African Fractals

By Steve Goodman, 10 April 2000

Steve Goodman reviews 'African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design' by Ron Eglash

Read this both as an archaeology of afrovorticism and an attack on Brian Eno’s tired assertion that the problem with computers is that there is not enough Africa in them. After crucial essays in the mostly mediocre Cyborg Handbook and Ccru’s zany abstract culture (swarm 4), Eglash uses hiphop mathematics as a matrix to fuse together the numerics of African games (Oware), tribal architecture (Ba-ila) and African hairstyles. It’s hardly an omission, but Eglash’s obsession with recursive scaling seems to plug more effectively into the polyrhythmic delirium of the UK underground than phat America. One for the torque massive.

Steve Goodman <steve AT>

Rutgers University Press (£47.95, hard back)