Izinto zaBantu – Exploring Intersections between Artificial Intelligence and Bantu-Kongo Animism
Akademie Schloss Solitude, Online 30 Nov 2021 - 01 Dec 2021
This workshop explores the intersections between artificial intelligence and Bantu-Kongo animism through artist and curator Nkhensani Mkhari’s research and practice. We will explore how we can use animism as a methodology and structural framework for artistic, technological, and cultural production, citing intercultural Indigenous animistic devices from Mkhari’s artistic and curatorial projects, including »Zibuyile Zinkisi« (2020– ongoing) and the »Misava« curatorial project, among other examples. We aim to refigure our approach to Artificial Intelligence (AI) from an anthropomorphic perspective to an animist-based one. Animism holds that personhood is not exclusively attributable to humans; there are many different types of personhood. From this perspective of projected sentience, reality becomes a composite assemblage of objects with an inner life.
This workshop stems from Mkhari’s current dissertation project for The New Centre for Research and Practice, titled Jhonnie. The sci-fi novel explores peripheral futurities in a world in which African cosmogonies and ontological frameworks intersect with Western technologies such as AI.
Nkhensani Mkhari describes their work as a queer meditation on transience, aesthetic sociology, and redemptive futurologies; an abstract machine nomadically migrating through contemporary culture. Exploring individuality, collectivity, and what it means to share space. A study on migration, myth, and cultural practices of (re)memory, rooted in counteractive ways of seeing and modes of hearing.