Pan African Space Station, NYC

A periodic, pop-up live radio studio, a performance and exhibition space, a research platform and living archive.

Photo by Alice Obar.

The Cape Town-based arts collective Chimurenga publishes a magazine (named for the collective) and a newspaper (The Chronic), puts on live performances and runs the Pan African Space Station (PASS),  “… a periodic, pop-up live radio studio; a performance and exhibition space; a research platform and living archive, as well as an ongoing, internet based radio station.” Per Chimurenga, the Space Station was “founded by Chimurenga in collaboration with musician and composer Neo Muyanga in 2008.” PASS takes inspiration from American musician, Sun Ra. “PASS is a machine for traveling at the speed of thought – it borrows [his] slogan ‘There are other worlds out there they never told you about’ …” Finally, “has landed in and transmitted from Johannesburg, Paris, London, New York, Lagos, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Cairo, Dakar, Mexico City and Harare featuring over 150 artists, musicians, writers, activists and more.”

In November 2015, Chimurenga brought the Pan African Space Station at Performa 15 to New York City. The session in New York City, run over multiple days, consisted of a “market” of sorts and a pop radio radio session featured (amongst others) the Brooklyn-based African Record Center/ Yoruba Book Center; artist and educator Nontsikelelo Mutiti; and poet, choreographer, and Afrosonics archivist Harmony Holiday.

As part of the installation, Africa is a Country curated three panels over the course of the weekend, covering reflections on music and migration, identity and cultural expression in photography; as well as the exchange between African and Caribbean music. All the sessions are available on our Soundcloud.

We also made a short video on the PASS installation, directed by via Alice Obar (one of editor Sean’s former students) featuring interviews with Chimurenga associate editor Stacy Hardy, artist Nontsikilelo Mutiti, and African Record Center co-owner Roger Francis. Not to mention highlights from the panel discussion, as well as some music by Lamin Fofana, Innov Gnawa, and Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa.

Watch.

Further Reading

Between two evils

After losing its parliamentary majority for the first time, the African National Congress is scrambling to form a coalition government. The options are bleak.

Heeding the call

At the 31st New York African Film Festival, young filmmakers set the stage with adventurous and varied experiments in African cinema.