Photo: Bankole Olúwádámilọlá
Photo: Bankole Olúwádámilọlá

We are honoered to welcome James Notin to Berlin for a 3 months stay within the Lagos-Berlin residency programme by the Goethe-Institut Nigeria together with the partners 16by16,  SAVVy Contemporary and ZK/U – Center for Art and Urbanistics.

James Notin is a Yoruba-Nigerian experimental artist and performance curator whose work investigates individuals in universal space and structure. Their works are based on the curation of public opinion and selective observation as a tool for distorting contemporary society to create a liberal space for analyzing the social structure and their politics. Assuming human societies are bordered by future anxiety and future perspectives, Notin engages systems through the lens of an outsider to open up an alternative and interactive space that enables individuals to engage in sociopolitical issues. Working as a co-curator at Tantdile Xperimenta Lab, their works also expand to performance art, photography, and interactive literature.

For their residency, James plans to work on a hyperfiction project which will create a collaborative space for the writer and reader, to co-create a dynamic literary text. This project is focused on returning the Gutenberg-created reader to an active reader. Viewing literature as a commodity, the goal of this project is to empower the possibilities of the reader in the consumption process of literature.

In Marxist argument favouring Art as a Commodity, the transactional and seemingly passive consumerism role of the reader and public has become a divisive one since the advent of the Gutenberg press and the gradual/total shift from oral literature and folklore. Seemingly is the case of algorithms and their usage in target marketing. These two cited situations of human and technology relations and the possible ways of creating an active reader are the focus of my residency period.

The focus will be on developing a nonlinear literature model, employing a chatbot model and AI possibilities to curate a data asset which allows the reader to actively create their own story, through a database similar to what exists in image generators and chatbots.