The Spirals Series: Data, Decoloniality and Digital Affordances on the 26th of February

16 Feb 2021
16 Feb 2021


The Centre for Curating the Archive is pleased to announce the third second session of the Spirals virtual seminar series, titled 'Data, Decoloniality and Digital Affordances'. Circulating ideas about art, art practise and archival engagement between two lively, dynamic yet different global north and global south settings, the series draws Berlin based art practitioners, curators and scholars into a conversation with scholars and students based in Cape Town. 

We are excited to host the Berlin based multi-disciplinary and conceptual media artist Nora Al-Badri. Her presentation is titled “Babylonian Vision - the decolonial potential of data and technology.” Nora’s works are research-based as well as paradisciplinary and as much postcolonial as post-digital. An artist with a German-Iraqi background, she lives and works in Berlin. She is the first artist-in-residence at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology  (EPFL) and its Laboratory for Experimental Museology (eM+) in 2020. Her practice focuses on the politics and the emancipatory potential  of new technologies such as machine intelligence or data sculpting, non-human agency and transcendence. Al-Badri’s artistic material is a speculative archaeology from fossils to artefacts or performative interventions in museums and other public spaces, that respond to the inherent power structures. Find a comprehensive artist portrait of her ‘digital restitution work’ here, and a profile of her use of digital technology to disrupt heritage settings in Berlin here.  

Spirals conversations aim to surface points of alignment, divergence and patterns of circulation around shared questions and topics that include the nature of archive, archival access and representation; the place of, and human emplacement in, theories of the non-human and nature; modes of engaging colonial legacies in archival formations; material and digital affordances; disciplines and disciplinary disobedience.

This session explores intersections between knowledge production, gathering and storage in digital space and practises of representation and artistic engagement. We consider the liberatory potential of digital technology and data practises in and for heritage, archive and museum settings; what decolonial artistic engagement in digital and virtual space can look like; think through the nature of the digital object and its assumed but also undiscovered affordances; and critically consider the trappings of digital arts and archival practise.
Senior Lecturer in the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Fabian Saptouw  is our discussant. He teaches the Honours in Curatorship and Painting. His research interests include Bookmaking, Text-Image studies, the history of the printed word and the relationship of these concepts to the contemporary manifestation of the artist’s book. His PhD project entails delving into the archive as a site for meaning making through curatorial investigation. The project investigates the slippages between the archival object and its digital surrogate, with specific reference to the manuscript object.
Join us via Zoom on the 26th of February 2021 3-4:30pm (SAST) by following the Spirals Meeting link. Please circulate within your network!