February 23 2023, Africa Meetup

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Africa Meetups

Date: Thursday, February 23rd

Time: 3pm SAST / 1pm UTC / 4pm EAT / 8am EST

Who: Facilitated by Mardiya & Tawanda

Where: BigBlueButton link will be shared in the following rooms on the IFF Mattermost one or two hours before the start of the meeting: Sub-Saharian Africa.

Notes: Please put notes here: https://pad.riseup.net/p/africa-meetup


For this month’s meetup we watched a Film called Deep Down Tidal by Tabita Rezaire who draws the intersection between “cosmological, spirituality, political and technological narrratives about water and its role in communications then and now”

After the film, the community shared a few observations and insights in relation to our work as technologists, in various capacities.

  • The film in the way it is put together reminded some members of the conversations on the metaverse and the future of the internet.
  • The theme of water, was particularly interesting to other community members because of how the artist draws the direct links between underwater cables how they are mapped, their routes, and our trans-atlantic slave trade roots and routes - which are very identical. They also use the telegraph to map slavery routes showing the role of communication technologies in colonial histories and dominant geo-political presents
  • Water is also used to show impact on spirituality and climate through the film. Some community members highlighted how the artist use of ‘water collects our data’ and ‘water learns’ to show histories of sank cities and ships, while explaining that when water maps it’s course, it always leaves a trace
  • The community spoke on how art in this way plays a role in our work on ‘decolonizing’ technology, and creating inclusive technology futures.
  • Some members reflected on the role of art in generative AI today, while others spoke of the climate impact of such art.
  • The community also explained that art in our work as technologists, is important to embedding a sense of inclusivity and belonging to the people it is supposedly created for, relating to the need for technologies creator to not be extractive, abstracted from community context, and created with the people it is intended for.
  • Finally, the community agreed that it was essential to also include forms of artistic expression and play throughout our work, which is a way of creating belonging.