Unpack the source code of your African Identity at the 2018 Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival

Unpack the source code of your African Identity at the 2018 Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival
Unpack the source code of your African Identity at the 2018 Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival
Unpack the source code of your African Identity at the 2018 Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival
Unpack the source code of your African Identity at the 2018 Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival

The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival, “Tap Your Afro Source Code”, has announced the line-up of its 2018 programme promising to yet again transform Johannesburg into a celebration of technology, creativity and innovation from across the African continent. The full program of activities running from 18 August to 29 September 2018, Fak’ugesi will take place at Tshimologong Precinct sharing activities in 2018 with Wits Art Museum and the Point of Order.

Dr Tegan Bristow, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival director, says that the 2018 theme ‘Tap your Afro Source Code’ centres on African visions of technology by tapping into the sources of African tradition and culture alongside technology, creativity, and innovation: “This year we are exploring how local culture can move and change the future of technology. How would you understand and unpack the source code of your African identity?”

Bristow says that the 2018 Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival will fully explore the algorithms, patterns and fractals of Africa. In digital art, music, games, virtual reality, digital makers or the way you braid your hair: “Fak’ugesi acts as a platform that brings together diverse digital and technology sectors to collaborate and share skills in digital media and technology innovation”.

A highlight in this year’s Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival programme is a large collaboration with the Wits Art Museum in an exhibition project titled Digital Imaginaries: Premonition, the second leg of a three-city project, which started with Kër Thiossane and Afropixel Festival in Dakar, Senegal in May and will conclude at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany in November 2018. The project, an initiative between social scientists and artists, imagines and critiques how globalised digital technology and systems have already, and will continue, to shape and shift African futures. The exhibition, now on at the Wits Art Museum from the 24 July to 23 September was co-curated by Bristow.

Another highlight of the 2018 programme is the expanded Fak’ugesi Digital Africa Residency. Initially focused on bringing young aspiring digital artists together from the SADC region, this year includes further collaboration with Pro Helvetia, Johannesburg to include digital artists from North Africa, South Asia and Switzerland. This extended approach will enable students to do a deep dive into the algorithms, patterns and fractals of their indigenous cultures.

Along with supporting young up-and-coming digital arts, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival will be hosting two international media artists: Marc Lee, a Swiss artist supported by Pro Helvetia and Brain House, a North American artist supported by the Watershed project. Lee will act as Resident mentor, offering open master classes and will be installing new interactive live work at the Tshimologong Precinct, while Brain House Bristow states will be joining Fak’ugesi to install new work at Tshimologong Precinct and conduct master classes. House explores the interdependent rhythms of the body, technology, and the environment. His background in both computer science and performance informs his research-based practice. Recent interests include artificial Intelligence, extractive industries, and urban rats. A collaboration between Fak’ugesi Festival & Watershed, this art/science programme, is brought to the Festival by the Centre for Water Research and Development, WITS, Brown University and Providence RI.

2018 will see the launch of the Fak’ugesi Arcade concept, announcing the start of a new era in supporting African games and gaming developers. Bristow invites the regional gaming community to discuss how the Festival can better support and help develop the game development community: “We want to better understand the needs and requirements, both as a platform and as a location for skills exchange and networking. The Fak’ugesi Arcade is partnering this year with Redbull Basement and Trace TV and will be rolled out in 2019.”

Edited by Daniëlle Kruger
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