Afrofuturism was once a hip retort to the erasure of Africans in futuristic narratives. It incorporated elements of science fiction, history and fantasy to highlight the African-American experience and reestablish connections with African heritage. However, the movement has faced criticism for oversimplifying and commodifying African cultures, with its Western-centric focus on privileged experiences and detachment from political issues. It’s also been known for an overemphasis on aesthetics over substance and unapologetic cultural appropriation.
So, it is of course quite tantalising when an African artist dares to attempt a revitalisation of this once-loved form. TOGUNA WORLD, created by visionary polymath Pierre-Christophe Gam (Gam A Gam), is a transformative digital realm merging the Metaverse, visual art, collectable design, and African spirituality. This project aims to innovate artistically and technologically, celebrating African traditions while fostering community involvement and collective envisioning.
TOGUNA WORLD engages in a profound reimagining of ancestral narratives, infusing them with contemporary technology and design sensibilities. Within this creative laboratory, a fusion of diverse media elements coalesce, forming a rich mixture that includes art installations, a metaverse dream realm, a digital divination gateway and a multimedia platform, all singularly committed to the exploration and examination of future possibilities.
Emphasising traditional African wisdom as a central focal point, TOGUNA WORLD offers an ethereal space for collective contemplation that invites people to embark on a transformative journey towards utopian destinies.
The work revolves around the sacred Sanctuary of Dreams, an envisioning ritual for the future, situated within an immersive 360-degree multi-user dream realm. This transformative encounter, accessible via a web browser or VR headset, represents a harmonious fusion of artistic expression, musical resonance and narrative discourse.
The experimental and immersive work interlaces elements of photography, digital collage, 3D and 2D animation, film and music. It materialises as a digital sanctum, manifesting five architectural edifices enveloped in an expansive, verdant courtyard ensconced within a luxuriant, primaeval garden.
In alignment with the ethos of Ifá—a time-honoured spiritual tradition intrinsic to the Yoruba people (spanning Nigeria, Benin, Togo, among others)—the pursuit of an authentically enriching and holistic existence harmonises with the contemplation of five elemental pillars: Ce-Meji, emblematic of the corporeal; Ka-Ogbe, a sanctuary for the intellect; Gbe-Meji, nurturing the spiritual essence; Sa-Meji, the crucible of emotions; and Yeku-Meji, the ethereal soul’s domain.
These pillars, meticulously unveiled through the medium of five architectural constructs, elegantly interweave mixed-media photography, 3D models and digital collage animations. Each edifice unfurls both the discernible and the imperceptible facets intrinsic to its respective precept.
Fundamentally, TOGUNA WORLD embodies an homage to the transformative potential of African and black cultures like divination. TOGUNA’s Metaverse is a conscientious acclamation of the sacred principles of a traditional Ifá sanctuary, extending an earnest invitation to individuals of African descent scattered across the diaspora. The immersive digital realm beckons them to embark on a curious odyssey that reconnects them with their ancestral heritage, forging a sincere digital link to their roots.
By weaving metanarrative and ancestral wisdom, TOGUNA WORLD transcends superficiality, enveloping participants in an Afrocentric discourse that is unparalleled in its depth and resonance. This transformative endeavour draws profound inspiration from the venerable narratives, traditions, and myths of ancient Africa, ingeniously reenvisioning them within the boundless realm of the digital landscape.
As individuals embark on their exploration of TOGUNA WORLD, they are ushered into a realm of cryptic significations that reside within each form, symbol and relic. In this immersive journey, they forge connections with ancient history and culture, inviting them to engage deeply with speculative narratives of the future.
The TOGUNA WORLD initiative is aimed at nurturing a heightened sense of identity within the digital realm. In a contemporary landscape where online engagements wield substantial influence in sculpting individual self-concepts, TOGUNA WORLD emerges as a rejuvenating bastion of the African viewpoint. This undertaking not only emboldens participants to embrace and exalt their rich heritage but also cultivates a sanctified arena for the harmonious confluence of cross-cultural dialogues concerning the prospective trajectory of our shared global existence.
Explore TOGUNA WORLD now at togunaworld.com