Monday, October 28, 2013

The Afronauts

In flight magazine on Arik last week reminded me that I missed this year's LagosPhoto festival, on the theme of "The Megacity and the Non-City" (which appears to have overtones of / overlaps with the Joburg Art Fair's "Phantasms of the Non-City").

It also reminded me how much I love Cristina de Middel's project The Afronauts. Originally a self-published photobook, which now runs about US$2000 on Amazon, she recently released an iPad edition. The story is she got inspired by a newspaper article on "Zambia's forgotten Space Program" (or perhaps more accurately the story itself) and went on to create a magical pseudo-documentary that blends fact and fiction, reality and fantasy. A super compelling example of an imaginary African retro-future. I think we will continue to see more work like this as younger generations re-appropriate selective aspects of Africa's postcolonial past and remix them as idealized (and sanitized) models of the genius future we wish to see.

In her words: "The images are beautiful and the story is pleasant at a first level, but it is built on the fact that nobody believes that Africa will ever reach the moon. It hides a very subtle critique to our position towards the whole continent and our prejudices." [Amazon]


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