Tabita Rezaire

New media artist Tabita Rezaire uses her “digital healing activism” to challenge existing colonial power structures through the world wide web. Rezaire’s cross-dimensional works, video-installations and exhibitions are expressions of an urge to heal an overall present disconnect as a modern phenomenon. Her work and healing strategies aim to reconnect body, uterus-mind and spirit in order to rehabilitate the repressive colonial hierarchies of the knowledge systems that define the dominant narratives of our present. Rezaire as a self-proclaimed “infinity incarnated into an agent of healing” strives to activate healing processes as a domino-effect of regenerating oneself.

In her artistic practice, Rezaire investigates anti-colonial self-healing through the power of technology. Her work navigates through the structures of power and addresses the ubiquitous matrix of coloniality and its impact on knowledge, technology, sexuality and spirituality. Abstaining from any formative boundaries, Rezaire dissects the hidden paradigms and forces a critical engagement with her own artistic means.

PREMIUM CONNECT is an HD video and PREMIUM CONNECT (REAL DEAL) is its extension as a virtual reality experience, that takes the viewer to a rendered version of Google Earth’s underwater surface. Some web users claimed to have located Atlantis on the virtual map: Strange structures that appeared to be visible from above through the surface of the water off the coast of Morocco in the online map’s visuals fueled the wildest speculations. The shapes had features of an ordered architectural structure underwater, therefore rumors were literally afloat that it in fact could be the lost Atlantis that had been located. There are five portals in the middle of Rezaire’s virtual reality, allowing the visitor to enter this African spiritual landscape between information, communication, technology and the wisdom of fortune telling.

The project PREMIUM CONNECT is an exploration of the layers between ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), African divination systems, the mushroom underworld, communication per se and quantum physical laws in order to deduce and rethink our information lines. PREMIUM CONNECT follows the idea that ICT acts as a reflection of the organic world, which can heal or intoxicate in accordance to the consumer’s and user’s behaviour, and examines the cybernetic spaces in which the organic, technological and spiritual worlds are connected. How about using these biological or esoteric systems to accelerate and strengthen the technological system of modern information processing and the necessary control? PREMIUM CONNECT overcomes the dichotomies between organism, spirit, device and investigates the spiritual connections as a network of communication and the potential of anti-colonial technologies. Rezaire implicates how – contrary to Eurocentric thinking – our information highway might have its roots in African spirituality. Actual scientific investigations relate the birth of computer science to African divination systems, such as the Ifa system of the Yoruba in East Africa, which seems to be the origin of binary mathematics, which is the basic functional principle of computer science. But how and why did this origin and knowledge disappear into oblivion, and how did it become obsolete in favour of Western achievements? Tabita Rezaire explores these questions and demonstrates the discrepancy of modern times.

Overcoming the learnt thinking patterns and prejudices, her work proposes a new kind of connectivity and lots of new potentials. The often emphasised human potential for complex communication is refuted by the observation of underground mushroom networks and their function as communication and information transmitters. This dense mesh of tiny plant structures creates a communication network and is used to share informations. In addition, a form of spatial intelligence develops. Ancient traditional cultures have known for a long time how to communicate with nature and how to transfer this knowledge. Western culture prefers to celebrate modern technologies rather than these given information databases and therefore not only praises the result of institutional violence, but continues to reproduce it to this day without considering its possible replacement by nature.

In Rezaire’s research on dynamic networks of artificial, spiritual, and biological environments, a mystic techno-consciousness entrenches itself in the politics of possibilities where it could promote a symbiosis of mind and body, and mind and technology. As an artist, Rezaire does not link her work to the viewer’s expectations, instead she simply accesses different perspectives on these themes and tries to counteract the extinction of knowledge. Conspiracies, secrecy and conscious misinformation have been a known tactic of manipulation and conditioning for centuries, affecting the welfare of our societies. While digging into healing technologies and strategies to regenerate ourselves and to understand ourselves better, the observer senses that energetic and spiritual work is fundamental to the process. Her artwork faces itself to the dominant narratives of the misconception that everything of value has originated in the West, while at the same time actually reveal a wide field of different sources and stories to the viewer. As a consequence, a level of awareness is created about how what we consider legitimate has been purposefully developed to distance us from our power and our actions. PREMIUM CONNECT is Rezaire’s contribution to a non-Western written history and dogma of its knowledge. It can be perceived as a practice of repositioning within the narratives of the past, determined to actively creating an alternative future, where the big disconnect will be healed.

PREMIUM CONNECT (REAL DEAL) was commissioned for UNREAL by NRW- Forum Düsseldorf Museum, Germany, while the video work PREMIUM CONNECT has been commissioned by Impakt @EMARE, Netherlands.

Rezaire is a founding member of the South African based creative collective NTU, half of the duo Malaxa and refers to herself as the mother of the energy house SENEB. Rezaire has shown her work internationally at the Berlin Biennale, Tate Modern London, the Museum of Modern Art Paris, MoCADA NY, The Broad, Los Angeles and at many other institutions, exhibitions and festivals. She currently lives and works in Cayenne, French Guiana.