Akwasi Bediako Afrane is a Ghanaian artist living and working in Kumasi, Ghana, whose works explore the idea of augmentation and extensions between technological gadgets and humans. He works with discarded electronic gadgets which he refers to as “amputees” that he refashions and repurposes into machines and micro-organisms described as “TRONS”. These in turn become potential platforms and media for reflection, engagement and interactions around the globe, through varied available physical and virtual platforms, allowing for experimentations in VR, AR, video, animation, and gaming technologies.
In 2021 he received the Guest Projects Digital 2021 Artist in Focus Award, an opportunity to showcase his practice across the Guest Projects, Yinka Shonibare Foundation and G.A.S. Foundation digital channels. We caught up with him recently to find out more about the developments in his professional career since working with us.
Can you tell us a bit about some of the projects you've been working on since completing your Artist in Focus?
Since the completion of the Guest Projects Digital 2021 Artist in Focus award, I have been working on a few projects. Firstly, my participation in the Driving the Human project (see video below) which had its first phase festival in October last year, Also, in February this year, I was part of the “Back to the Museum” exhibition hosted by the Museum of Science and Technology (MST) in Accra Ghana. In March I was also happy to be part of the Powerhouse Augmented Reality Exhibition hosted in both Kunst Museum Bonn (Germany) and Opoku Ware II Museum (Knust, Ghana). Finally, I was awarded the Creative Debuts Digital Artists Grant in January of this year.
How do you think your practice has evolved or grown over the last few months?
In terms of thinking and theory, my understanding and interpretation of my subject of exploration is gradually evolving. Now through my practice, I am starting to join in on conversations about Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Autonomous, etc. which initially were not a part of practical discussions. Also, I would say my practice has gained a lot of recognition over these last few months.
What's next for you, are there any exhibitions or projects we should be looking out for?
I am currently working on a game project for an exhibition (more details to come later) and will be participating in an upcoming exhibition in June which will take place in Dresden. My project for the second phase of the Driving the Human exhibition will also be made public in November in Berlin. Earlier this month, I took part in an online discussion with artist Andreas Ullrich (see video below) where I presented my practice and interrogated the possibilities of human and robot relationships, this discussion gives a great overview of both my past projects and a taster of what I'm working towards.
Akwasi Bediako Afrane was the recipient of the Guest Projects Digital 2021 Artist in Focus Award. The programme was generously supported by the British Council SSA Arts Digital Catalyst Fund and delivered in collaboration with the International Curators Forum, Foundation for Contemporary Art Ghana, Guest Artists Space Foundation and Yinka Shonibare Foundation. For more information about his work with Guest Projects Digital please click the button below.