Exercises for the Imagination of a Space is a new curatorial project by Johanne Affricot, which responds to the UN 2030 Agenda's SDG 10 (Sustainable Development Goals 10 - Reducing inequality) Exercises for the Imagination of a Space is a result of GRIOTmag.com and SPAZIO GRIOT experiences, and their numerous publishing, research and programming. Since 2015, both platforms have been committed to diverse forms of artistic expression from Africa, its diasporas and beyond by centring the voices of African/Black creators, doers and makers.
Affricot has chosen to involve and seek dialogue with various African and Afro-descendant communities in Italy and in Ghana, to collectively reflect on what a space is, how space shapes certain subjectivities and bodies, and how space can be used to reduce inequality by facilitating the involvement, access and artistic/cultural production by marginalized communities.
The first exercise focused on creating a 'safe' space for conversations among Afro-descendant communities in Italy. The conversations leaned into the community's experiences with independent and institutional cultural spaces and appelead to the collective imagination that can serve as a point of departure for concrete practices that reduce inequalities.
In the second exercise, co-curated with artist and editor Billie McTernan alongside creative, photojournalist and artistic director of The Studio Accra Francis Kokoroko, Johanne Affricot engaged with Terra Alta, Limbo Accra and Asafo Black, highlighting the various practices and regenerative actions they put in place to involve and empower the community. A special feature has been dedicated to kąrî'kạchä seid'ou, whose work sparked the birth of blaxTARLINES, an experimental incubator of contemporary art and a sharing community.
The objective of this exercise, which will culminate in the publication of a zine distributed for free in some museums in Rome—Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Macro, Mattatoio—is to inspire the afrodiasporic community, counteract the sparse and stereotypical narratives about artistic and cultural production in Africa, and amplify the value of what is created within the continent.