Submission deadline: 15-01-2021
More information here.
The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the frailty of basic urban infrastructure for the majority on the African continent and elsewhere. As states continue to wrestle the spread of the virus, the restrictions placed on movement, from regimented stay-at-home orders to the mass closure of borders has led to widespread immobility. It might seem paradoxical to raise questions of mobility when the possibility and necessity of movement is so circumscribed. “As the 21st century unfolds,” Achille Mbembe writes, “a global renewed desire from both citizens and their respective states for a tighter control of mobility is evident.” Covid-19 has fast-tracked this impetus. The movement of peoples from one part of the city to another, or from one town to the next, is now heavily surveilled and recorded. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on infrastructures of mobility and its shadow, fixity: passports, borders, waiting rooms, detention centres, railway lines, checkpoints, roadblocks and patrolling police or military. Shifting focus from the emphasis placed on the regulation of movement and enclosure, we are asking what it means, literally, culturally and politically, to engage with the materiality of movement on the African continent.
An Archive of Forgetfulness
This project is an archive of mobility. Rather than understanding the archive as a direct record, we posit it as a patchy process of memory-making in itself. The archive of forgetfulness encompasses and holds acts of remembering, spectres of other possible worlds, and the hauntings of “the ruins of futures past” across temporal and spatial borders. We understand the archive as a form of crafting the past for the future, where these are not necessarily located in a linear relationship. In collating a fragmentary archive of movement, drawn from sites across the African continent, we do not aim for a whole or complete collection. Rather, we embrace the partial, momentary, and not yet complete; what might exist in the failure of memory, or what can no longer be spoken.
We are inviting contributions which focus on the things that enable us to move – literally or figuratively – trains, roads, space programmes, aeroplanes, ports, boda bodas, and many others – to question what it means to imagine living otherwise across borders.
For the website, we are inviting contributions in the form of short texts, films, photographic essays, sound pieces or video performances that respond to the theme. We also very much welcome works that are a combination of the above. The contributions might be new or existing works but should not be older than five years. (For written submissions, we are only interested in original, unpublished work. Translations may have appeared elsewhere in their original languages, but not in English.) Preference will be given to submissions from the African continent.
Selected projects that are to be exhibited (online) will receive an honorarium of R5000.