Meet the 2019 Electric South Immersive Media Lab Artists

Electric South
7 min readAug 16, 2019

The lab brings together artists and advisors who convene to explore new frontiers of digital storytelling.

We’re excited to introduce the 10 artists selected for the annual Electric South Immersive Media Lab. Now in its 4th year, the Lab is a unique retreat which brings together diverse African artists and leading industry advisors to explore new frontiers of storytelling, such as VR, AR, 360 films, interactive worlds, animation, artificial intelligence, projection mapping, hybrid forms, and beyond.

Our latest cohort of artists come from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan and Zimbabwe. They work in diverse fields spanning architecture, audio/visual art, digital media, animation, photography, design, academia and filmmaking. They all share a curious attitude and an inclination to tinker.

Some of our participants from previous workshops have gone on to make award-winning VR films produced by Electric South. “Le Lac”, an immersive experience born out of the 2017 Lab and created by alum Nyasha Kadandara, won the Best Digital Narrative Award in the 2019 Alternate Realities exhibition programme at Sheffield Doc/Fest. “Nairobi Berries” by 2015 alum Ng’endo Mukii, was the Grand Prix winner at Encounters Film Festival, Bristol, UK.

Meet the 2019 Electric South Immersive Media Lab Artists:

Abdalsalam Alhaj — Sudan

Abdalsalam is a visual storyteller and digital media specialist based in Sudan. Inspired by Pan-Africanism, his work puts a spotlight on stories often overlooked by mainstream media; treasures the local, evokes the passage of time, questions the attitudes, fears and unwritten rules which have formed environments and human behaviour within it. His goal is to open unexplored places and places of curious self-expression while building a world of new relationships. Follow his work.

Aike Akhigbe — Nigeria

Aike is a designer based in Lagos working at the intersection of media technology and spatial design to create interactive experiences and narrative environments. Through the integration of digital technology in physical space, she is interested in giving invisible phenomena such as data, language and social constructs tangible form, employing experiential storytelling to explore complex socio-spatial narratives. Seeing the increasing convergence of interaction design and architecture, her focus has shifted to experience design.

Awuor Onyango — Kenya

Awuor is a Nairobi based writer and multidisciplinary artist trained in English, French laws, Fine Art and Film. Her practice is concerned with (re)claiming public space erased/appropriated and or disallowed to people considered black, femme and other, whether the “space” is intellectual, physical, in memory or historical. Her multidisciplinary approach is rooted in the ephemeral, interactive and lived art traditions of East Africa, in which the seeking is supreme and the art object merely evidence of the seeking. Follow her work.

Ayọ̀ Akínwándé — Nigeria

Ayọ̀ is an artist, curator, and writer based in Lagos, Nigeria. With an architectural background, his practice is multi-disciplinary, working across lens-based media, installation, sound, and performance. He explores power dynamics, the relationship between the “powerful” and the “powerless,” as it manifests in the multi-faceted layers of human reality.
A Fonderie Darling’s 2019 Place Publique residency prize awardee, Ayọ̀ has exhibited in solo, and group exhibitions across Africa, and beyond. Follow his work.

Ayodele Arigbabu — Nigeria

Ayodele is a writer, architect and creative technologist. He has worked in different capacities in publishing; on projects that straddle architecture and urbanism, and on projects that are driven by digital technology and storytelling. He is the publisher and editor of LAGOS_2060, an anthology of science fiction. He is also the founding director of Design & Applied Digital Arts Studios, where his practice in design, the arts and digital technologies find convergence.

Etinosa Yvonne — Nigeria

Etinosa is a self-taught documentary photographer from Benin city, Nigeria. She considers photography to be a medium of expression and a
tool to drive social change. Etinosa leverages on the power of visual storytelling to create awareness, educate and inform people about causes and issues she is passionate about. In 2018, she received grants from Women Photograph and National Geographic in partnership with Lagos Photo Festival for her project; “It’s All In My Head”. Follow her work.

Francois Knoetze — South Africa

Francois is a Cape Town-based performance artist, sculptor and filmmaker known for his sculptural suits and experimental video art. His work incorporates video, performance and sculpture, as he retraces the life cycles of discarded objects and explores junctures between material and social histories. In his Mongo* sculptural suits, the synthetic is welded to the human — bringing focus to the objectification of persons, through the personification of objects. Follow his work.

Hakeem Adam — Ghana

Hakeem Adam is a Ghanaian artist-in-learning, and a freelance arts and culture writer exploring the power of narrative, transmitted through
various creative outlets including poetry, creative writing, photography,
video art and sound design. He is also the founder and creative director of DANDANO, a Pan-African cultural platform for African film and music
criticism and documentation. His work is fixated on broadcasting ideas that help our collective investigation of themes such as identity, emotion, politics and freedom. Hakeem’s current practice involves developing a methodology for employing sound as the predominant narrative device in video art. Follow his work.

Joshua Chiundiza — Zimbabwe

Joshua is an audio/visual artist from Zimbabwe, where he works from his Husikisiki studio in Harare. His work explores the sonic, visual and spiritual aspects of his Chewa, Shona and Nguni heritage, using the mediums of music/sound, video and performance installation. He is also co-founder of The Monkey Nuts, a piece of experimental music and art collective also based in Harare. In August 2018 he was an artist-in-resident at the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Residency in Johannesburg, producing work exhibited at the Wits University Point of Order project space. Follow his work.

Melisa Achoko Allela — Kenya

Melisa is an Interactive Media lecturer, illustrator, independent animator, doctoral student and eLearning specialist based in Nairobi, Kenya. Her creative work explores the interdisciplinary implications as well as future research prospects on the convergence of experimental animation and emerging technologies that push the boundaries of artistic and scientific practice in Interactive Media. Her current focus is on how such technologies can be used to digitize works of African orature and therefore contribute to the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. Follow her work.

The 2019 Electric South Immersive Media Lab will take place near Cape Town, South Africa in November. The lab is made possible through the generous support of the Ford Foundation and Bertha Foundation.

About Electric South

Virtual Reality, 3D Printing, Artificial Intelligence, Bio-Hacking, and beyond: tools that artists can use for creative expression are expanding and evolving. We believe that these new technologies must open up spaces for original voices and underrepresented narratives. This urgent need to showcase African stories in the medium of today inspired a 21st century production studio: Electric South.

Founded in 2015, we are a registered non-profit company based in Cape Town, South Africa and operating across the African continent. We are involved in the production of daring and urgent stories around African experiences; in building audiences and exhibition models for these stories in the local sector; and in the skills development required to advance a robust ecosystem of coopetition.

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Electric South

Funding, incubating and exhibiting the work of African creators - focused on innovative digital visual storytelling, VR, mobile and non-fiction.