Alongside a constellation of artists, scholars and activists, I have co-developed projects in Nairobi which seek to co-represent counter-narratives of Kenyan identity. These projects, ranging from media collectives such as Slum TV (2007-) to videos projects like The Bike Gang (2015-17), testify to the ways in which young Nairobians constantly engage in changing and overlapping identities.
Nairobi Distributed is an artist book which reflects on this practice, exploring the significance of performance, Sheng (the slang of Nairobi) and Nairobi’s decentralised networks (matatus, video booths and bazes) in young Nairobians’ sense of belonging. The book considers the nature of these collaborations from the perspective of different temporalities (thoughts at the time/thoughts since) in an attempt to understand my shifting blind spots regarding the motivations of the participants, the power relationships involved and the agencies invoked.
In this context, telling stories that reveal multiple Kenyan identities is a vital political act; it chips away at a corrosive political rhetoric.
PUBLISHED BY: IWALEWABOOKS TOGETHER WITH: TWAWEZA COMMUNICATIONS DESIGNED BY: LA VILLA HERMOSA SUPPORTED BY: KUNSSTIFTUNG NRW
PUBLICATION DATE: 2023 (OCTOBER)