Continental Afrofutures Lecture Series. Lecture 2. The Final Scene of Hyenas: A Fable of Fatal Incorporation

The Showroom
63 Penfold Street
London NW8 8PQ

The Otolith Collective and The Showroom present The Final Scene of Hyenas: A Fable of Fatal Incorporation, the second lecture in the Continental Afrofutures Lecture Series.

Saturday 11 June 2016, 2.00pm - 5.00pm
Free, no booking required

Hyenas tends to be characterised as a ‘biting satire of today’s Africa’ that has betrayed the hopes of independence for the false promises of Western materialism. A reading such as this interprets Hyenas as an Afropessimist fabulation of the formation of the neocolony in which the victory of materialism over self-determination is staged as the subsumption of Pan-Africanist morality by the modernity of the International Monetary Fund. This reading turns upon an interpretation of the final scene in Hyenas in which the passage from poverty to wealth promised by Linguere Ramatou is instituted through the sentence of death visited by the townspeople of Colobane upon the grocer Draman Drameh, the subject that accepts his guilt. The final scene in Hyenas can, however, be understood, otherwise; not as a murder, nor as a sacrifice, but more precisely, as an act of occluded incorporation by a corporate personhood whose opacity does not thwart transparency or universality, as Edouard Glissant proposed, but instead acts as the fatal precondition for integration into world capitalism.
From this elliptical perspective, the parenthetical disincorporation of Draman Drameh depicted in the final scene ofHyenas is the prerequisite for a projected future in which Africa rose, is rising, and would continue to rise throughout the first decade of the 21st Century. Such a future, envisioned in its instantaneity by Hyenas, accelerated the horizon of expectation forecast by Time and The Economist predicated upon the expected behaviour of economic indicators based on samples gathered by specialized companies. In an era of big data in which the future is not forecast from statistical samples but is predicted by algorithms based upon correlations derived from the calculation of statistical universes, the act of incorporation in the final scene of Hyenas looks forward to a present in which opacity not only operates as shells of incorporation but has transformed into the ‘blindness’ of algorithms that predict ‘present futures’ rather than ‘future presents’ in the words of Elena Esposito: the forward projection of todays uncertainty rather than the open future that produces a present different from today.

Cover design by M. Mohan

Project Category
curated programme