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08 Apr 2011

Goethe-Institut Nairobi presents HOW ARE YOU?

mobile phone mast and antenas in Kibera
© How are you? project

HOW ARE YOU? by Karolina Freino and James Muriuki
Goethe-Institut Nairobi


Robin Sättele
+254 20 2224640

Maendeleo House, Monrovia Street
CBD, Nairobi
Republic of Kenya

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by Karolina Freino and James Muriuki

How are you? is a phrase that every mzungu (white person) entering Kibera - a slum in Nairobi - would hear. The phrase is chanted melodically by children there individually or in unison. For some of the children, it is the only English sentence they know. Others don't understand its meaning, they just join the tune. It has become a ritual formed in a simple melody connected to the presence of white people in a slum.

How are you? is an art project by Karolina Freino & James Muriuki. It is developed as a mobile phone ringtone, created out of live recordings of children of Kibera in February 2011. It can be downloaded for free from the wap site directly to a mobile phone or via a computer.
The aim is to spread the ringtone world-wide, by advertising on the Internet and printed flyers. Please join us by downloading the ringtone to your telephone and forwarding it to others.

The project How are you? references complex postcolonial residues in our global economy, huge NGO industry in Africa, language etc. It seizes an innocent phrase that stemmed from dependence and power relation and requests for listeners' reflection bringing this phrase to a conscious level.
It dares to ask: how are you contemporary world? repeating this question whenever the participating mobile phone rings.

The work is created in a frame of a 5 month collaborative project Conversations in Silence researching issues of memory and commemoration within the Kenyan context.

The project is organised through Goethe-Institut Nairobi.