The Chimurenga Chronicle (2011)
The Chimurenga Chronicle
A once-off, one-day-only edition of a speculative, future-forward newspaper that travels back in time to re-imagine the present
On the Other Side of Time
It was Sun Ra who said it a long time ago: »Equation wise, the first thing to do is consider internal linktime as officially ended… we’ll work on the other side of time… we’ll bring them here through either isotope, internal linkteleportation, transmolecularzation…« The time was 1974 and Space was The Place. Ra was ahead of his time.
Four decades later, it is increasingly clear that time, once thought continuous, is actually marked by radical disjunctions and overlapping time-spaces. And the tools we have at our disposal, particularly in the area of knowledge production, do not help us much to grasp that which is emerging.
What we need now is a Time Machine! A device that will allow us to work »on the other side of time«, to discover possibilities for new ways thinking through the »having been and yet to come.« This is less a case of reinventing the wheel, than of finding new ways of spinning it. New ways of getting to the what-was-next? What will be previous?
The Chimurenga Chronicle (or Chronic) is such a machine. Devised and produced by Chimurenga Magazine in collaboration with two of Africa’s leading independent publishers, Kenya’s Kwani? and Nigeria’s Cassava Republic, and Swedish literary magazine Glänta, the Chronic is a once-off edition of a speculative, future-forward newspaper that travels back in time to re-imagine the present. Back-dated to the week May 11–18 2008, it reports primarily on the first week of the xenophobic violence in South Africa – and similar episodes of xenophobia such as the outbreak of »ethnic« violence in Kenya and »religious« attacks in Nigeria. The Chronic seeks to place these events within a broader context, focusing outward on the events, scenes and situations around the world during this period, to challenge the logic of emergencies that characterise the contemporary media.
An imaginary pan-African weekly that covers everything from politics, economics and life, to arts, sport, books etc, it straddles the space between fact and fiction, allowing for discreet, distinct, and possibly incommensurate accounts of the past and present, to be told in ways that deny a sense of obligation or sensationalism. A social sculpture that embraces the newspaper medium as both a rhetorical strategy and a political method, it invites its editors, its writers, artists and its readers to take it seriously as a time machine; to re-consider the past as a territory to explore, and the present as a precarious and elusive entry-point through which, hopefully, a radically different future might make its appearance.
Internal Linkteleportation & Transmolecularizing the Message
The Chronic’s launch in October will be preceded by a public art intervention in the form of a newspaper poster campaign across Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos and Göteborg, in conjunction with the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, 2011. The announcements on the posters are drawn from the content of the Chronic, and formatted into provocations by Swedish poet and Glänta co-editor Linn Hansén. Poster design is by artist Kudzinai Chiurai in collaboration with Keleketla Collective and the Chimurenga design team.
On Black Wednesday¹, October 19, the Chronic will be released and distributed on streets in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. We invite visitors to Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, 2011 to engage with the paper in the Chronic Reading Room. An intervention in both time and space, the reading room functions as a »time capsule« that suspends the normal pace and spectacle of the biennial, allowing for quiet and reflection away from the »pandemonium.«
Biography Chimurenga is a publication of writing, art and politics based in Cape Town, founded by Ntone Edjabe in March 2002. Current Chimurenga projects include Chimurenganyana, a series of low cost monographs; Chimurenga Library, an online archive of independent, pan-African periodicals from around the world; African Cities Reader, a compendium of writing and art on African cities; and Pan African Space Station, an Internet based music project, and the Pilgrimages a book series in association with the Chinua Achebe Centre for African Writers and Artists, Bard College.
Photo: Hendrik Zeitler