Influenced by earlier studies in anthropology, the work of KAPWANI KIWANGA often merges together fiction and historical facts. Using video, sound and performance, Kiwanga produces research-based investigations that revisit history, crafting new stories from subjective perspectives, storytelling, science fiction and popular culture.
She is also interested in different approaches to embodiment in art, and for The Institute of Things to Come she presents Afrogalattica: a trilogy project (2011–on-going), where the fictional character of an anthropologist from the future has come back to our time to tell us about the Afronaut Odyssey.
“On December 8, 2058 the United States of Africa came into being. The date was chosen to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Pan-African Conference, which took place in Accra, Ghana, in 1958. It was during this historic meeting that the then President, Kwame Nkrumah endorsed the model of a United States of Africa, which called for the federation of African States. As early as 2058, efforts were aimed at uniting various African initiatives in the field of space exploration under the umbrella of the Space Agency of the United States of Africa (extracts from the performance)”.
Kiwanga reflects on some major themes taken from her research on Afrofuturism and its role in the development of the yet-to-be-created United States of Africa Space Agency. Afrofuturism, as a philosophy, deliberately chooses the future as a site for historical action. In fact, in 1974, jazz musician Sun Ra proposed “Space Is The Place”, a spatial and temporal utopia advocating space adventure and intergalactic escape as an alternative for Africans and African Americans.
By meticulously blending vast fields of knowledge relating to Afrofuturism, historical liberation movements, and African astronomy, the artist not only undermines the authority of Western academia hegemonic discourses, but also enables us to reflect and visualize alternative history lines.
The Institute of Things to Come is a temporary research center on futurological scenarios that will occupy the project-room of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Italy. From February to September 2017, four solo exhibitions and an educational program will investigate our vision of the present by speculating about future.
The project takes inspiration from H. G. Wells’ novel, The Shape of Things to Come, where the author transforms his personal vision of the future into a fictitious historical chronicle while narrating the story of the world from 1933, year of publication, to 2106. With these premises, along with the notion of “fiction as critique”, the aim of The Institute of Things to Come is to investigate the ways we project forward our desires, fears and expectations, by training under unknown existential conditions and by imagining alternatives to what already exists.
The Institute of Things to Come has invited three artists and a duo, BEDWYR WILLIAMS, KAPWANI KIWANGA, …, LOUISE HERVÉ & CHLOÉ MAILLET to each present a work able to foreshadow possible future scenarios during four solo exhibitions. Inspired by sci-fi cinematographic techniques and academic speculations, these worst-case scenarios, mutable identities, underwater worlds and reversed political orders overlay onto familiar realities and scientific theories, affecting them to a state of precariousness.
The Institute of Things to Come is curated by Ludovica Carbotta and Valerio Del Baglivo.
Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
Via Modane, 16
10141, Torino – Italy