OtherNetwork, a platform for independent art spaces

OtherNetwork – a brand new platform that connects independent art spaces through digital infrastructure – is now online. OtherNetwork provides visibility to art spaces from around the world that exist outside of mainstream institutional frameworks. The ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen project in cooperation with Cookies already includes hundreds of self-organized cultural projects that are strongly rooted in communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Since April, independent spaces initiated by artists and artists from around the world can add to the database at othernetwork.io.

OtherNetwork visualizes some of the many creative collaborations that occur organically between artists, curators and cultural producers that enable artistic programming in a variety of contexts. In addition to an extensive database, OtherNetwork features specially commissioned editorial content and lists of user-generated events, various side events held in selected partner cities around the world, and a continuation of the traveling exhibition that started at ifa Gallery Stuttgart in 2022. The platform is available on both desktop and mobile devices and was developed by an international group of collaborators responding to the cultural contexts of Accra, Johannesburg and Kinshasa.

The Internet platform

The website, working in close collaboration with OtherNetwork’s research team, was developed by Paris-based design studio F451 with developer Geoffrey Oliaro of Nairobi, and aims to automatically generate visualizations of network data for each city as it changes over time. While each individual art space is embedded in a specific context, OtherNetwork takes a fluid approach to data visualization that eschews geographic references and the limitations of traditional mapping. The platform also aims to become an active and up-to-date resource that highlights cultural programs in independent spaces around the world, allowing users to add their own listings of events.

Editorial projects

OtherNetwork commissions original editorial content that deepens understanding of independent cultural production in a variety of contexts. The first series of essays “Interdependenceis co-published in partnership with e-flux Architecture, focusing on selected projects and spaces located in urban centers in sub-Saharan Africa, including Lagos Center for Contemporary Art, Keleketla! Library, upper land, Contemporary Art Foundation – Ghana and more. Each of the texts will be republished in the language of the author’s choice, making it more accessible to the local audience. Additional content will be released in the coming months via OtherNetwork and its partner organizations, including a podcast that will build further connections among independent cultural practitioners.

Future ambitions

OtherNetwork aspires to be a research tool for curators, a networking opportunity for artists, and essentially a place where independent spaces that exist outside the main institutional framework can gain visibility. This year, the core research team will expand beyond the African continent to organize events in new cities across South America, including Santiago, Bogotá and São Paulo. As the platform and the community around it grow, OtherNetwork hopes to become a supporting tool for curators and cultural producers around the world as a primary source of funding opportunities, grants and speculative collaboration opportunities. In October 2022, ifa Gallery Stuttgart hosted the first edition of the traveling exhibition as part of OtherNetwork, bringing together the works of six artists from Accra, guest curated by the Foundation for Contemporary Art – Ghana. Later in 2023, this journey will continue in the form of a relay race to Accra before heading to several other cities around the world.