“Africa in colour. A new look at live reform. Computer screens projecting the BLACKEST of blacks with noses wide, afros tall and fists clenched, holding data, holding healing. The Revolution will be televised and streamed live from Kitwe to Khartoum. Freedom in technology, freedom in movement across cyber walls. Freedom in expression and reflection.”
The internet is at the fulcrum of change within our current cultural landscapes. As mostly young, Black African people our spatialities are being transformed by access to new technologies. Through Cultural Technoscapes we have access to bounds of information moving seamlessly across physical borders, through fibre optic cables which know not the fences of any state or territory.
Technoscapes in conjunction with Mediascapes is bringing about an increased wave of Black African Cultural Flow. This flow facilitates the creation and curation of a Black Media Cyberspace for Black People, by Black People. One of the important core functions of the Black Media Cyberspace is to rewrite, archive, reiterate and distribute narratives, visuals, soundbites relevant to African people and people of the diaspora. Access to technology and sites on the internet means an easier dissemination of information, through images, videos and music, for example.
Media and its constitutive elements are necessary building blocks in the preservation and revival of independent African thought and being. Black Media Cyberspace allows room for the formation of an archive/artchive which has the ability to create a positive knowledge reproduction chain. Positive knowledge reproduction chains and thus the positive representation of black bodies arms us which a new way to rebuild and reestablish various facets of Black identity, which for centuries has been assailed from many different directions. Establishing digital spaces that educate, mobilise, represent principles of Africanness is a relevant step in materialising a new reality and new spatialities within the African continent and the wider physical spaces inhabited by diasporans.
Through the internet we have almost unlimited access to each other, regardless of geographical distance, through platforms like Instagram and Twitter. These cyber interactions yield connections and conversations which in turn broaden our perspectives and nuance our understanding of the multiple realities and manifestations of black bodies. Black minds and experiences are the greatest resources to and for each other in understanding the world and ourselves, objectively and subjectively.
A key advance that the internet has activated is the ability to mobilise great minds to educate and inform. Education is the first step towards Revolution. Over the last couple of years there has been exponential growth in the number of independent websites, blogs and online visual journals dedicated to sharing detailed and nuanced information and stories on Historical and present day narratives told through the African lens and not through the western lens which often carries bias and paints the continent with red strokes of poverty, war, famine and corruption.
Independent web based collectives, like The Kraal, OkayAfrica and SUNU Journal use platforms like Instagram as a medium to engage, educate, empower and decolonize the minds of African people through the presentation of in depth study of different facets of Africa. Our history, arts & culture, traditions & spirituality aesthetics and lifestyle all curated in one place. The work of educational platforms such as these is geared towards, adding and teaching value to its mostly Black African or Diasporan community, searching for the truth as well as spreading it. Ultimately, the goal of the platform is to be a voice for the black world as a whole, with Africa at its centre.
Another great game changer within the digital sphere is the increased access to free creative software, both from the artists’ perspective as well as the curators perspective. These easily accessed and easily self taught software play a role in the digital artchiving movement as well as the concept of digital storytelling. Virtual Reality Exhibitions serve as a good example of a digital technology which can facilitate an interactive method of digital archiving and storytelling; The internet allows a platform for the constant showcase of media produced by black bodies and a space for dialogue of Black African Art.
The internet as an unregulated space for creation and expression which centres us as black people within the frameworks of projecting our future selves, preserving our ancestors gone and relearning and rebuilding our present selves.
In the palms of our hands we hold Africa in Colour. On our laps we hold Freedom in Technology. Bound together by liquid crystals and networks of fibre optic cables we project a New Look at Live Reform.