Digital Art Africa blossoms
Did you know that digital art is flourishing in Africa? Up to the recent dedicated issue of MCD, Afrique Digitale (in French, sorry for our English readers) with Karen Dermineur as invited editor-in-chief, we barely managed to count five artists. Our indexes jump now to 50, out of a total of some 1800 for the whole world. South-Africa leads the continent by head and shoulders, with 21 artists, followed by Tunisia and Egypt.
This MCD issue includes a series of general reflections, mainly by African Authors. Then it dedicates its major part to the actors: artists and mediators (we do not count them in the above figures). A global map (page 6) offers a first synthesis of this definitively authoritative reference.
Does Africa offers something special in digital art? The synthesis papers insist on two aspects:
- Proposal to people practical services, useful and affordable to all.
- Importance of the collaborative work: pluridisciplinarity, cooperation of multiple talent in hybrid spaces (local and online).
Technically, that takes many artists, if not all, to practice a combination of media, with of course a large place of video and networks. So it's not without difficulty and oversimplification that we entered them in the classifications of diccan. By all means, these artists are yound, and new on the digital scene, with their first works appearing after 2005. They will certainly confirm the present trend to multimedia and transmedia, which will require new ways for classificaion of artists and genres.
Of course, as in most publications about art, biographic data tend to take more place than technical analysis. But the "portraits" take great care to present images of the works, with generally short but precise technical details, and links to websites for ulterior research.
Deeper analysis, or a possible definition of an "African touch" would require a long analytic work. And it's perhaps premature, due to the newness of these fields and the rapidly evolving situation in Africa. Anyway any comments will be appreciates on my mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paris ACM Siggraph, the French chapter of ACM Siggraph, worldwide non-profit organization of computer graphics.
Les Algoristes, an association of artists using their own algorithms in their work.