Cape Town-based outfit Chimurenga occupies the Performa 15 Hub with the Chimurenga Library, which presents a multi-tiered programming platform that takes the form of a library-of-people, bringing together a broad spectrum of collaborators and literal bodies of knowledge in an improvised, pop-up library which also functions as radio studio and market. The Chimurenga Library engages trade as both the process of buying, selling, or exchanging goods or services and the practice of exchanging ideas, imaginaries, perceptions, and vocabularies.
Founded by Ntone Edjabe in 2002, Chimurenga (a Shona word that loosely translates as ‘struggle for freedom’) is at the center of vibrant new cultural projection across Africa, which includes championing new music, literature, and visual arts.
Drawing together myriad voices from across Africa, Chimurenga takes many forms, operating as an innovative platform for free ideas and political reflection about Africa by Africans. Outputs include a journal of culture, art, and politics of the same name, a quarterly broadsheet called The Chronic, The Chimurenga Library – an online resource of collected independent pan-African periodicals and personal books, and the Pan African Space Station (PASS) – an online music radio station and pop-up studio.
Through next week, we’ll occupy the Performa 15 Hub in New York with the Chimurenga Library. This multi-tiered programming platform takes the form of a library-of-people, bringing together a broad spectrum of collaborators and literal bodies of knowledge in an improvised, pop-up library which also functions as radio studio and market. The Chimurenga Library engages trade as both the process of buying, selling, or exchanging goods or services and the practice of exchanging ideas, imaginaries, perceptions, and vocabularies.
Over five days, from 11 to 15 November 2015, the Chimurenga Library hosts PASS with a live broadcasting programme of music, interviews, and events with Chimurenga collaborators in New York, including musicians, journalists, writers, curators, and filmmakers. The live broadcast studio functions amidst an installation that brings together pop-up stores that experiment with trade, informal economies, aesthetics and body language, music and spoken word, mobility and infrastructure.
Working with collaborators such as Brooklyn-based African Record Centre and Yoruba Book Center (established 1971); artist and educator Nontsikelelo Mutiti, who setups an African hair braiding salon; and poet, choreographer, and Afrosonics archivist Harmony Holiday, ideas, thinking, and debate moves fluidly between events, transactions, broadcasts, conversations, music and records, publications, archive material, services, and objects.
Bringing together existing work, research material, and areas of interest whilst at the same time expanding focal points, the project represents a moment of activation, interaction, and expansion within a mobile and complex network of geographical and organizational contexts.
Participants in the PASS program include: South African composer Neo Muyanga; Africa is a Country – a blog about media and politics; Hisham Aidi, the author of Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture; Moroccan poet Omar Berrada; Cuban-American artist and writer Coco Fusco; curator and choreographer Rashida Bumbray (in conversation with African Arts Festival in Brooklyn); poet, fiction writer, and playwright Rashidah Ismaili AbuBakr; Somali novelist Abdi Latif Ega; journalist and broadcaster Giovanni Russonello; and photographer Marilyn Nance.
Pan African Space Station
The Chimurenga Library is also presented at The Showroom in London until November 21, 2015.