The works of 3 filmmakers we’ve highlighted on this site – Akosua Adoma Owusu, Zina Saro-Wiwa, and Terence Nance – make up part of a Kampala, Uganda exhibit titled Video Slink Uganda.
Video Halls (bibanda) are often no more than small huts where viewers pay a few cents to watch pirated DVDs on diesel-powered television screens. In the majority of villages and towns, they are the only form of popular visual entertainment, reaching millions of Ugandans every month. VJs are local performer/pirates who translate Hollywood action movies, Nollywood dramas, Bollywood musicals, and pornography into the primary local language of Luganda, acting as both translator and commentator, making jokes, providing context, and operating as nodes of distribution to the bibanda.
Organized by Marisa Jahn and Paul Falzone, Video Slink Uganda is a multi-part project of curated short-form experimental videos by contemporary African/African-American artists that will be translated by VJs and some burned onto pirated DVDs that play before the main feature film. Each of these videos appropriate and subvert mainstream cinematic tropes, using repetition, simultaneity, and the compression of time and space as a way to question customary modes of perception. By both transposing these works into a different cinematic culture and asking the VJs to translate these works into Luganda, Video Slink Uganda pronounces the asymmetry between not only image, sound, and language but between cultures.
As an aside, there was a documentary we featured that centered on these VJs, but I can’t recall the title, and searching the site didn’t yield immediate results, but I’ll keep looking.
But, yes, the works of the above 3 filmmakers will be screened and translated by VJs in bibanda, in Kampala, Uganda. I’d actually love to be there to see how the films translate or are translated.
The exhibit, presented by apexart, will take place from February 6 – March 6.