articulation; African art; Uganda; Mali; Kenya; Côte d'Ivoire; urbanity; contemporary art; social space
Förster Till, Sanogo Aïdas (2019), Guest Editors’ Introduction to the Power of Performance—the Performance of Power Forum, in African Studies Review
, 62(01), 67-75.
Förster Till (2019), The Invisible Social Body: Experience and Poro Ritual in Northern Côte d’Ivoire, in African Studies Review
, 62(01), 99-119.
Siegenthaler Fiona (2018), Co-optation as an imaginative act: art-related initiatives and social space in Kampala, in Social Dynamics
, 44(3), 526-544.
Förster Till, Siegenthaler Fiona (2018), Introduction: Re-Imagining Cities in Africa, in Social Dynamics
, 44(3), 395-404.
Förster Till (2018), The unbearable lightness of African cities, in Social Dynamics
, 44(3), 405-424.
Förster Till (2018), Mirror images: mediated sociality and the presence of the future, in Visual Studies
, 33(1), 84-97.
FörsterTill, SiegenthalerFiona (2018), Re-Imagining African Cities. The Arts and Urban Politics
, Routledge, London.
Siegenthaler Fiona (2017), Kunst und sozialer Raum in afrikanischen Städten: Öffentlichkeit, Praxis und Imagination, in Regio Basilensis
, 58(3), 183-191.
Förster Till, Schlehe Judith (2017), Passages of culture: Media and mediality in African societies, in Journal of African Media Studies
, 9(1), 3-15.
Siegenthaler Fiona (2017), Aesthetic Shifts in a Transforming City: Performative Acts and Gestures in the Urban Space of Johannesburg, in Moreillon Olivier Alan Muller and Lindy Stiebel (ed.), Zurich, LIT Verlag, 73-99.
Jenni Franziska (2017), Bamako Through the Lens, in Aperture
, (227), ---.
Jenni Franziska (2017), Catalogue texts on 15 photo series, in Galerie Médina Musée National du Mali (ed.), Bureau de la coopération suisse au Mali, Bamako, 9-27.
Siegenthaler Fiona (2017), To Embrace or to Contest Urban Regeneration? Ambiguities of Artistic Practice in Contemporary Johannesburg, in Transcultural Studies
, (2), 7-39.
Förster Till (2016), Competition, Cooperation, and Creativity: The Political Economy of Workshops and Workshop Styles in Bamenda, Cameroon, in Critical Interventions
, 10(2), 154-171.
Förster Till (2016), New Markets, New Patrons: Work–Trade Relationships in a West African art market., in Forni Silvia, Steiner Christopher B. (ed.), Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 75-97.
Siegenthaler Fiona (2016), Report: Re-Imagining African Cities: The Arts and Urban Politics, in SGAS Newsletter
, (1), 27-29.
Förster Till (2015), Bild und Vorbild : Intermedialität und Prädikation in Skulptur und neuen Medien Westafrikas, in Boschung Dietrich, Vorster Christiane (ed.), Wilhelm Fink, Paderborn, 253-280.
Art practices in African cities are as diverse as urban life itself. They foster the articulation of distinct social and cultural imaginaries, addressing plural audiences. Research in African art, however, tends to either emphasize art production with a long local or regional history or art that is embedded in and speaks to the contemporary international artworld, targeting a transnational or global rather than a local audience. This division results in two separate bodies of research; anthropological and art historical. This project aims at overcoming these shortcomings by adopting a thoroughly interdisciplinary approach addressing multiple art practices and the formation of social spaces as one.Art as practice is unavoidably embedded in a social context and creates a social space. Whether this space is more local or more international or bridges the two is an open question that only empirical research can answer. Some artists embrace an activist position; others demonstrate social sensibility while still others see their art as an aesthetic intervention in public and private spaces. All these art practices may reflect social realities and in turn shape the formation of social and cultural spaces: Urban images are perceived, conceived, and lived through art and social spaces created through artistic practice. The dialectic relationship between artistic articulation and social space transgresses dichoto-mies such as private-public or local-global. At an empirical level, this project hence aims at understanding aesthetic practice and processes of artistic articulations as part of the creation and transformation of social spaces in urban Africa. Its central question is:•How does art as a part of expressive culture inform the formation of social space? This question will be examined from three complementary perspectives: 1.) How do artists aesthetically articulate images of the social within these spaces? 2.) How do these images and practices inform social imaginaries, and how do the latter inform those of the artists? 3.) What are the dialectics between social imaginaries and imageries, and their visual and performative forms of expression (pictures, films, performances, participatory art, etc.)?Our empirical approach is based on an understanding of art as social agency that un-folds in urban lifeworlds and that shapes and is shaped by the urban. Methodologically, this project thus focuses on artists, their art practices, their audiences, and the interrelation between physical sites and virtual spheres as social as well as political spaces. We will address the interaction of individual artists, artists’ associations and art practices with specific social actors, representing different social strata and groups. Therefore, we also need to examine art practices that apparently do not take place in public places but ad-dress urbanites in other, sometimes secluded social and political spaces. Based on long-term field research, the two applicants together with two PhD students will engage in a comparison of four African cities: Kampala (Uganda, Siegenthaler), Kisumu (Kenya, PhD student) in East Africa and Bamako (Mali, PhD student) and Korhogo (Côte d’Ivoire, Förster) in West Africa. The researchers start from existing contacts to artists and associations and will enlarge the scope of their inquiries as defined by specific milestones. The comparative approach will generate general knowledge about the production of social space through art in Africa and theoretical insights in how the formation of social space is related to imageries and imaginaries of the social.The project is also a network of exchange and cooperation with African artists and art institutions, including the Research Group on Visual Culture at the Institute of Social Anthropology Basel and university departments of art and anthropology at the Universities of Cocody, Bouaké, Kampala and Eldoret. PhD students will be co-supervised by advisors with a background in anthropology and art history, coming from Africa and Europe.