Workshop: Digital Dropout/Abstraction – CBT and Coding for (In)visibility
28 March 2019

28 Mar, 6.30 – 8.30pm
SPACE Mare Street
Buy tickets here

How can we use technology to alleviate, not reproduce our anxieties? CBT (Coding:Braiding:Transmission) is a digital startup and performance installation combining the practices of braiding and computer coding; an experiment in digital abstraction. Recognising hair braiding as both a historical and cultural tradition that has spread throughout the African diaspora, and also an ancient, constructive technology, the project explores the potential dynamic between braiding hair and coding as a tool for sending encrypted messages, speculating the emancipatory potential of braiding in a time of mass digital surveillance. How could this model be used as a research structure and/or architecture?

Join CBT for an open session discussing the duelling histories of privacy and surveillance, the ubiquitous presence of surveillance in pop culture and the world around us, and the emancipatory potential of everyday vocabularies. How can we extend black vernacular practices in an effort towards securing futurity?

Over the course of the workshop we’ll share development footage and research influential to the project’s development. This will include encryption histories, off-grid networks, notes on privacy and alternative ways of navigating media to encourage critical practice and ways of noticing the surveillance and propagandist imagery and text that we encounter every day.

CBT is keen to push the technological complexity of the project with every iteration and wants to hear your thoughts and responses to the work. The last part of the session will be an open discussion riffing on the project’s namesake: pull requests.


CBT (c.2017) is a digital startup established by Tamar Clarke-Brown and Isaac Kariuki combining the technologies of coding and braiding. Most frequently it manifests as 'CBT: Pull Requests', a performance installation and experiment in digital activism and critical aesthetics. Using new technology, this networked salon speculates the emancipatory possibilities of braiding in the age of mass surveillance. Past presentations include Tate Galleries, Kadist Foundation (Paris), Afrotech Festival and Somerset House Studios.
Tamar Clarke-Brown is a London based artist, writer and curator. Her interdisciplinary work is focused on experimental futurisms, intimate choreographies, technology, performance and the black diaspora. Guided by an early introduction to archives, Tamar is concerned with projects that centre around sustainability, care and futurity. Tamar has worked with institutions such as Serpentine Galleries and Autograph ABP and presented at the ICA, Tate Galleries, Kadist (Paris), Bard Berlin and more. Tamar contributes to platforms including i-D, Gal-Dem and AQNB.
Isaac Kariuki is a visual artist and writer working between London and Nairobi. He is the founder and editor of Diaspora Drama, an almost biannual publication exploring creative people of colour with overarching themes of the internet and technology. His work centres on surveillance and internet culture as it relates to marginalised people and the global South. He has worked with institutions such as Tate Galleries, Kadist Paris, Kampala Biennale, BOZAR and others. He is also a contributing writer to New York Magazine and Dazed, among others.