Neema Githere (they/she) is a guerrilla theorist and curator whose work explores love and indigeneity in a time of algorithmic debris.
Having dreamt themselves into the world via the Internet from an early age, Neema investigates digital Africanity through work that spans public lectures, performance, travel, community organizing, and image-making.
Presentism2020 is the manifestation of a series of ongoing theories, projects and relationships birthed along the way: afropresentism, radical love, #divestfrominstagram, reindigenization, and data::healing.
Selected Press: BOMB Magazine Interview x Ethel Tawe
"Ethel Tawe: You are giving language to what many of us are feeling about navigating the internet as artists, and as Black and African people. Could you share what brought you to guerrilla theorizing and genre building?
Neema Githere: I was drawn to guerrilla theory out of a fatigue of not seeing the truths I experience being represented—specifically in the academy and in more formal institutions. I’m somebody who came of age on the internet, and I’ve been very immersed in that world and the kinds of emergent cultural production that happens there. Guerrilla theory is a fugitive of all the institutions that uphold themselves as beacons of thought production." The full interview is available in print and online.
Projects & Collaborations
As Black diasporic people living in the age of Big Data, how do we navigate what Kodwo Eshun terms the “Age of Total Recall”?
Coming together as archeologists of buried histories and architects of the future’s fossils, we meet in the Present tasked with alchemizing our displacement into transcendence.
Drawing on Black diasporic technologies of improvisation and incantation, alongside frameworks of speculative/ritual design, this track will invite participants to construct interventions for the here and now. Participants in this track will leave armed with tools to express and untangle their digital enmeshment as well as reclaim a healthy relationship to time in a world increasingly governed by the fleeting waves of virality.
Togethernet is an open-source software that invites groups of 10 or fewer participants to build community archives.
Designed around the ethos of data transparency and consent, Togethernet's goal is to transform digital rights policies such as the right to be forgotten into an embodied practice through reimagining software architecture and user experience.
I served as Lead Writer for this project, developing a Code of Consent which serves as both a technical and a moral document that seeks to uncover systems of power and uncertainties embedded in network technologies.
The Feminist Tech principles are a set of guidelines for tech policy-making and technology creation. They are intended as a responsive work-in-progress that reflect the evolving nature of our digital world. The principles were drafted in a collaborative process between the team at SUPERRR Lab and a group of activists, policymakers, writers, designers, technologists, researchers and educators, that advocate for digital rights and the rights of marginalised groups.
Commissioned to create a piece around Data:Healing, I wrote a speculative fiction text envisioning the FAQ page of a Data Healing Recovery Clinic: "After three years of dedicated organising following The Great Outage of 2021, our community of data healers have succeeded in developing a program tailored to the unique needs of individuals recovering from data trauma..."
Selected Talks & Presentations
Reindigenizing Technology: Attending to Futures Keynote
Hegemonic frameworks rooted in empire have come to dominate what we perceive to be "technology". What does it look like to take a step beyond decolonization towards reindigenization in the process of re-wiring this understanding? How does designing through an ethic of Radical Love bring us closer to right-relationship with one another and the land? Using what Donna Haraway terms "situated knowledge" as a departure point, this keynote explored how centering indigenous values of care and ritual can provide a blueprint for deconstructing the machinations of colonialism.
Radical Love as Technology; Toronto Queer Film Festival Keynote
Taking the form of a multimedia love letter, this keynote draws from the work of Black feminist scholars such as Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Octavia Butler, together with disability justice theorists such as Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, to reflect upon how love makes life more survivable for people living at the margins.
Using their own relationships and matrices of support as a departure point, Neema will explore how Radical Love emerges as a technology of survival and abundance.
What does it look like for us to transform communities through a technology of love — love as a verb?
Afropresentism: From Genre to Philosophy @ Ethel's Club
Mixing theory with ethnography, this session explores the evolution of Afropresentism as a concept and practice. First defined in 2017 as “a genre fusing archival, documentary and fine arts on and through new media in the navigation of an Afrofuturist lived reality”; the term has since evolved to encompass a broader philosophy rooted in indigeneity and embodiment.
“Afropresentism is you channeling your ancestry through every technology at your disposal - meditation, conversation, love, the Web - and turning absolutely everything into a portal that takes you precisely where you need to be, in this moment, towards the next. Until finally, the space between the dream and the memory collapses into being your reality—now.”- (On Afropresentism)
Reindigenizing Technology: Experiments in Afropresentism and Data Healing at Afrotectopia Fractal Fête
Original Talking Points: Guerrilla Theory: Development of Afropresentism/Evolution from #DivestFromInstagram to Data Healing; Ritual as Code: Indigenous spirituality and its algorithmic blueprints; Nature as the original internet.
Following instances of colorism and transphobia that emerged in previous sessions of the Fractal Fête program, this talk was restructured to take the form of an experimental data healing session. The presentation began with a meditation practice held by El Zenaye and called in the work of Alexis Pauline Gumbs to investigate what restorative justice looks like within a Black radical technology community.
(Presentation Recording Forthcoming)
"Art Futures Dream Tank is a participatory workshop with Decolonize the Art World, for imagining regenerative futures for museums.
Through group discussion, Guerrilla Theorizing and speculative design, participants will name the ways we experience 'museum' and begin to tangibly dream beyond it. We will be working with facilitators brontë velez, Neema Githere, Sabrina Citra and Yaa Addae."
Unschooling/Independent Study (2017-Present)
Relevant Collectives: Radical Love Consciousness, Digital Diaspora, Data Healing
Areas of Study: Pan-Indigeneity, mutual aid, digital organizing, queer praxis
Yale University, B.A. Candidate in African Studies (2014-2018)
Activities: Actress, Heritage Theatre Ensemble; Member, Black Student Alliance at Yale; Member, Yale African Students Association; Costume Designer, Yale Drama Coalition.
Relevant Coursework: Cinema of the Black Diaspora, Embodying Story, Black British Art and Culture, Black Speculative Fictions, History of Brazil, African Encounters with Colonialism, Gender and Sexuality in a Transnational World, Beginning isiZulu
University of Cape Town, Study Abroad, African Studies (Spring 2016)
Courses: Envisioning the Body in Visual Art, Gender in Sub-Saharan Africa, Liberation Psychology.
Peking University, Global Summer Program, Beijing, China (Summer 2015)
Courses: The Silk Road, a History of Cultural and Material Exchanges, Introductory Mandarin
- Public Speaking
- Travel Consulting
The Africa Center, Portal Curator (New York, NY)
September 2018- December 2019
Shared_Studios is an international public arts collective whose lead project, PORTALS, is devoted to building "an internet you can walk through". As Portal Curator at The Africa Center, I facilitated programming aimed at employing the immersive technology of Portals to connect diaspora communities in New York City to communities across the 31 other Shared_Studios sites - from Nairobi, to Gaza.
Tastemakers Africa, Global Community Manager (Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa)
February 2017-August 2017
TastemakersAfrica is a peer-to-peer experiences marketplace connecting local insiders to curious travelers looking to see Africa beyond safaris. During my time as Global Community Manager, I co-led group trips and oversaw experiences in Kenya, South Africa and Ghana. In addition, I pioneered the Tastemakers Residency network, establishing and managing the first Tastemakers AirBnB in Nairobi.
- Spanish (Advanced)
- Portuguese (Advanced)
Commissioned to write the essay that accompanied Pierre Christophe Gam's exhibition "Sankara, The Upright Man" at the Africa Centre in London. Published in ArtAfrica Magazine.
This piece published on The Kraal, a platform dedicated to African history, culture, and spirituality, took the form of a self-interview exploring and articulating the development of Afropresentism.
With a rich precolonial history that blends Bantu, Arabic, Persian, Indian, and Southeast Asian cultures, the Lamu archipelago is the center of my research into the Swahili Coast.