2nd Floor, 138 Jan Smuts Avenue Parkwood Johannesburg South Africa, 2000

Johannesburg: 26.1497° S, 28.0342° E London: 51.5072° N, 0.1276°

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As a space for sorting and processing, the African Post Office brings together different ‘posts’ from across the continent and the larger lagoon of Venice. It is a project that develops an inter- continental bureaucratic apparatus which uses the technology of the post. It operates in two dimensions: as a spatial intervention of thepost as a pole, and the infrastructural mechanism of a postal network, that considers routes of prior passage. Experienced both visually as precisely measured markers, and aurally, a language and related index of the ‘post’ is developed, building on the logic of minarets and totems, two socio- cultural technologies with far-reaching African influence. The field of posts of various thicknesses and heights have individual markings and attachments. Some hold flags of nations that no longer exist, and others are simply attachment points awaiting to be moored.

By marking out a point and then inscribing and elevating a speaker or flag upon it, a project emerges that orchestrates space and social relations. This work builds on our work in the Maqam, an Arabic word that defines a musical scale and a physical space for gathering. The filmic accompaniment indicates the distant landscapes and territories to which each of the posts refers, collapsing the present physicality of the space with other times and places that are gathered here. In this moment, the single post is used as a modest unit of power to radically reorganise passage and territory.on, and a stage for activations to occur.

Listening to the APO, Act I

The six-channel sound work that accompanies the APO installation is a newly commissioned score, produced in collaboration between Sumayya Vally, Moad Musbahi, Sukanta Majumdar and Thania Petersen.

It it composed of original recordings made by Sukanta Majumdar, Moad Musbahi and samples from the previous work ‘Jieker’ by Thania Petersen, in conversation with Sumayya Vally.

‘Jieker’ is a work made in collaboration with The Young Men’s Cape Malay Choir, Lobnaa Noomene, and the Al-Aissaouia Tunisian Sufi group, Antom Sadati led by Azzedine Ferjani

It is described by Thania, “Since its very inception, Islamic practice has been inextricably bound to the voice of Bilal, the first muezzin - An emancipated slave.

The ‘athaan’ reconnects us to Bilal. For millions of people, this is the sound of hope, liberation, and a reminder to all that every human is equal. It traces and recalls the story of a Black Abyssinian man, who defied his oppressors and liberated himself through the teachings of Islam. His voice would become the anthem of a revolution. This calling, five times a day to humanity exists to unite us and remind us of who we are.

Dhikr translated into English means remembrance, by tracing the origins of this music and following its migration, Thania creates a sound map drawn from songs and styles of Dhikr across geographies. There is a noticeable shift in the sound as we journey from one time and place to another. It is here she finds that we belong to a much older history that journeys back to Indonesia, Yemen, North and West Africa. Encompassing the Indian Ocean, the Dhikr can be heard all along the east coast of Africa, India, and the entire Malay archipelago.

‘It is through the remembrance of God, we will remember who we are.’”



Sumayya Vally and Moad Musbahi Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa London, UK; Tripoli, Libya, New York, USA.

— Sumayya Vally, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa, 1990; Vive e lavora / Lives and works in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa, London, UK

— Moad Musbahi Vive e lavora / Lives and works Tripoli, Libya, New York,USA

Collaborazione autoriale / Authorial collaborators — Thania Petersen (Sound Artist Collaborator) — Sukanta Majumdar (Sound Designer),

Collaborazione tecnica/ Technical collaborators — Grazia Sechi (Production Support), Alessandro Braggio (Fabricator)


— Tonia Murray, Counterspace — Adam Anabosi (Sound Research Support)