2017 Exhibition * City Cotton Nairobi - The Powers that Be
City Cotton – The Powers that Be
I was invited for the Sensing Nairobi 2017 exhibition of the British Institute of East Africa (BIEA) in Nairobi to present the City Cotton case. Sensing Nairobi is about the current changes in Nairobi and which factors (or powers) influence these changes.
As the City Cotton story (read more about it here: http://www.rxaxlxf.net/city-cotton-nairobi-text) is still neglected by the Kenyan & foreign mainstream media due to pressure by the powerful people who have interest in the case, I willingly took up the offer for presenting the story.
I decided to make a ‘Nightmare Chamber of The Powers that Be’. As words and rational presentations can only go that far, I wanted to indulge the visitor in the subject by giving him/her a 3-dimensional experience of 2-dimensional photography.
Throughout the room are partly torn photographs hanging & lying, depicting residents in the destroyed village on the morning of the attack. The photographs are hanging in a way that a visitor has to push them away to walk through the artwork. The photographs are loosely connected, so quite often a visitor will make a photograph fall down ‘by accident’. Through this, the artwork will change over time and get destroyed by the visitors.
By walking over & destroying the photographs involuntarily, I want to confront the visitors with their own role in the narrative of the current Kenya – their ignorance, their fear and by looking away while being aware, their guilt as well.
To create an even deeper experience, I have put stroboscopes up in the room. Strobes are known to trigger certain mental & physical reactions, like epilepsy. The everyday ‘Powers that Be’ are similar to that. They can come over ordinary human beings and do severe things to them, things which can be even far worse than an epilepsy attack…