Video Slink Uganda at ArtBrussels
April 22–April 24, 2016, 11am–7pm
Preview (by invitation only): Thursday, April 21, 11am–5pm
Brussels Art Fair – Aleppo Booth
Tour & Taxis
Avenue du Port 86c
BE – 1000 Brussels
Video Halls (or “bibanda”) are often no more than small huts where viewers pay a few cents to watch pirated DVDs on diesel-powered television screens. In the majority of villages and towns, they are the only form of popular visual entertainment, reaching millions of Ugandans every month—more than television and newspapers put together. “VJs” (or “video jockeys”) translate Hollywood actions, Nollywood dramas, Bollywood musicals, cartoons, and porn into the primary local language of Luganda. Acting as translators, stand-up comedians, and carney barkers, VJs thus operate as nodes of meaning making and distribution to the bibanda.
Initiated by artist Marisa Morán Jahn and media ethnographer Paul Falzone, Video Slink Uganda began with translating and burning—”slinking”—experimental art by contemporary African diasporan artists onto bootleg DVDs, played as previews to the main film, and circulated throughout Uganda’s bootleg cinemas.
The pilot project in 2013, funded by apex art, involves VJ Junior, VJ Emmie, and VJ Jingo adapting/translating/re-interpreting the works of Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky, Rashaad Newsome with Kenya Robinson, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Kamau Patton, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Hank Willis Thomas/Terence Nance, and Saya Woolfalk.
With support from Creative Capital, Video Slink Uganda continues in 2016 onwards as a series of works reflecting upon the architecture, memes, and semiotic economy of formal and informal markets.
Video Slink Uganda at ArtBrussels 2016
Curated by Daniel Blanga-Gubbay, Teresa Gentile, and Simon Asencio Aleppo
ArtBrussels is an art fair where artwork is bought and sold as high end commodities. This year, Aleppo, a Brussels-based non-profit organization, curates a section devoted to the informal economy that includes Video Slink Uganda.
Items for sale include bootleg DVDs available and a limited edition text piece that doubles as a contract signed by all participating artists. Inverting the traditional guarantees of Western art contracts, the contract for Video Slink Uganda invites participating artists to subject their work to a process of “regeneration.” For example, one clause asks artists to acknowledge that: “It is possible and even likely that my work will be mis/translated, misquoted, misunderstood, mistreated, mocked, pirated, duplicated, derided, sold on dusty streets and crowded markets of any kind.” By inverting Western notions of authorship and control in favor of a system predicated on reinvention, adaptation, and appropriation, Video Slink Uganda exposes the innerworkings of both commodity logics.
Bibanda: Kampala’s Bootleg Cinema
April 8–May 6
Opening: Friday, April 8, 5–6pm
Exhibition at Columbia University, Avery Hall
In conjunction with the conference “Other Desires: The African City“
Curated by Mark Wasiuta, Adam Bandler, Florencia Alvarez
An exhibition by Paul Falzone and Marisa Morán Jahn of photographs, maps, and dubbing techniques that explore an architecture and cinematic viewership unique to Uganda.
Slinking Bruce Lee: Uganda, U.S., Beyond
In the 1970s, Bruce Lee’s films introduced a new brand of East Asian virility and athleticism to Americans. Today, Lee’s high-flying kick and two-inch punch continue to capture the imaginations of Ugandans and many more. Drawing inspiration from Lee’s message of counter-resistance and ability to stand in for subaltern power, Slinking Bruce Lee is an installation and performance in which a Sino-Afro-Futurist transmission station dispatches Bruce Lee-inspired experimental films to fans, past, present, and future.
Paul Falzone is a scholar, artist, award-winning media producer, and the founder/director of Peripheral Vision International, a nonprofit organization that produces and distributes human rights and advocacy media in East Africa. Falzone holds an MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.
An artist of Chinese and Ecuadorian descent, Marisa Morán Jahn is the founder/director of Studio REV-, a non-profit organization whose artwork has been presented at The White House, Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum and reviewed in ArtForum, The New York Times, CNN. A graduate of MIT, Jahn teaches at The New School.
Studio REV-: T 917 902 5396 / email@example.com