Artifact_012 . Brooklyn, 2017 [photo by Derek Schultz]
Year: 2016... ongoing
Team: Directors: Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde, Salome Asega | Conservators: Mala Kumar, Mariama Jalloh, Mischa Abakumova, Nicole Lloyd, Jae Pearl
Concept, Design, Technology
Iyapo Repository is a resource library that exists in a nondescript future that was founded to collect and preserve artifacts to ensure the history and legacy of people of African descent. It is named after Lilith Iyapo, a character in Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series. Lilith Iyapo is the last remaining human left to straddle two complex worlds.
The library's conservators work closely with a global team of archivists to maintain the growing collection of art and artifacts. Through a series of workshops and exhibitions, participants are invited to become archivists, conservators then work with archivists to uncover the artifacts via prototyping sessions.
The repository is comprised of four major divisions: "Manuscripts" stores the Field Notes as archived documents; "Art & Artifacts" houses unearthed artifacts; "Moving Image" holds films made about the artifacts; and "Rare Books" contains ancillary documents contextualizing the repository
Iyapo Repository and The Laundromat Project @ Bedford Stuyvesant Museum of African Art, 2016
Iyapo Repository workshop @ ICA Richmond, 2020
In 90-minute design futuring workshops, participants are asked to become Archivists and healing practitioners by providing prescriptions for the community. In the workshop, they play a card game that gets them to think of the future in different domains (ie, politics, fashion, food, health, etc). Prescriptions are recorded on manuscripts and at times roughly prototyped by participants during the workshops.
Iyapo Repository Cards, 2016
Iyapo Repository workshop @ Library of Congress, 2018
Participant prototype from Iyapo Repository workshop @ Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, 2016
Archivists (participants) fill out official Field Notes, that detail the artifacts, these documents are preserved in our Manuscript Division for further study. The Field Notes serve as blueprints for recovering, building, and restoring artifacts. Based on the archivists' drawings, conservators work tediously to preserve the artifact as it once was, so they can be exhibited in the main collection.
In addition to producing final finished artifacts, Iyapo Repository creates short films for each artifact, placing the artifact surreally in situ of the narrative. The manuscript archive is open to filmmakers to create and screen films made from artifacts and manuscripts in the collection.
Mother Radio [Artifact_111], 2017 - Color digital video (TRT 0:3:20)
Water Suit [Artifact_012], 2017 - Color digital video (TRT 0:1:56) [photo by Kearra Amaya Gopee]
The Rare Books Division features books that have inspired our process by highlighting zines and books that focus on blackness and futurity. Iyapo Repository works on getting zines and books from all over the world but tries to emphasize content related to local issues.
Included in this division is The Dead Drop Library, a series of mounted USB ports, that allow participants to insert a USB flash drive to collect a curated selection of digital materials that have influenced the project. Files range from .mp3s, .pdfs, .movs, and .jpgs.
Artifact_080, 2017 - Raspberry Pi, wood, acrylic, usb stick
Dead Drop [Artifact_080] @ August Wilson Center, 2017
Also included in the Rare Books Division is Monolith, an interactive digital library, that allows participants to email themselves a random selection of curated digital materials that have influenced the project. Files range from .mp3s, .pdfs, .movs, and .jpgs.
All content in the Iyapo Repository archive, from Manuscripts to Artifacts are open to the public to research. Iyapo Repository invites artists, scholars, and researchers to make use of the archives to create original works or re-interpret current works. We welcome remixing of all kinds whether it is rapid prototyping, virtual reality engineering, digital fabrication, installations, sound, or film.