The History of the Personal Computer Boom in Lagos
My project examines the Surulere technology cluster that emerged during the late eighties and nineties in Lagos, Nigeria. Popular narratives of Africa’s digital technology revolution often celebrate the contemporary moment as the beginning of Nigeria’s technological history and deploy Silicon Valley as the ideological model par excellence for reading the Lagos tech ecosystem. However, as Africanist scholars working in the field of science and technology studies have shown, a rich and nuanced conception of African technology can only emerge when local epistemologies are taken as a critical point of departure in understanding the import and production of indigenous technoscientific knowledge and practices. Science and technology scholars cannot expect to make sense of African realities by solely utilizing theoretical and methodological approaches from the West; however, neither can Africanists expect to understand the complexities that presently exist on the African continent using just local knowledge. Instead, there is a critical need to draw on a repertoire of knowledge systems, histories, and cultures to examine the network of global and local relationships imbricated in the study of African technologies. Using archival research and oral interviews, this paper adopts this intricate approach in examining the Surulere technology boom that emerged during a period of severe economic recession in Nigeria. In so doing, it demonstrates that early Nigerian technology entrepreneurs navigated the uncertain economic conditions of the era by mobilizing the complex interaction of global capital, indigenous economic ideologies, technological innovation, and the African cityspace.
Supporting Counter-Memories in Community-Controlled Archives: Toward a Regenerative DH Praxis
IXeM (ImaginX en Movimiento) is a home video archive and digital archiving collective based in Tongvaar/Los Angeles. Still in its early stages of development, IXeM aims to provide tools and guidance to BIPPOC (Black, Indigenous, Palestinian, People of Color) groups and individuals in Southern California to narrate their own stories – on their own terms. Such stories serve as important counter-memories that resist and confront official versions of history.
IXeM uses a regenerative archival praxis that prioritizes coalition-building, deep caring, active listening, and transformative change to repair historical, and contemporary, wrongs. In doing so, this project embraces the principles of minimal computing, including minimizing barriers and maximizing access. In the name of collective liberation, IXeM hopes to move dominant archival practices away from the “death drive,” as theorized by Jacques Derrida in Archive Fever, and toward building regenerative partnerships with community groups and members.
As such, this multimodal presentation will reflect on community-oriented archival efforts, such as Documenting the Now and the Emergency Response Archive of Puerto Rico, as well as IXeM’s tactics, struggles, and successes in order to begin building a collaborative digital toolkit for a regenerative DH praxis. Additionally, this presentation will include a short three-minute crowdsourcing activity that will ask the audience to participate in contributing resources to this digital toolkit. The presentation will end with a five-minute reel of selected archival footage from the IXeM digital archive coupled with voice-over narrations from some of the home video owners and/or creators.
On Detour with Dinagyang Digital 360°: Delving into the Future of Philippine Dance Festivals
jemuel jr. barrera garcia
Iloilo City, Philippines’ Dinagyang Festival, a religious and cultural festival that celebrates the feast of Señor Santo Niño went virtual on January 24, 2021. Because of COVID-19 and the ensuing protocols that followed thereafter, the local government unit of Iloilo City partnered with various foundations and NGOs to put up a 360° concept in the festivity: a “360 Degrees Platform” which allowed dancers to perform in a virtual space and provided an avenue for its spectators to witness Dinagyang Festival in the homeland and across the globe. This paper aims to analyze how the digital dance presentation of Dinagyang engaged with its colonial history, the Filipino dancing bodies, and its virtual spectators. In a move that seemingly presented an alternative route for the future of engaging with Philippine dance festivals, how does one critically see through the circulation of history, memory, and remembering that may emerge from accessing a virtual cultural festival? Specifically, what post-pandemic possibilities await in the future of Philippine dance festivals when viewed through the lens of engaging with the virtual iteration of Dinagyang Digital 360°? I posit that to access a cultural event such as Dinagyang Digital 360°, an online viewer may consider the body, the performance, and the virtual as negotiated spaces of departure in one’s engagement with Philippine festivals, an arrival to the possibility of claiming these spaces as embodied acts of engaging with an Indigenous-inspired online dance festival, and a space for how decolonial futures may be imagined through engaging with virtual dance.
Enslaved: People of the Historical Slave Trade
Dean Rehberger, Daryle Williams, Walter Hawthorne
The following proposal outlines the detailed and complex infrastructure used by the project, Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade, and yet, at the same time, the complexity underwrites the development of a technical infrastructure that is highly expandable (capable of handling billions of pieces of data), flexible and open source (capable of being transferable to other similar projects), and highly sustainable and updatable (built on tools with large communities and based on standards). The heart of the project, located at Enslaved.org, equips academic researchers, K-16 students, and the general public to search over numerous databases to reconstruct the lives of individuals who were part of the historical slave trade. The project allows scholars and the general public to search and make sense of vast quantities of data, and facilitates the answering of pressing questions about the enduring legacies of black bondage. The project leverages Linked Open Data (LOD) techniques, including use of Wikibase,a graph database, and modular ontology to create an innovative and compelling centralized Hub on which to engage with historic slave trade data from a variety of sources. A graph database is highly efficient and effective at searching over billions of relationships and making connections; thus, it is ideal for working with LOD. The key is that while LOD makes large sets of data from multiple sources usable for a wide variety of applications, it does not change the original source data. In the case of Enslaved.org, each contributing project maintains the integrity of its own data.