Kim M. Reynolds (she/they) is a Black and queer critical media scholar, writer, producer, and artist from Cincinnati, Ohio and has been based in Cape Town for the past three years. Her research interests centre largely on how oppression is reproduced through discourse, pop culture, and mainstream media news and as well as imagining and practicing anti-extraction methodologies in knowledge creation so as to disengage from perpetuating structural violence, paternalism, depersonalisation and so on. Kim also focuses on the liberatory avenues Black feminist thought, Black queer theory, and post- colonial theory offer to Black people, Black art, and Black imagination through historical analysis, audio creation, and visual and written work. In 2020, Kim completed a double master’s in Global Media, Communications, and Film at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and University of Cape Town (UCT) both with distinction. At the LSE, Kim focused on discursive racism in the media coverage of Colin Kaepernick and the contexts of sports as sites of racialization and nationalism and imperialism arguing that across the political spectrum, english diction protects white supremacy. And at UCT, Kim completed a portraiture and interview series titled Becoming, which asked five people who identify as Black, queer, and creative what it means to be who you are and why that is an important process. Kim has guest lectured at UCT and forthcoming at UC Berkeley on Black feminist critical media analysis and the intersection of racial justice and technology respectively.
Outside the academy, Kim is an organizer around politics and the arts, producing events and workshops at large scale events as well as within local initiatives and grassroots coalitions. She writes social and political commentary as well as short fiction and prose and her work has been published in New Frame, Bright Wall/Dark Room, GroundUp, Teen Vogue, Black Youth Project, and VICE.
Currently, Kim serves as a co-leader of Our Data Bodies, which is a research and organizing collective comprised of 4 Black and POC people, that examines and produces knowledge on how big data and technology reproduce white supremacy under the guise of innovation or governance. Kim also co-produces Blackness and Dance, an independent study on Black identity and dance for radio in Cape Town.
project in process
Their project with the Octopus Programme Fellowship is titled Alternative Routes and it is multi-output project that seeks to understand and unearth colonial scripts so as to map alternative routes.
In taking note from Dr. Ruha Benjamin’s “Imagination is a terrain of struggle”, Alternative Routes as a project gains strength from both workshop/participatory engagement as well as visual installations that map out critique and imagination. This looks like multimedia workshop facilitation that invites collaborators and participants to engage with a piece of popular media and dissect the narratives that are at play. For example, engaging mainstream media news coverage of COVID-19 in South Africa allows us to understand what conventions are used in news writing, to accomplish what goals, and how this makes those of us in society feels about our place and agency and understanding of society. The repetitive use of taxi ranks as images accompanying any given news about COVID-19 or the sustained use of masses or the few voices of authority in a news report coming from the police are all departure points to discuss how depersonalization is reproduced discursively and violent, anti-Black systems like policing are legitimized as “law and order”. Similarly, workshops that (briefly) screen images of racist illustrations of Sara Baartman and racist cartoons of Serena Williams also serve as departure points to discuss the colonialism is done through image-making and the various scripts used over 300 years apart, with the purpose remaining the same.
Alternative Routes would also has expression as a visual medium, using both images and text in a large scale to create mapping. This kind of work can function as a means of inviting people in to see usefulness and possibility to re-routing in real time- in marking up a news article as displayed artwork or creating a collage of symbolism as a means to understand the connectedness of imperialism and the force with which many nation states reinforce their hegemony with the violence of varying kinds. And perhaps much more intimately, poetry or writing that speaks to the material violence a Black femme may encounter in the workplace, so as to map alternative routes for themselves, and no one else.
Alternative Routes as a project is disengaged from a liberal education aspiration or ideal; rather this project is steeped in and made for people whose access to narratives has been incredibly limited in a supernumerary of way