being. Muntu ceases to exist if he or she is out of relation to other Ntu’s2 (beings) namely; Bantu and Bintu (people and things). I imagine this residency as one that will draw questions from works related to the power of transmultiplicity, and to present perceptions/maxims of life reflected in the spiritual interaction of people.

Format

We accept text, performance, documentary video and fiction, 3D objects, net sculptures and installations, web archives, apps, and any other experimental mediums. Selected projects should be carried out in open-source formats that are well-documented, shareable, and consider the accessibility of its users, who may range in age, race, gender, economic class, and ability.

Juror

Violet Nantume is a curator and director at UNDER GROUND, a gallery and contemporary art space in Kampala, Uganda. She has worked as cultural producer for eight years and has had collaborations in Eastern Africa, Ghana, South Africa, and Germany.

She has curated exhibitions including Close at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa, and Indulgence at Goethe-Institut in Nairobi (both 2018); Being Her(e), Luanda (2017); Zikunta: Gale of Human, a solo show by Wasswa August Donald (2016); and Heart of Darkness; a solo show by Christian Tundula, Cast a Light on Prejudice; a photography solo by Papa Shabani, and Together We Can, an installation by Hellen Nabukenya at UNDER GROUND (2015). She curated Eroticism and Intimacy: Faces, Places and Paths in Kampala and at the 2016 FNB Art Joburg art fair in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nantume organized the first ever major art auction in Uganda in 2015. She chaired the curatorial committee of the Kampala Contemporary Art Festival in 2014.

She is currently working on a group exhibition That Those Beings Be Not Being at alpha nova & galerie futura in Berlin. The exhibition explores relation as »knowledge in motion«; a form of errant knowledge, with capacity to birth new and unexpected forms, abandoning the solid grounds of defined categories, such as the Nation, the Self, and the other. The exhibitions engages artists from Ghana and Uganda. Violet Natume is a lead researcher for an exhibition project Nnaggenda 2020 with Uganda’s living modern artist Prof. Nnaggenda X. Francis. The research takes off in Kampala, Nairobi, and Munich; three pivotal places Prof. Nnaggenda studied and practiced. The project is curated with Dr. Lydia Ouma Radoli (Kenya) and Julia Gyemant (Germany).

Nantume received a KAAD scholarship in 2017. In 2019 she earned an M.F.A. from HFBK Hamburg, in 2019, the same year she won a DAAD Prize for exceptional achievement by non-German students.

Nantume was born in Masaka. She lives and works in Kampala, Uganda.

Web Residencies

In 2016, Akademie Schloss Solitude launched the Web Residencies to encourage young talents of the international digital scene and artists from all disciplines dealing with web-based practices. ZKM has been program partner from 2017–2019. For each call, the curator selects four project proposals whose creators receive a four-week residency and 750 Euro.

Artists are invited to experiment with digital technologies and new art forms, and reflect on the topics set by the curators. Web residencies are carried out exclusively online, and the works are presented online.

Artists and students of all disciplines as well as former or current Solitude fellows may apply. There is no age limit.

Submit

The deadline is October 15, 2020 (midnight CEST).
Please write to digitalsolitude(at)akademie-solitude.de if you have any questions.

  1. Muntu is a Luganda word meaning human being/person, and is a singular for Bantu. The Baganda comprehend Muntu not only integralistic (Kasozi, p. 66) but also constantly interacting, interwoven in a network of relations with other beings.

  2. To be in relation to other Ntu’s is of such crucial importance for being of any individual Muntu. Their »not being in relation to« other Ntu’s is equivalent to their ceasing to be and eventually to not-being (Kasozi pg. 86).

  3. See F. M. Kasozi: Introduction to an African Philosophy: The Ntu’ology of the Baganda. Freiburg 2011.

  4. See J. Young: Postcolonialism. New York 2003.

Muntu Maxims key graphics by Stephan Thiel / @shifting.phases und Anne Lippert / @sinosc. Website by parmon.




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Nkhensani Mkhari

»Zibuyile Zinkisi«

Nkhensani Mkhari (re)creates a digital «power object», a meditative gesture on archiving and the excavation of precolonial history. This project draws from the imminent tension between remembering and forgetting in modern society that pours over and permeates cyberspace; given how little agency we have over how and where our information and memories are stored.

The work references and represents the thousands of artefacts; repositories of ancestral spirits which were relegated to cabinets of curiosity, storage rooms and vitrines in museums on distant shores and thousands more which were destroyed under fire under the advent of colonialism. Today the history and meaning of these objects continues to challenge Africans, anthropologists and curators alike.

3D model for Download / Print (600+ MB)

Instructions for activating the Nkisi.


Credits

Concept and Design: Nkhensani Mkhari
3D Modelling: Adilson De Oliveira

Nkhensani Mkhari is a Johannesburg-based multidisciplinary artist and curator. Their broad praxis spans photography, painting, performance art, sound design, and new media. Their artworks function as multimodal material-semiotic metaphors.

www.nkhensanimkhari.com

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Marie-Eve Levasseur

»Brewing Symbiotic Care: Feeding and Nurturing a Fungi Cyborg Feminist Future«

Marie-Eve Levasseur’s work proposes brewing symbiotic care in a brewery where plants, microorganisms (yeast), machines, and humans collaborate. The work recognizes brewsters, alewives, and other women who brew for their kin to survive, but also gather specific knowledge about plants, fungi, healing, and caring for their own bodies and those related to them. The work also examines the relationship of human beings to yeast, researching former and current rituals and looking at the power relations related to brewing and caring.

Open the Artwork required: Chrome/FF on Desktop/Laptop; no Safari

Interview with the artist

Marie-Eve Levasseur’s work deals with intimacy, interactions, and non-human ecosystems. She works with video, installation, sculpture, and 3D animation, among other techniques. The method she uses feeds from feminist science fiction and its emancipatory potential. Her projects produce speculative fabulations; imagined situations with fictive devices, extensions for human and non-human beings that open a cross-species dialogue.

The hymn to Ninkasi, one of the ancient beer goddesses, will still be sung in the future. There, she will appear as a fungi cyborg goddess and will stand for one of the first and most important symbiotic collaborations between human beings, fungi, and technologies; one that is necessary for the survival of all that lives and casts a light on how deep our mutual dependence is. The proposal consists in a 3D world, a futurist brewery where plants, microorganisms (yeast), machines, and human beings are working in symbiosis.

Marie-Eve Levasseur / Leipzig, Germany — Nov 16, 2020

The products of the mysterious, almost magical process of fermentation have accompanied people’s rituals since the beginning. Although humans did not name the single-celled fungus microorganism by its scientific name saccharomyces cerevisiae (a.k.a. brewer’s yeast), they understood the making of an entity, and they called her Ninkasi, Mbaba-Mwanna-Waresa, or Tenetet (Sumerian, Zulu, and Egyptian beer goddesses). Through an imaginary space that would take the form of short videos with text and images as a collage on a dedicated webpage, I want to make visible the unrecognized work of the brewsters, alewives, and other women who brew for their kin to survive. They also gathered specific knowledge about plants and fungi, healing and caring for their own bodies and those related to them. I also want to examine the relationship of human beings with yeast, researching former and current rituals and looking at the power relations related to brewing and caring.

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Zahra Malkani

»A garden among the flames!«

Zahra Malkani creates ephemeral imagery in an audiovisual web installation that explores divinity as a system by exploring Shivaite and Sufi healing practices in Pakistan’s delta and desert regions; ancient ecologies now ravaged by coal and dam infrastructure. The project looks at the collective healing power of nature while working across different South Asian aniconist traditions.

Open the Artwork Interview with the artist

Zahra Malkani is a multidisciplinary artist and an Assistant Professor of Practice in Communication and Design at Habib University. Her research-based art practice spans multiple media including text, video and web, and explores the politics of development, infrastructure and militarism in Pakistan. She is a co-founder with Shahana Rajani of Karachi LaJamia, an experimental pedagogical project seeking to politicise art education and explore new radical pedagogies and art practices.

My research explores healing practices in Pakistan’s delta and desert regions, ancient ecologies now ravaged by coal and dam infrastructure, where centuries of Shivaite and Sufi practices converge. Referencing Sufi cosmographic drawings and the Sri Yantras of Hindu/Buddhist traditions, I will create a series of devotional diagrams based on endangered ecological forms central to healing/mystical practice. These plants, vines, and trees are cosmic beings, apparitions of the divine in deathscapes devastated by energy infrastructures.

Zahra Malkani / Karachi, Pakistan — Nov 16, 2020

Working across different South Asian aniconist traditions, I will create dynamic, layered, and ephemeral imagery that venerates, invokes, and explores divinity as a system, as interrelation. Aniconist traditions grapple with problems and limitations of representation through the diagram form. How can the formless, immaterial spiritual/divine realm be represented in material or visual form? Visual representations of the divine threaten to make static that which is dynamic, flatten that which is deep, make singular and bounded that which is infinite and expansive. Diagrams are dynamic visualities representing duration, motion, relation. Devotional diagrams imagine divinity not as a being but as a system, a cosmic flow of relation. Creating these diagrams as an audiovisual web installation will allow for multilayered, interactive, fluid forms that explore divinity through endangered indigenous knowledge and ecology, thus envisioning other, alternative energy infrastructures latent in all being.

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..oOo..

»🤩🌗🌚🌓🤩 Virtual Moon Reverence «

Open the Artwork

..oOo.. leverages networked technology to unite people in worldwide observance of the lunar cycle. As an experimental, iterative project, the ..o0o.. website and email list will unfold over the course of one lunar year — twelve lunar months or approx 354 days.

The ..oOo.. website is accompanied by an email list announcing new and full moons. Neither the website nor the email list contain any text—accessible to speakers of all languages—instead using sound 🔊 and symbol ✔️ to denote the changing phases of the moon.

As a result of different time zones marked by the rising and setting sun, people have the perception that we exist in different (and often oppositional) relationships to time across the globe. However, the moon is in the same phase for all of earth at any given moment. By definition it is global experience, a connection to cyclical passing of ⏳⏱ ➰time➰ shared by all planetary beings.

∞🌍🌏🌎∞
🐶🐱🐭🐹🐰🦊🐻🐼🐨🐯🦁🐮🐷🐽🐸🐵🐒🐔🐧🐦🐤🐣🐥🦆🦅🦉🦇🐺🐗🐴🦄🐝🐛🦋🐌🐞🐜🦟🦗🕷🕸🦂🐢🐍🦎🦖🦕🐙🦑🦐🦞🦀🐡🐠🐟🐬🐳🐋🦈🐊🐅🐆🦓🦍🦧🐘🦛🦏🐪🐫🦒🦘🐃🐂🐄🐎🐖🐏🐑🦙🐐🦌🐕🐩🦮🐕‍🦺🐈🐓🦃🦚🦜🦢🦩🕊🐇🦝🦨🦡🦦🦥🐁🐀🐿🦔🐉🐲🌵🎄🌲🌳🌴🌱🌿☘️🍀🎍🍃🍂🍁🍄🍄🍄🐚🌾💐🌷🌹🥀🌺🌸🌼🌻
🥨

Cultures and spiritualities across the world are rich in histories of lunar observance and mysticism. New and full moon rituals foreground the feminine and cycles of travel and rest, celebration and solitude, death and rejuvenation—letting go of the last ☽cycle☾ and setting 🌱intention🌱 for the next.

..oOo.. honors these traditions and tracks the moon cycle via sound and visual metaphor. Stylized image and audio shift with the phases of the Moon, pointing to the many ways it affects animals, plants, tides, and human activity.
🌊🌊 💤🎶 ⚖️

Join the email list ↪here↩ Interview with the artist

Lark VCR explores personal, political, and social implications of an increasingly digitized and bioengineered world. VCR stands for Virtually Conflicted Reality—the state of perpetual disconnect we navigate as cognizant individuals who have no choice but to participate in systems defined by injustice.

Lark teaches courses at intersections of art, technology, and queerness at Stanford University and San José State University as a lecturer in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Project collaborators:
Sol Sarratea: 🎨💻🌙 https://solquemal.com
Sam Rowell: 🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶 https://specialcollections.radio/

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