Based on work over the last decade within Nairobi’s tech-for-good sector, followed by a year of ethnographic research within organizations in Nairobi’s research landscapes, “Postcolonial Objectivity: Reaching for Decolonial Knowledge Making in Nairobi” traces the contours and edges of what is considered to be good knowledge within an emergent regime of scientific representation in Kenya. I show how this regime, which I call postcolonial objectivity, can be better understood by drawing out how histories haunt the problem space; the idealized figures that shadow the problem space, how rising diversity expectations have played out, and modes of care and stewardship are practiced and idealized. A recurrent argument and goal of postcolonial objectivity is robust contextualization of knowledge. “Postcolonial Objectivity: Reaching for Decolonial Knowledge Making in Nairobi” scales between analyses of the geopolitics of translocal knowledge production and ethnographically rich descriptions of Kenyan histories of imperialism and post-war Development. These geohistories established the knowledge infrastructures that have created conditions where everyday research amongst particular communities in Nairobi are often experienced as extractive, externally-driven, and extroverted for a Western audience. If methodology is a way of being in the world, ultimately, my argument is enacted through my methodological approach of archive ethnography as well as collaborative authorship of the final textual form. In these ways, I demonstrate my own attempts towards postcolonial objectivity, working to build supporting technical infrastructure as an experimental space for collaborative effort to figure out what kinds of questions can be asked under postcolonial objectivity going forward.
Waste is fundamentally crucial to environmental discourse both in physical and digital domains. It contains the value, usage, and temporality of things, although many are unaware of how much these phygital wastes contribute to the climate catastrophe. Just from our daily lives, we are in situations that contribute to carbon emissions generated through our devices and internet use. In contrast, other parts of the world, such as Nairobi, the subject of KMRU’s piece, are battling with tactile wastes, surrounded by landfills affecting communities and the life of humans and other species. waste(s) (2021, 15:48 min) seeks to reflect on the concept of pollution. It asks: How is waste created? What happens when waste is thought of in different ways, and can waste be a source? To create the piece, KMRU collaged field recordings of waste(d) spaces, electromagnetic sounds of social media sites, and the digital debris of trashed and recycled audio fragments into new compositions. A juxtaposition between the digital-physical concept of waste, waste(s) is recontextualized as an artistic resource for real and imagined pollutions.