Accepted paper:

Trending 'Sodalities': ha[r]shtag reality of 'KenyansonTwitter' (#KOT)


Boneace Chagara (Humboldt University of Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

The '#KenyansOnTwitter' ha(r)shtag, as an intervening space for subversive discourse, allows ordinary Kenyans to interrogate and transform their lived reality. These encounters yield a modern global imaginary that disrupts and (re)constitutes everyday experiences in time and beyond.

Paper long abstract:

Contemporary times have been accompanied by many radical shifts in the lived reality of Africans. A general view that many people's lives have now become more global, decentered, and even fragmented persists. Consequently, these developments have brought into question many of the traditional social-cultural orders and paradigms that informed thought in previous decades. These transformations have also been witnessed in cultural industries across the artistic spectrum, particularly in terms of the changing modes of artistic production and reception across the African continent. It stands to reason that art forms evolve as need arises for far more complex and dynamic ways of perceiving our lived reality. In that regard, the advent of new media technologies has expanded possibilities for artistic expression and reception in African societies. Indeed, artistic experience and thinking about art in general is constantly shifting in today's new media environment. Thus, new media contexts, e.g. social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, constitute the emerging 'new modes' of African contemporary expressive culture. I consider these new media contexts as 'real-time' projections of our ever-shifting sense of social-cultural experience, i.e., agency, imagination and social action. Thus, this paper explores how the "KenyansOnTwitter" ha(r)shtag (#KOT), as an intervening space for subversive discourse, enables ordinary Kenyans to interrogate and even transform their lived reality. As it shall emerge, encounters of these 'imagined selves' at the site yields a modern global imaginary that disrupts and (re)constitutes the everyday experience of ordinary Kenyans both in time and beyond it.

panel Art13
Connections and disruptions: African contemporary expressive culture in the global context