Kotomisi is the name of a traditional 17th century garment that slaves wore in the former Dutch colony of Surinam, both before and after their liberation. The fabric for this multi-layered garment, consisting of skirt, jacket and headdress, was manufactured in trans-local production and distribution processes in Europe, Africa, Asia and America, representing the conditions and even the payment methods of a slave trade that was already quite globalized even then. It was often named for current events and thus became a kind of bearer of news. The garment itself became the transmitter of a message, in that the combination of the three elements provided information about the wearer’s social status and property ownership, and the way the headdress was folded also revealed different states of mind and secret messages. Over the next two centuries, these secret codes of the kotomisi developed further, transforming the wearer into an over-coded figure who escapes clear assignation. Rather, the wearer is open to interpretation, between slavery and discrimination on one hand, and between freedom from oppression and control on the other.
knowbotiq (Yvonne Wilhelm, Christian Huebler) experimented with forms and medialities of knowledge, post-digital fields of activity and epistemic disobedience.
knowbotiq has been active since 2009/2010 and was previously working with Alexander Tuchacek under the name knowbotic research (founded 1991). Since 2009/2010, the members of the group have been working independently as knowbotiq (Huebler / Wilhelm) and as Alexander Tuchacek.