contact zones nrb


Contact Zones NRB
is a book series published in Nairobi by Goethe-Institut Kenya and Native Intelligence, Kenya
The series is edited by Nina Wichmann and Tom Odhiambo
Project Coordination: Franziska Lukas
Design: Estúdio Chocolate
Publishers: Goethe-Institut Kenya / P.O. Box 49468 – 00100 Nairobi /// Native Intelligence / Care of PAWA 254/ 2nd Floor, Africa Alliance of YMCA Building/ State House Crescent, off State House Road/ Nairobi
Printed: Dr. Cantz’sche Druckerei, Germany

Contact Zones NRB:
pays tribute to the developments that have shaped the global art world and intellectual discourse over the last decades. The centre /periphery dichotomy has been deconstructed. The global art world has become increasingly decentralised. Intellectual discourse has been internationalised. Projects of totalisation have been dethroned. There is a new contemporaneity and coevalness of multiple centres in a postcolonial constellation. It is these vistas and the interventions from the former so-called peripheries that are currently the most intriguing. One of these spaces is Nairobi, the vibrant metropolis in the East of Africa, a region that has always been a Contact Zone, buffering Southern and North Africa, linking Africa, Arabia and Asia via the Indian Ocean and connecting the North-Atlantic centres and the Global South. There is, however, a complex, and ongoing, process of renegotiating the old orders of hegemony. Mobility, presence and representation continue to be challenges for the artists from the Global South. Patterns of exclusion, reception modes blinded by exoticism, primitivist interpretations, paternalist agendas and sensationalist paradigms are still in place. In this process of perpetual negotiation, one thing has become crucial: knowledge and awareness of what is actually taking place in these multiplied centres of creativity and thinking. Contact zones, for both a global, and often even a local, audience are missing.
This series of books tries to create a contact zone using the book as a medium. Emerging from the specific perspective of Nairobi, the series is largely dedicated to the protagonists of the East African artistic, activist and intellectual scenes. Contact Zones NRB exclusively publish material that is not taken up by local or global publishers. The spectrum ranges from art projects and cultural practice to knowledge production and political interventions.

Goethe-Institut Kenya:
The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. In the cultural programs department of the Goethe-Institut Kenya, we focus on the areas of discourse, music, visual arts and film. We specialize in complex and long term aesthetic processes and multilateral projects, often connected to the international art world. It is one of our goals to make art interventions and discourse positions from Africa accessible to a global art world and also contribute to an archive of art and discourse from Africa. Publications are thus very important to us. We began the book series in 2011, and since the founding of NaI we publish the series together.

Native Intelligence:
Native Intelligence (NaI) is a Kenyan institution which aims to assert the relevance of local knowledge in the understanding of the lives of the people of Eastern Africa and Africa at large. It was established by Tom Odhiambo and Parselelo Kantai. This public company engages in research and consultancy, offers advisory services and performs other functions that are related to the production and dissemination of knowledge about Eastern Africa. It is an archive that pays attention to the regional, continental and global connectedness of the region. Its creation was in reaction to the gaping lack of a locally-informed and relevant archive, especially in the Humanities and Arts. NaI sees itself as filling this void by working with other interested individuals and organizations to research, publish, publicize and highlight knowledge of and from the region. NaI intends to realize these objectives by way of seminars, workshops, discussion forums, conferences, publication of books, occasional papers and a journal. NaI has invested in the production of a magazine dedicated to the arts, literature and culture, called The East African Review. In future, NaI hopes to become a fully-fledged research centre and think-tank, with bases in all countries of the East African Community. Native Intelligence is registered in Kenya as a trustee.
For more information click here Background information on Native Intelligence