Reconstructing Memory – Harnessing storytelling and new media for liberation
This masterclass focuses on Ainslee Alem Robson’s practice of emancipatory storytelling and world building. Ainslee will provide insight into the making of “Ferenj: A Graphic Memoir in VR”, an afrosurreal experience featuring 3D reconstructions of her formative childhood memories about her biracial identity and the concept of home in diaspora between Cleveland, Ohio and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She will share her experimental process of worldbuilding including her use of gaming technology and crowd-sourced data from mobile phones, as well as her strategy of excising the “white gaze” from the narrative.
«Ferenj» had its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival in 2020 and received the Special Jury Prize ex aequo in Paris at the NewImages Festival. «Ferenj» has been exhibited at MU Hybrid Arthouse’s Worlding Worlds exhibition in Eindhoven, NL and also as part of its exhibit in Kepler’s Gardens at Ars Electronica 2020.
Ainslee Alem Robson is an award-winning Ethiopian-American director, writer and media artist. She pushes beyond reductive narratives of Africa, and her background in philosophy renders a critical approach to her emancipatory storytelling strategies. Her afrosurreal experience, Ferenj: A Graphic Memoir in VR, world premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2020. Her non-fiction writing has been published by eFlux and Guggenheim, and she is a credited artist on David Hartt’s film created for MoMA’s Reconstructions exhibition (May 2021). Ainslee deconstructs identity, hierarchy and colonial legacies using film and emerging technologies in digital art.
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ZHdK Refresh – This masterclass focuses on Ainslee Alem Robson’s practice of emancipatory storytelling and world building. Ainslee will provide insight into the making of “Ferenj: A Graphic Memoir in VR”.