A rare non-exchange un-between @liberatormag and @KinteSpace

Starting with Brian Kasoro and a few others that I am literally unable to name, Liberator Magazine has been one of the most consistent supporters of what I’ve been struggling with here in the kinté space. My relatively recent appearance on Twitter as @KinteSpace has been supported most enthusiastically by @liberatormag, making my Twitter experience pleasant.

But one day I went too far.

The @liberatormag Twitter account (I do not know exactly who is posting for @liberatormag at any given time) posted a link to an educational tool around a subject near and dear to my heart. So, you can see from my archive of the non-exchange, I began to send multiple messages about this educational subject to @liberatormag. These messages were not explicitly requested by @liberatormag. I just sent them—one after another.

When I first appeared on Twitter, I engaged in this behavior with at least two (supposedly female) Twitter accounts. These accounts blocked my account immediately, based in the context (evidently) that I “assaulted” them within some patriarchal/anti-patriarchal gender-political context. I learned very quickly to non-engage with such folk and since I have been alive for decades in the United States, without being put in handcuffs once, I can non-interact with people very, very well.

But I was too comfortable with @liberatormag.

A rare non-exchange un-between @liberatormag and @KinteSpace (Twinks without links)

What I am seeing from my curated ‘Twinks’ is me tweeting directly to a Twitter account while said Twitter account does not refer to my account directly, yet appears to directing messages to it because of the coincidence of Twitter-timeline context. I then use @KinteSpace to state that I perceive what is going on and then I stop. I’m done with that exchange.

What is important for me to remember is how folks these days not speak to each other. People (and by “people” I mean adults) appear to be so “smart” or so “busy” that they don’t have the time to respectfully tell another person that their presence is not welcome. It seems (perhaps) to be based on the assumption that the person asserting themselves is supposed to know that they should not speak unless they are spoken to—which is something I thought only mothers told their children.

Or (perhaps) it is more like the boss that is too timid to fire people and they just “hope” they go away… Enough with the guessing!

You see, kids, “my world” on the Web starts with the CompuServe forum (which existed before the Web)—not the fucking nightclub. I have this old man’s habit of thinking that I can just talk to anyone in the world about any subject (in a debatably “appropriate” context) just because I am on the Internet. I think the Internet is an extension of a college campus and not the military technology that it formed its genesis.

I habitually and too often erroneously see the Internet as a tool for the free exchange of ideas. I am reminded continually that it’s more like a tool for hierarchical, monetized socialization—based on New York night-life traditions, replicated throughout the urbanizing world. (This petty clique shit is also happening in the hard-core tech world as well.)

The Internet never had people in it—and now it’s probably out of ideas as well…

The bigger picture: Twinks are better than comments!

One of the things I learned very quickly in the hard-core tech wired world is that few folks are motivated to leave comments on your Blog unless they get the feeling people other than you will see their words. So, for the most part, you have people pretending to talk to you, talking around you for the sake of the larger “community.” Jeff Atwood’s StackOverflow.com addressed this situation head on and formalized this practice with positive effect.

What Twitter also provides, as a monetizing hierarchical socializing platform, is a centralized way to talk around people on a planetary scale. When the “Black Twitter” people are not talking to me, they often say the most interesting things (because when folks are talking to me these days it is mostly, “wha?” “huh?” and other North American hep-cat interjections). So, instead of complaining (more), I can sincerely demonstrate my respect for others (while they have no respect for me—okay, that was unfair of me) by ‘curating’ their Twitter tweets into Twitter-links or Twinks.

I built a crappy Twinks-building system (for myself) that utilizes Microsoft Azure in places. I use this system to turn tweets back into old-school Blog posts by dragging and dropping a stream-of-consciousness ‘collage’ of tweets into one big glob of HTML.

To me, Twinks take a snapshot in time—an image of my composition—of the history of the social-media world. It became quite clear to me how important this work is (for me) when the Ferguson, Missouri murder scandal broke out.

Twinks may also help to answer questions my adult children may have about why their father died sad and alone with his “dogmatic” ideas.

Great Folks Found in Dakar: Moyo Okediji [@DakartBiennale]

Moyo Okediji at the Global Black Consciousness Conference, Dakar

My short but much appreciated meeting with Moyo Okediji at Hôtel Sokhamon as he attended Global Black Consciousness for DAK’ART 2014 was my only classic journalistic moment for my two weeks on the continent. I saw him, introduced myself very quickly and attempted to secure an interview. You see, modern kids, I did not even know the name Moyo Okediji—but when I looked upon him I knew he was important and relevant to what I was looking for. After the “normal” search engine session, “we” can see Dr. Okediji in detail:

Moyo Okediji was born in Lagos Nigeria. Parents moved to Ile Ife when he was two. He had his primary education in Ile Ife, and went to Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo, for his secondary school. [He] returned to Ife for his university education in 1973, and was awarded a B.A. with honors in Fine Arts in 1977, by the University of Ife. He received his MFA from the University of Benin in 1982, and returned to the University of Ife, where he became a lecturer. He founded and led the Ona Artists in Ile Ife, where he taught classes in painting, drawing, ceramics and art history. He organized several international conferences and symposia, and edited proceedings from some of these events.

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Dr. Okediji is currently Professor of Art History and Director of the Center for the Art of Africa and its Diasporas at The University of Texas at Austin.

After my equally appreciated meeting with Richard J. Powell, researching for books by Moyo Okediji is a must. This effort was fruitful! I am very much looking forward to getting my copy of The Shattered Gourd: Yoruba Forms in Twentieth-Century American Art.

What about the interview you may ask? Was it worthy of my DAK’ART press pass? The motion-picture interview is slated to appear in a documentary in production by R/Kain Blaze. Thanks very much to Dr. Okediji for taking the time.

Great folks found in Dakar: Richard J. Powell [@DakartBiennale]

Richard J. Powell at the Global Black Consciousness Conference, Dakar

Duke University is surely proud that John Spencer Bassett Professor, Richard J. Powell, is in the building. I had the privilege to meet him as he prepared for his 5/12/2014 presentation at Global Black Consciousness held at Hôtel Sokhamon.

After he briefly entertained my unsolicited opinions of Kara Walker and Basquiat, he illuminated these areas of my concern and honored me further by agreeing to be interviewed on camera about John Biggers. This recording is for a documentary in production by R/Kain Blaze. This generosity and grace will not be forgotten.

I have had the chance to take a look at richardjpowell.com and within seconds I am wanting a copy of Cutting a Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture. According to the Amazon.com book market, I would have to pay about $300 for the privilege. Ouch.

Yes, MLK Boulevard is in Dakar, Senegal

My first walk through the streets of Dakar for DAK’ART 2014 was intense. I assume most urbanism over some threshold of population density is intense like this. I was overwhelmed by it and pulled into it. I kept walking through the cacophony thinking there would be a main street with some huge Boulevard opening out into space where I could orient myself. Apart from the beaches (many of them rocky instead of sandy), there were almost no wide open spaces. One of the best was the university named after Cheikh Anta Drop. I got there by walking northward, along MLK Boulevard. It was noticeably difficult to know which street is which according to its name on a map. I talked with several officers and drivers and none of them knew the streets by these names. The most knowledgeable map readers were one working in a bookstore and another in a computer store. Most of the locals I decided to reach out to, just knew where they wanted to go spatially, outside of map literacy.

My subsequent walks through Dakar were ‘escorted’ by friendly young brothers that will eventually take me where I need to go (on foot like most local people). It is important to remember that most people in Dakar are self-governed by conservative Islamic values so (for the moment) it is clear that these youth have been motivated by my efforts to show respect, my time-agnostic attitude and the money I might spend on a street vendor they know or an item in their backpack. The ‘challenge’ for me going forward is letting them know there is not much more I can buy (after about 175 000 CFA, pronounced “cee-fah”) and I am getting better at finding my way around.

My first ‘escort’ is/was a Fulani man that is very rough around the edges, but a handful of people around town still show him respect. My second ‘escort’ has been a younger more cultured man that is a mix of Wolof and he says Fulani (this Fulani thing is important because many folks agree that I look Fulani). His name is Tafsir Diop and many, many people greet him with cheer around Dakar.

Now some pointers and remarks: it is important to remember that prices in Dakar compete with western prices (so dinner can cost 20 000 CFA); the traffic in Dakar can be frightening so taxis may be the only way; I only saw two cyclists in Dakar so far—one had a car right on his tail; I don’t recommend taking pictures of people leading their lives, like a mother combing her daughter’s hair on a street corner or a man attending to his prayers on a rug on a sidewalk—just my opinion; I ordered an international data plan from AT&T only to find it does not work on Windows phone; I download city maps with hotel WiFi to my phone; my local mobile service is Orange Senegal but I don’t use it.