Dzata: The Institute of Technological Consciousness is a creative research project by South African artists Russel Hlongwane, Francois Knoetze and Amy Louise Wilson. In fabricating a fictional institute and its archive, the artists explore and imagine vernacular technological practices operating across the African continent.

An intertextual conversation between the documentary and the poetic, the video series operates as an in-house media assemblage created for the preservation of the institute’s activities and ideas.

The project aims to foreground indigenous technological knowledge and to explore how science, technology and innovation are part of a long interlinked process of accumulative knowledge production which extends long into the past.

The work builds on the field of technopolitical research to formulate a multi-scalar history and future of technological creativity. Positioning the triumphs and failures of the everyday in the future-oriented technoscientific, the work unfolds the idea of development as a historical process Africans shaped.

This project was supported by the Mozilla Foundation’s 2022 Creative Media Award

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video credits

Written and Directed by:

Francois Knoetze, Russel Hlongwane + Amy Louise Wilson

A Lo-Def Film Factory & Substance Point Production

Project Advisors:

Professor Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga

Oulimata Gueye

Cinematographer + Editor: Francois Knoetze

Script Development: Russel Hlongwane, Amy Louise Wilson, Francois Knoetze

Screenplay: Amy Louise Wilson

Sound Designers + Original Composition: Gugulethu Duma (Dumama)

                                   : Caydon van Eck (b00n)

Production Design + Costume: Francois Knoetze

Drone Operator: Haroon Gunn-Salie

Collage Art: Duduetsang Lamola (blk banaana), Francois Knoetze, Amy Louise Wilson

Sound engineer and co-producer: Kerim Melik Becker (Kechou)

Percussionists : Fabiano Lima , Aduni Guedes de Oliveira

Cellist: Tsepo Pooe

Violin: Elizabeth Huehuentro 

Original compositions by Dumama supported by the Gwaetler Foundation

Assistant Editor: Peacemore Patsika

Additional Graphic Design: Ilze Wessels

Featuring performances by:

Russel Hlongwane

Duduetsang Lamola

Oupa Sibeko

Nolufefe Ntshuntshe

Indalo Stofile

Thulisa Mayalo

Jacques Lukoji

Anesu Alex

Philimon Rukodzi

Ragel Mahera

Peacemore Patsika

Nicole Goto

Gomez Bakwene

Voice-Over + Translation:

Babalwa Zimbini Makwetu

Russel Hlongwane

Elinatta Hazembe (Chichewa)

Workshop Assistant:

Babalwa Zimbini Makwetu

With thanks to:

Mozilla Foundation

Project Playground, Gugulethu

Theatre Arts Admin Collective, Cape Town

Kofi Yeboah

……to those who came before us, and for those have yet to come….

Based on the following books:

Mavhunga (2018) The Mobile Workshop: The Tsetse Fly and African Knowledge Production. MIT Press.

What do Science, Technology and Innovation mean from Africa? (2017) Ed. Mavhunga. MIT Press.

Mavhunga (2014) Transient Workspaces: Technologies of Everyday Innovation in Zimbabwe. MIT Press.

This project was supported by the Mozilla Foundation’s 2022 Creative Media Award

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