last updated Jun 2024
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 sculpture, video, installation, built virtual environments, printed matter, archives, and community-participatory (un)learning. more... more...
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[Group Exhibition] Spiral Time at Smack Mellon
forthcoming Jun 2024 — Aug 2024 · Brooklyn, NY

[Residency] ACRE
Jun 2024 — Jul 2024 · Steuben, WI

[Fellowship] Digital/Electronic Arts Fellow at NYSCA/NYFA
Sep 2023 — Sep 2024 · New York, NY

[Work] 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

[Work] 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 filter: all presenting practicing speaking teaching publishing documenting

[Residency] Haystack Mountain School of Crafts
May 2024 — Jun 2024 · Deer Isle, ME

[Solo Exhibition] A litany for past suns labeled rituals / A star lit any and all possible futures: Part I (Anaglyphs) at Film at Lincoln Center
May 2024 · New York, NY

[Panel] Contemporary Artists on their Practices, Processes and Purpose at Pocoapoco
May 2024 · New York, NY

[Residency] Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA)
Apr 2024 · North Adams, MA

[Grant] Media Arts Assistance Fund (MAAF) from WaveFarm
Apr 2024 · New York, NY

[Artist Talk] Virginia Commonwealth University
Feb 2024 · Richmond, Virginia

[Class] Instruments of the Black Gooey Universe at the School for Poetic Computation
Jan 2024 — Mar 2024

[Panel] Genealogies of Sustenance: Opening Reception and Conversation at Gardiner Museum
Jan 2024 · Toronto, Canada

[Group Exhibition] Genealogies of Sustenance at Gardiner Museum
Jan 2024 — May 2024 · Toronto, Canada

[Fellowship] Post-Doctoral Project Fellow at ITP/IMA at NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Jan 2024 — May 2024 · New York, NY

[Guest Critic] Parsons, The New School
Dec 2023 · New York, NY

[Artist Talk] “Echoes in the Archive: Decoding Colonial Legacies through Sonic and Textual Intervention” at NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Dec 2023 · New York, NY

[Panel] Moderator* Software for Artists Day at Pioneer Works
Nov 2023 · Brooklyn, NY

[Publication] Editor* Software for Artists Book 3: In Poetic Coalition published by Artbook | D.A.P. & Pioneer Works Press
Nov 2023 · print

[Artist Talk] Rutgers, Mason Gross School of the Arts
Oct 2023 · New Brunswick, NJ

[Workshop] Barro, moho, manifiesto: Un otro taller de creación del mundo / Mud, mold, manifest: (An)other world-building workshop at Pocoapoco
Oct 2023 · Oaxaca, Mexico

[Panel] American Artist, Zainab Aliyu, Taylor Levy and Che-Wei Wang Explore The Black Gooey Universe presented by The Kitchen
Sep 2023 · New York, NY

[Group Exhibition] Typojanchi: The International Typography Biennale at Culture Station Seoul
Sep 2023 — Oct 2023 · Seoul, Korea

[Residency] Pocoapoco
Sep 2023 — Oct 2023 · Oaxaca, Mexico

[Group Exhibition] Electronic Café for Poetic Computation at Recess Arts
Jul 2023 — Aug 2023 · Brooklyn, NY

[Fellowship] Processing Foundation
Jun 2023 — Sep 2023 · New York, NY

[Residency] Session Artist Residency at Recess Arts
Jun 2023 — Aug 2023 · Brooklyn, NY

[Publication] "From the Sasha into the Zamani: Death as a Moment of Radical Continuity" published by Logic(s) Magazine
May 2023 · internet · print

[Solo Exhibition] From red dust to Black clay at Film at Lincoln Center
May 2023 · New York, NY

[Lecture-performance] “A morte como momento de continuidade radical / Death as a Moment of Radical Continuity” at Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research
Apr 2023 · São Paulo, Brazil

[Residency] Conscientizações Críticas Tecnológicas (Technologies of Critical Conscientization) at the Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research
Apr 2023 — May 2023 · São Paulo, Brazil

[Artist Talk] p5.js Community Salon at NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Mar 2023 · New York, NY

[Residency] Aktuelle Architektur der KulturImages (AADK Spain)
Mar 2023 · Murcia, Spain

[Group Exhibition] Linguagem Manual / Manual Language at Buinho Institute
Feb 2023 · Messejana, Portugal

[Residency] Buinho Institute
Feb 2023 · Messejana, Portugal

[Screening] "google my memories" at Microscope Gallery
Nov 2022 · New York, NY

[Residency] Advisor for the L.A.B. Residency at The Kitchen
Nov 2022 — Sep 2023 · New York, NY

[Feature] How a new guard of creatives is changing the way we engage with data on Friend of Friends
Oct 2022

[Feature] Reimagining Black Futures with Black Beyond on Cult Classic Mag
Sep 2022

[Solo Exhibition] freedom is a durational practice at the Film at Lincoln Center
May 2022 · New York, NY

[Artist Talk] p5.js Access Day
May 2022 · internet

[Class] Dark Matters: On Blackness, Surveillance and the Whiteness of the Screen at the School for Poetic Computation
Mar 2022 — May 2022 · internet

[Group Exhibition] Assembly, Alchemy, Ascension at Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery
Feb 2022 — Mar 2022 · New York, NY

[Artist Talk] WordHack at Babycastles
Feb 2022 · internet

[Fellowship] Fellow at the Future Imagination Collaboratory at NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Jan 2022 — Jun 2023 · New York, NY

[Feature] Meet black beyond, the collective centring Black femmes in the world of digital art and design on It’s Nice That
Nov 2021

[Panel] AncestryandMe: DNA Processing Kit on Montez Press Radio
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
Oct 2021 · Toronto, Canada

[Program] COCOON at the School for Poetic Computation
Jul 2021 — Aug 2021 · New York, NY

[Class] AncestryandMe: On critical approaches to DNA analysis and biometric surveillance at the School for Poetic Computation
Jul 2021 — Aug 2021 · internet

[Group Exhibition] Black Beyond: Origins
Jun 2021 — Nov 2021 · internet

[Commission] Conceptual consultation for "Shaper of God" commissioned by Kadist
Apr 2021 · internet

[Lecture-performance] "Death as a Moment of Radical Continuity” during Interweaving Poetic Code at CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile)
Apr 2021 · Hong Kong, China

[Group Exhibition] Wheaton Biennial: final_final_FINAL at the Beard and Weil Galleries
Mar 2021 — May 2021 · Norton, MA

[Publication] “Constellation self-portrait” featured in Code as Creative Medium: A Handbook for Computational Art and Design published by The MIT Press
Feb 2021 · print

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

[Publication] “Limitlessness and Limitations: Defining Dark Matters” for Are.na Annual: On Tending published by Are.na
Dec 2020 · internet · print

[Guest Critic] Parsons, The New School
May 2020 · New York, NY

[Class] Dark Matters: On Blackness, Surveillance and the Whiteness of the ScreenSchool for Poetic Computation
May 2020 — Jul 2020 · internet

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

[Group Exhibition] Curator* Seven Years of Poetic Computation (Code and Power) at the Westbeth Gallery
Jan 2020 · New York, NY

[Publication] “Imaginary Numbers: On Unjust Equations and the Negation of Blackness” distributed by Tiny Tech Zines presented at NAVEL
Aug 2019 · Los Angeles, CA · print

꩜ full cv available upon request







forging connections across temporal, geographical and ancestral boundaries A litany for past suns labeled rituals / A star lit any and all possible futures

imagining generative possibilities for holding and being beholden to each other From red dust to Black clay

exploring privacy as intimacy through print ephemera, refigured colonial sculptures, and a web-based decryption tool Pretty Good Privacy Postcards

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

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

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

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

imagining what kinds of learning and unlearning can we practice together when we defy existing models for institution-building In Poetic Coalition

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

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

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

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

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