last updated Jan 2023
My name is Zainab “Zai” Aliyu and I'm a nigerian-american artist and cultural worker living in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn, NY). My work contextualizes the cybernetic and temporal entanglement embedded within societal dynamics to understand how all sociotechnological systems of control are interconnected, and how we are all materially implicated through time. I draw upon my body as a corporeal archive and site of ancestral memory to craft counter-narratives through built virtual environments, printed matter, video, archives, installation and community-participatory (un)learning. more... more...
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Advisor for the L.A.B. Residency at The Kitchen
since Nov 2022 · New York, NY

Fellow at the Future Imagination Collaboratory at NYU Tisch School of the Arts
since Jan 2022 · New York, NY

Directing design and creating archives for moving image and time-based media for the African Film Festival at the Film at Lincoln Center
since Feb 2020 · New York, NY

Co-directing an experimental school supporting interdisciplinary study in art, code, hardware and critical theory called the School for Poetic Computation
since Jan 2020 · New York, NY

formerly & forthcomingly filter: all presenting speaking teaching publishing

[Screening] "google my memories" at Microscrope Gallery, Curated by Yiran Xu
Nov 2022 · New York, NY

[Interview] On how we might interact with data in more liberatory ways that divest from the monopoly of big data in Friends of Friends , With Hester Underhill
Oct 2022 · Berlin, Germany

[Exhibition] Solo presentation* "freedom is a durational practice" at the Film at Lincoln Center, Curated by Dara Ojugbele, Mahen Bonetti and Farima Kone Kito
May 2022 · New York, NY

[Artist Talk] p5.js Access Day, Invited by Dorothy Santos and Qianqian Ye
May 2022 · internet

[Class] Dark Matters: on Blackness, Surveillance and the Whiteness of the Screen at the School for Poetic Computation, In collaboration with American Artist
Mar 2022 — May 2022 · internet

[Exhibition] "Affirmations for my Existence" and "Google my Memories" in Assembly, Alchemy, Ascension at Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, Curated by JAZSALYN, Shameekia Shantel Johnson, and Yvonne Mpwo
Feb 2022 — Mar 2022 · New York, NY

[Artist Talk] WordHack at Babycastles, Invited by Todd Anderson
Feb 2022 · internet

[Publication] A community resource for learning about ancestral history within the context of biometric surveillance/dna tracing technology called AncestryandMe: DNA Processing Kit presented on Montez Press Radio, In collaboration with American Artist
Nov 2021 · internet

[Lecture-performance] "Death as a Moment of Radical Continuity" during Digital Networks, Aesthetics and Black Death at Black Portraitures: Absent/ed Presence, Invited by Safia Siad
Oct 2021 · Toronto, Canada

[Program] An experimental curriculum exploring the history and poetics of math, critical approaches to biometric surveillance, the craft of reading and writing, being loving and loved online and the augmenting of reality, called COCOON at the School for Poetic Computation
Jul 2021 — Aug 2021 · New York, NY

[Class] AncestryandMe: Critical approaches to DNA analysis and biometric surveillance at the School for Poetic Computation, In collaboration with American Artist
Jul 2021 — Aug 2021 · internet

[Exhibition] "google my memories" at Black Beyond: Origins, Curated by JAZSALYN and Shameekia Shantel Johnson
Jun 2021 — Nov 2021 · internet

[Commission] Conceptual consultation for Shaper of God commissioned by Kadist, Invited by American Artist
Apr 2021 · internet

[Lecture-performance] "Death as a Moment of Radical Continuity” and the transformative processes of textile and code during Interweaving Poetic Code at CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile), Invited by Takahashi Mizuki and Bruce Li
Apr 2021 · Hong Kong, China

[Panel] Public reading of the Dictionary of Dark Matters on Montez Press Radio, In collaboration with American Artist
Jan 2021 · New York, NY

[Publication] "Affirmations for my Existence" published by Reading Machines, Curated by Tiger Dingsun
Jan 2021 · internet

[Publication] “Limitlessness and Limitations: Defining Dark Matters” a musing on mutual histories and knowledge assemblages for Are.na Annual: On Tending published by Are.na, Invited by Meg Miller
Dec 2020 · internet · print

[Class] Guest Critic for "_____ in residence" Residency at Babycastles
Dec 2020 · New York, NY

[Publication] A collaborative people's dictionary on surveillance, racial capitalism and technology called the Dictionary of Dark Matters published by School for Poetic Computation, In collaboration with American Artist
Oct 2020 · internet · print

[Publication] Revolution & Us: A Pocket Guide to Direct Action available at Printed Matter, Supported by BUFU By Us For Us and Wendy’s Subway
Jun 2020 · New York, NY · print

[Class] Guest Critic for Major Studio, MFA Design & Technology at Parsons, The New School, Invited by Fei Liu
May 2020 · New York, NY

[Class] Dark Matters: on Blackness, Surveillance and the Whiteness of the Screen, In collaboration with American Artist
May 2020 — Jul 2020 · internet

[Workshop] Dark Spirals: Schematics for Collective Sense-Making, Learning and Dreaming (001: FESTAC'77) at the The Africa Center, In collaboration with Tsige Tafasse
Feb 2020 · New York, NY

[Exhibition] Curator for "Code and Power" during Seven Years of Poetic Computation at the Westbeth Gallery
Jan 2020 · New York, NY

[Publication] Dark Matters Zine, 3rd Edition archived at the Museum of Modern Art Library, In collaboration with the School for Poetic Computation
Dec 2019 · New York, NY · print

꩜ full cv available upon request







traversing borders to fabricate an infinite, pan-African chorus of shared somatic vibrations Freedom is a Durational Practice

situating technology within a diasporic imaginary, to explore the ways in which machines can mediate the affects of displacement, human mobility and (re)settlement Google My Memories

interrogating the cultural value systems that are encoded into the objects that we build Death as a Moment of Radical Continuity

challenging established relationships between reader, text, and authorship Affirmations for my Existence

self-publishing an assemblage of knowledge on surveillance, racial capitalism and technology, established within mutual histories Dark Matters Dictionary

supporting interdisciplinary study in art, code, hardware and critical theory School for Poetic Computation

questioning the memorabilia of capitalist labor — residue from the xerox office regime that is reminiscent of the technologies that dictate the conditions of our world Dark Matters Zine 3.0

learning about ancestral history within the context of biometric surveillance/DNA tracing technology AncestryandMe: DNA Processing Kit

sharing care, strategies, wisdom, sweetness, resources, and love to support everyone affected by the coronavirus pandemic Cloud9

responding urgently against ongoing state violence, in the form of a toolkit on digital self-defense, anti-surveillance and direct action care Revolution & Us

foregrounding film as a conduit for diaspora reconnection with radical potential African Film Festival

unpacking the notion of creeping normality to reflect upon perennial social and environmental degradation Erode: On Creeping Normality

critiquing the corrosive cycle of consumption and rejecting the affordances of friction-free exchange Vestige

Leveraging spatial storytelling to examine the effects of systemic loss on the identity of a community Hazelwood Memorial

analyzing notions of identity and presentation of self in physical realms and virtual contexts Dog Cat Fish