26 March - 16 May 2022

Ars Memoriae

601 Artspace, New York, US

Date: 26 March to 16 May 2022
Opening: 25 March 2022 from 6 - 8 pm

The curators will host a discussion with South Africa-based artists Lo-Def Film Factory, who created a site-specific installation for this exhibition, on Saturday, March 26th at 2pm. Space is limited, please RSVP to info@601artspace.org

Time: Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun 13:00 - 18:00
Location: 601Artspace, 88 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002, US

Participants: Marjolijn Dijkman, Jean Katambayi Mukendi, Lo-Def Film Factory (Francois Knoetze & Amy-Louise Wilson) + Joe-Yves Salankang Sa-Ngol, Mimi Onuoha, Tabita Rezaire, Analia Saban, Suzanne Treister, Maarten Vanden Eynde.

Curatorial concept: Oulimata Gueye and Maarten Vanden Eynde

More information


For everyone's safety, visitors (age 5+) must show proof of vaccination upon arrival. KN95, or N95, or KF94 masks are required for all visitors. We will provide one if needed.

Tabita Rezaire, Sorry for Real V, 2015

Technofossil [Samsung E570] (2015), Katanga, D.R. Congo, 2015 (photo: Maarten Vanden Eynde)

At the turn of the 21st century, human civilization is increasingly shaped by machines, networks, data, artificial intelligence, financial speculation, digital traceability and the commercial exploitation of our behavior. Ars Memoriae brings together ten artists from four continents who take inspiration from technology while simultaneously questioning the mainstream history of digital technological progress, offering alternative visions and new connections and speculating on the future implications of living in a technologically augmented reality.

Lo-Def Film Factory and Joe-Yves Salankang Sa-Ngol, Mining Activity in Pre-Colonial Africa from the series The Subterranean Imprint Archive, 2021. Courtesy of the artists.

An important aim of the exhibition is to recenter the African continent within the larger historical record of technological innovations. In the mainstream narrative of digital technologies, Africa has been reduced to the role of supplying raw materials for the technological revolution happening elsewhere; Ars Memoriae challenges this limited view. Tabita Rezaire's work echoes current research that shows that computer science originated in African divination systems. Through a fantasized smart-phone conversation,  Rezaire’s Sorry For Real _Sorrow For _Land (from her larger series Sorry For Real) questions the power imbalances within the apology-forgiveness narrative and seeks to virtually capture the violent histories of slavery, colonialism, and the continued exploitation of African and Indigenous bodies, lands and knowledge. Together with Congolese researcher Joe-Yves Salankang Sa-Ngol, South African collective Lo-Def Film Factory (Francois Knoetze and Amy-Louise Wilson) engages with central and southern African archives to unearth contested histories of mineral extraction, uneven distribution, and e-waste. The result is The Subterranean Imprint Archive, which examines Africa’s role in the development of the first atomic bombs through the Shinkolobwe mine in the former Belgian Congo, the source of the uranium used for its development.

Ars Memoriae brings together a diverse selection of artworks, each addressing memory in a unique way within the framework of the history and archaeology of media. By analyzing different layers of subsequent technological inventions, much like geological strata, the works in this exhibition elucidate new relations and previously obscured correlations that tell a new story about how we got here. Together, the artists  draw a critical and alternative cartography of new media history.

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