Nkhensani Mkhari (re)creates a digital «power object», a meditative gesture on archiving and the excavation of precolonial history.
»The more people who participate and believe in the power of a nkisi, the more power it will accrue.«
During the »Muntu Maxims« Web Residency, Nkhensani Mkhari worked on a 3D-model of a nkisi. An object that has inherent spiritual power and can be used for healing and protective processes. We want to activate the augmented reality version of »Zibuyile Zinkisi« with you.
You can use the »Zibuyile Zinkisi« AR filter and point the nkisi at a place you want to heal or prevent damage from. If you like, record a 15 second sequence, tell us in your language why you want to heal that place and share it.
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.
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.
Documentation of the contribution »Intentionality, Prophecy and Ancestry« at the live online event "Magical Cohabitations" at the Akademie Schloss Solitude on 18.03.2021. Schloss Solitude with contributions by Lark Alder aka Lark VCR, Sol Sarratea, Marie-Eve Levasseur, Shirin Fahimi, Danae Tapia, and Nkhensani Mkhari, moderated by Denise Helene Sumi.
The contribution Intentionality, Prophecy and Ancestry from the Digital Solitude program presents works from the last two Web Residency calls »Munu Maxims« and »Post Doom.« While »Muntu Maxims« intended to bring together different areas of spirituality from cultures all over the world, and suggest fresh ways of »relating to« things and one another ; »Post-Doom« asked to think of doom as a beginning rather than an end.
The presented projects all use applied-artistic digital practices and new media technologies – algorithms have been coded, 3D files and virtual online spaces have been generated – to offer connections with long-forgotten methods of prediction, various new and old rituals, and alternative methods for narration, prophecy, and knowledge-making. A bot system is used to generate cyclical autopoietic associative spaces with a divinatory character; a fictional character who represents female prophets can be animated; global users can share a digital »power object« or visit, in the virtual space, a moon altar or a speculative brewery to honor women who brew for their kin.
The artists of Molecular Minds // Monstrous Matters probe the power of a collective intelligence that reaches from the enhanced to the monstrous, the ancestral to the futurist, the molecular to the planetary, and from the human to the non-human. With creativity and visionary fuel, they unlock the digital realm as a space that comes with response-ability – the ability to respond to its architectures of power and to think with, to care for those it chooses to forget, erase, and leave behind.
With Nora Al-Badri, Johanna Bruckner, Rasheedah Phillips (Black Quantum Futurism), Jan Nikolai Nelles, Miriam Simun, Natasha Tontey
Curated by Mara-Johanna Kölmel for the program Digital Solitude by Akademie Schloss Solitude