Slum TV is a volunteer project run from a room in Nairobi's Mathare slum. Films are are produced by and shown to the slum's residents in public screenings.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bruVlhvQBVg&hl=en&fs=1]In the Mathare slum of Nairobi, a project conceived at the intersection between art, actionism and social study has caused quite a stir in recent years. SLUM-TV was founded by Austrian and Kenyan artists and has, as such, been producing sitcoms, dramas and short documentaries, which are presented in public places in the form of a newsreel and later streamed online and archived, since 2007. The local team – the inhabitants of the residential area – define the contents themselves and are also in charge of the realisation. These productions thus bear aspects of local historiography, enabling a social class misrepresented by the mass media to present itself.
SLUM-TV does not give stage directions or dictate themes, because it is concerned with the self-empowerment of those who are often made out to be ”powerless“ by the hegemonic discourse.
The aesthetics used for media campaigns in connection with AIDS prevention, wars, hunger crises and natural disasters also have a great impact on site. The local media are full of articles and reports appealing for donations with familiar stereotypes (small children with big eyes). This way, they create an aesthetic dispositive which seems to suggest that the only way to get media coverage is with images like these. SLUM-TV attempts to show that this can be done differently.
With strategies from fine art, with the means of performance and intervention, SLUM-TV creates a discourse breaching familiar forms of representation and transgressing conventional fields of action associated with classic community channels.