Abotcha (Balante), Na Tchon (Kriol) meaning literally ‘at land’ and ‘on the ground’ are used to address a situated condition or processes that happen in a place which are read and coded by the specificities, phenomena and knowledge of the place. In the soil there is humus, which also connects to the humility and horizontality of this project. Here it is also used to refer to the place where the Mediateca building was implanted.


Ciné-kinship is a form of affinity and relation that evolves from common interest in various aspects of cinema. It also relates to a certain cinema and archival practice that goes beyond producing and watching film but also develops on a kind of cine-ontology based on a vision of encounter as abundance. Cine-kinships value the areas of relation and in betweenness as a place to inhabit the commons in alternative to the sense of scarcity projected onto the neo-liberal individuum. Cine-kins don’t ignore asymmetries and the different positions of those in relation, they respect opacities and prefer to create spaces to inhabit the troubles and conflicts we are all systemically exposed to. Ciné-kins see cinema as a potential place to imagine forms of togetherness and justice beyond identitarian politics and separation, and trust that it is in the creole entanglement that we all can meet and become.


This concept of forces shifts the perspective onto the immaterial and latent aspects of this archive: the promise inscribed in the material and its emancipation project, the colonial suppression, resistance, the urge of liberation, the empathetic or strategic gesture of solidarity and the new production of subjectivities. The idea of State, nation, law, independence, and constitution take shape in representations and rituals directly in front of the camera. The driving forces: The agency of fear, struggle and education; the weapon of theory (Cabral); the latency of animism; sonic waves; the potency of the collective practice of watching films together.


This concept locates the Guinean archive in the (now marginal and internationally almost isolated) West African country Guinea-Bissau. Historical geo-political indicators reveal connections – at times substantial, at times ephemeral – to Senegal, Cuba, Algeria, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Germany, the Republic of Guinea-Conakry, the Soviet Union, Angola, Portugal, China, India, Romania, Sweden and others. The notion of geography shall bring into focus what Édouard Glissant termed ‘relation’, the pathways of exchange that are never one-way and whose meaning is rarely unequivocal. Relation is independent of genealogy, is empathetic and rejects the search for and the bond to an origin. Also the latent ideas of Amílcar Cabral, the liberation leader whose success as a guerilla strategist was profoundly informed by his expertise as an agronomist, are embedded in this understanding of geography. This notion echoes what Ros Gray and Kodwo Eshun defined as cine-geography.


In 1952, as the new director of the Pessubé State Plantation in Bissau, Amílcar Cabral converted it into a project for agricultural experimentation, already signalling his post-independence vision defined by three main principles: 1. transforming the colonial recreational gardens and sites for small crops for the elites into an agricultural research field to revolutionize and develop the country’s agricultural production. 2. breaking down class barriers and thus bringing farmers closer to scientists and the administration. 3. interacting and exchanging Guinean agricultural practices with that of other countries. Mediateca Onshore operates according to these principles, envisioning a fertile field for cultures, experimentation, dialogues, and knowledge sharing among different agri(cultures) and developing agro-poetics. Granja has its origin in the Latin word “granica”, derived from “granus” (grain). Inspired by this concept, Mediateca Onshore is a space where small grains are sown that multiply into flowering crops, a space where some of the results/fruits of Mediateca´s activities, publications, films, etc. are presented.

luta ca caba inda

Luta ca caba inda: Is a deliberately imprecise term, for it is a force. The project around the Guinea militant archive was titled Luta ca caba inda (The struggle is not over yet), after one set of reels found in the archive, a documentary film from 1980 on post-independence Guinea-Bissau abandoned in the editing process. The title cursed the completion of the film, the struggle and also this never to be finished project. In the course of the Luta ca caba inda project a series of discursive events and public screenings have been dedicated to activating the potencies of this collection. Luta ca caba inda, as a informal collective of people and praxis, enables an ecology of relations and spaces of care and subjectivity to emerge, materializing in collective assemblies where images and sounds of the archive are discussed between the filmmakers, and European and African audiences. Here the cinema acted as a collective editing room and assembly for reflecting on conditions of the present and projecting new futures.


Macaré (tidal bore) is a natural phenomenon that only takes place in a few places in the world (e.g. in the Amazon and the Geba River) and shows the collision of the river water with the ocean waves at the onset of the tide. It is best perceived as a wave evolving at the new moon of the autumn equinox, i.e. at the end of the rainfall season in September. In the mediateca this word is used to chronologically organize the occurrence of the gatherings and events.


This concept addresses the material state of the archive components themselves and the theoretical and practical challenges posed by it. Affected by the vinegar syndrome, this film disease reveals an animal gelatin as its component. The celluloid film, its states of decay and pathologies, the imprints of precarious production and subsequent neglect all bring forth a specific aesthetic of the militant Guinean archive. Film as decomposable matter determines a sort of archeological process while it suggests, at the same time, the necessity of adopting certain politics ensuing procedures of digitization and re-vision.


In his agronomic work, Amílcar Cabral stressed the importance of defining soil not by its “static-morphological” aspect, but by its variables and its relational and dynamic potential: “The being from which soil originates is the rock. By the action of natural agents, it is fragmented and disintegrated, forming what in Pedology is called ‘original material’. It is the ‘weathering’ of the rock”. Cabral elaborates on a coevity of forces “lithos” (stone) and “atmos” (climate), a zone of conflict and transformation between independent elements from which life is possible. Meterorization – the choque between lithos and atmos – involves two elements in relational contradiction. This geomantic drive, a channel for reading the earth – its future inscribed in its different pasts – gives access to an epistemology of the edaphosphere (the layer of soil that sustains and creates multiple interconnected life forms) that speaks of how discrete elements of soil contain valuable information for the decolonization struggle.

na tchon

Meaning on the ground in Kriol, Na Tchon also addresses the teachings of humility that Sana na N’Hada has been sharing throughout his life and work.


We named the Mediateca Onshore to address the need of a safe place to accommodate the Guinean Archive and its activations. The word Onshore started to be used in our conversations as a contrast to neoliberal and colonial economical processes to which places like the West African Coast have been subjected in post-colonial times. Offshore have always been places of extractivism and trade where responsibility, dues and taxes are suspended in favour of a few distant entities in disregard of the impact of these practices on local economies.


Mudskippers are amphibious fish. They are of the family Oxudercidae and the subfamily Oxudercinae. There are 32 species of mudskippers, in Guinea the predominant species is Periophtalmus papilio (Saltão-da-vasa in PT and salton in Kriol). Mudskippers are known for their unusual appearance and their ability to survive both in and out of water. The salton accompanied our mangrove research and became the mediateca symbol.


Trees that grow along land periodically flooded by tides. “if you’re drowning in the water, keep in mind that even just the branch of a passing mangrove, if you grab it, believe that it can save you”; “nobody dared to live in the village anymore, everyone moved to the mangrove, everyone moved to the jungle” (Carmen Pereira.). Sci. “Luguncularia racemosa”; “Avicennia africana”; “Rhizophora mangle”; mangrove monkey n., * marginal zone of estuaries and rivers subject to tides. Here the word tarafe, mangrove, is also used as the place to collect a lexicon of words whose signifier is filled with experience, context, situations and various meanings. Tarafe is the place of coding, linking and short-circuiting; it is a place of hiding, a passage or an obstruction. It keeps secrets unrevealed, it respects the right to opacity but also gives hints for connecting, relating and minding asymmetries. Therefore the meanings in the Tarafe lexicon are not unequivocal and often intangible.