Technology hackers in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Eléonore Hellio will talk about MOWOSO, a new art collective she co-created in KINSHASA with Dicoco Boketshu. What is the relationship artists and people who live in the "cité" (harsh neighbourhood) have to new media. Dicoco Boketshu and Eléonore Hellio question MIKILI* technology.

*Mikili: the western world, a certain kind of dream.




Eléonore Hellio goes back and forth between Paris, Strasbourg and Kinshasa. She also has one foot in the United States where she has been spending many years. From an early age, she experienced close encounters with personalities from the counter-culture that explored MIXED REALITIES. After studying experimental theater, her interest in transdisciplinarity and electronic arts arose in the late 80's. She started to be active in cyberspace in the beginning of the 90's when she became one of the main co-operating artist of the ELECTRONIC CAFE INTERNATIONAL network. Now, she develops open systems in different and challenging contexts mostly through network technologies and explores actively its impacts on our ways of thinking. She questions the sensorial and the aesthetic experience of telepresence and pushes it to its limits. She has explored virtual shared spaces with a transmediatic approach, that is visual arts, sound, performance, poetry and cybernetics combined. Her work culminates in installations, performances and cooperative websites. She created the NETWORK ART LAB at the Strasbourg school of visual art (ESAD) in France where she has been teaching since 1997 and is now also teaching in Kinshasa school of visual arts (ABA). She tightly links art and teaching, a process that has been present in different experimental classes and workshop she is conducting such as ESP and ART 3. Since december 2006, she has been working on different projects in Kinshasa with Dicoco Boketshu and other congolese artists with whom she co-created MOWOSO*, an art collective.

Dicoco Boketshu is a congolese artist who lives in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He co-fonded MOWOSO with Eléonore Hellio, a transmediatic art collective that focuses on different forms of network art and fields of research such as education, anthropology, ecology, etc. Dicoco Boketshu comes from a musical background. He was one of the thinker of the GHETTO KOTA OKOLA (GHETTO GO IN, GROW UP) project, an experimental space for artists and youth that he initiated with his brother BEBSON de la rue (of the street), one of the great and first Hip Hopper of Kinshasa. Together, they created TRIONYX, a band that mixes original music from Congo's equator with Raggamuffin, Rap and Hip Hop. In the past two years he started to photograph life in the street of NGBAKA, a harsh neibourghood of
Kinshasa where street children, hawkers, madmen, gangs and families from the equatorian region live. Today, he is a self-taught video artist. His video work includes clips for musicians and art outsiders such as the Batshwa pygmee collective Bokatola Ingende, the rappers bands Loi X, Oracle and Angleterre, the electrified traditional band Mabelelis, etc…

*MOWOSO means rustling in Lingala (one of the Bantoue language in RDCongo).