The Afronauts

The Afronauts
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The AfronautsThe AfronautsThe Afronauts

Cristina de Middel. Note by Kojo Ngué.

Cádiz. Self published. 2012. First edition. Limited to 1,000 unnumbered copies. Stiff card wrappers, original rubber band. 88 pages. 42 colour and b&w photographs and illustrations, some inserts and fold-outs. 235 x 175mm (9¼ x 7"). 0.3kg. 9788461585960. English. Fine.

'In a way, it [Afronauts] compensates [for] the failure of a small dream that, despite its size, was still too big for a continent as ours.' (Kojo Ngué, fellow teacher of Nkoloso)

The first edition of Spanish photographer Cristina de Middel's visual story of a Zambian space project. In 1964, schoolteacher Eduard Makuka Nkoloso left his job to set up the Zambian National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy. The unaccomplished aim was to send 11 Zambian astronauts (ten men, one woman and a cat) into space and compete against the USA and USSR superpowers. Nkoloso planned to use a catapult to launch the rocket and utilised tin barrels rolling down a hill to simulate zero gravity. Whilst the scheme may sound fanciful then and now Middel's book confronts patronising colonial attitudes to African endeavours. The photographs and documents recreated by the author for the book feature the astronauts in space suits made from traditional wax print fabrics and the presence of elephants in the training camp, a cliché that is intended to challenge. In Middel's photographic story fact and fiction are intertwined; the reader is unaware of the extent to which the images and texts are recreated. The book accompanied an exhibition of the same name at Sala Kursala, Universidad de Cadiz, Spain.

[Parr & Badger. The Photobook Vol. 3. p.302]


Price :  £850.00