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How One Man Was Sold Into Libya’s Modern-Day Slave Trade
"Slavery is thriving in Libya, where thousands of black Africans hoping to get to Europe instead find themselves bought and sold, forced to work for nothing, and facing torture at the hands of their owners."
slavery  libya  africa  nigeria  2018  monicamark  europe  migration 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Overgrowth - e-flux
"Architects and urban practitioners, toiling daily at the coalface of economic expansion, are complicit in the perpetuation of growth. Yet they are also in a unique position to contribute towards a move away from it. As the drivers of growth begin to reveal their inadequacies for sustaining life, we must imagine alternative societal structures that do not incentivize unsustainable resource and energy use, and do not perpetuate inequality. Working on the frontline of capitalism, it is through architecture and urban practice that alternative values, systems, and logics can be manifest in built form and inherited by generations to come.

Editors
Nick Axel
Matthew Dalziel
Phineas Harper
Nikolaus Hirsch
Cecilie Sachs Olsen
Maria Smith

Overgrowth is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Oslo Architecture Triennale within the context of its 2019 edition."

[See also: https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221902/editorial/ ]

[including:

Ateya Khorakiwala: "Architecture's Scaffolds"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221616/architecture-s-scaffolds/
The metaphor of grassroots is apt here. Bamboo is a grass, a rhizomatic plant system that easily tends towards becoming an invasive species in its capacity to spread without seed and fruit. Given the new incursions of the global sustainability regime into third world forests to procure a material aestheticized as eco-friendly, what would it take for the state to render this ubiquitous material into a value added and replicable commodity? On one hand, scaffolding offers the site of forming and performing the subjectivity of the unskilled laborer—if not in making the scaffolding, then certainly in using it. Bamboo poles for scaffolding remain raw commodities, without scope for much value addition; a saturated marketplace where it can only be replaced by steel as building projects increase in complexity. On the other hand, bamboo produces both the cottage industry out of a forest-dwelling subject, on the margins of the state, occupying space into which this market can expand.

Bamboo is a material in flux—what it signifies is not transferable from one scale to another, or from one time to another. In that sense, bamboo challenges how we see the history of materials. In addition to its foundational architectural function as scaffolding, it acts as a metaphorical scaffolding as well: it signifies whatever its wielders might want it to, be it tradition, poverty, sustainability, or a new form of eco-chic luxury. Bamboo acts more as a scaffolding for meaning than a material with physical properties of flexibility and strength. Scaffolding, both materially and metaphorically, is a site of politics; a space that opens up and disappears, one that requires much skill in making.

Edgar Pieterse: "Incorporation and Expulsion"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221603/incorporation-and-expulsion/
However, what is even more important is that these radically localized processes will very quickly demand spatial, planning, and design literacy among urban households and their associations. The public pedagogic work involved in nurturing such literacies, always amidst action, requires a further institutional layer that connects intermediary organizations with grassroots formations. For example, NGOs and applied urban research centers with knowledge from different sites (within a city and across the global South) can provide support to foster these organizational literacies without diminishing the autonomy and leadership of grassroots movements. Intermediary organizations are also well placed to mediate between grassroots associations, public officers, private sector interests, and whoever else impinge on the functioning of a neighborhood. Thinking with the example of Lighthouse suggests that we can think of forms of collective economic practice that connect with the urban imperatives of securing household wellbeing whilst expanding various categories of opportunity. The transformative potential is staggering when one considers the speed with which digital money systems and productive efficiencies have taken off across East Africa during the past five years or so.

There is unprecedented opportunity today to delink the imperatives of just urban planning from conventional tropes about economic modernization that tend to produce acontextual technocracy. We should, therefore, focus our creative energies on defining new forms of collective life, economy, wellbeing, invention, and care. This may even prove a worthwhile approach to re-signify “growth.” Beyond narrow economism there is a vast canvas to populate with alternative meanings: signifiers linked to practices that bring us back to the beauty of discovery, learning, questioning, debate, dissensus, experimentation, strategic consensus, and most importantly, the courage to do and feel things differently.

Ingerid Helsing Almaas: "No app for that"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221609/no-app-for-that/
Conventionally, urban growth is seen in terms of different geometries of expansion. Recent decades have also focused on making existing cities denser, but even this is thought of as a process of addition, inscribed in the conventional idea of growth as a linear process of investments and profits. But the slow process of becoming and disappearance is also a form of growth. Growth as slow and diverse accretion and shedding, layering, gradual loss or restoration; cyclical rather than linear or expansive. Processes driven by opportunity and vision, but also by irritation, by lack, by disappointment. In a city, you see these cyclical processes of accretion and disruption everywhere. We just haven’t worked out how to make them work for us. Instead, we go on expecting stability and predictability; a city with a final, finished form.

Peter Buchanan: "Reweaving Webs of Relationships"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221630/reweaving-webs-of-relationships/

Helena Mattsson and Catharina Gabrielsson: "Pockets and Folds"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221607/pockets-and-folds/
Moments of deregulations are moments when an ideology of incessant growth takes over all sectors of life and politics. Returning to those moments allows us to inquire into other ways of organizing life and architecture while remaining within the sphere of the possible. Through acts of remembrance, we have the opportunity to rewrite the present through the past whereby the pockets and folds of non-markets established in the earlier welfare state come into view as worlds of a new becoming. These pockets carry the potential for new political imaginaries where ideas of degrowth reorganize the very essence of the architectural assemblage and its social impacts. These landscapes of possibilities are constructed through desires of collective spending—dépense—rather than through the grotesque ideas of the wooden brain.

Angelos Varvarousis and Penny Koutrolikou: "Degrowth and the City"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221623/degrowth-and-the-city/
The idea of city of degrowth does not attempt to homogenize, but rather focus on inclusiveness. Heterogeneity and plurality are not contrary to the values of equity, living together and effective sharing of the resources. Difference and plurality are inherent and essential for cities and therefore diverse spatial and social articulations are intrinsic in the production of a city of degrowth. They are also vital for the way such an idea of a city could be governed; possibly through local institutions and assemblies that try to combine forms of direct and delegative democracy.
]
growth  degrowth  architecture  overgrowth  2018  nickaxel  matthewdalziel  phineasharper  nikolaushirsch  ceciliesachsolsen  mariasmith  ateyakhorakiwala  edgarpieterse  ingeridhelsingalmaas  peterbuchanan  helenamattsson  catharinagabrielsson  angelosvarvarousis  pennykoutrolikou  2019  anthropocene  population  sustainability  humans  civilization  economics  policy  capitalism  karlmarx  neoliberalism  systemsthinking  cities  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  urbanization  ecology  consumption  materialism  consumerism  oslo  bymelding  stability  change  predictability  design  africa  southafrica  postcolonialism  ethiopia  nigeria  housing  kenya  collectivism  dissensus  experimentation  future  learning  questioning  debate  discovery  wellbeing  intervention  care  technocracy  modernization  local  grassroots  materials  multiliteracies  ngos  autonomy  shigeruban  mumbai  bamboo  burkinafaso  patrickkeré  vikramadityaprakash  lecorbusier  pierrejeanneret  modernism  shivdattsharma  chandigarh  india  history  charlescorrea  scaffolding 
november 2018 by robertogreco
The Artist Is Present: Williams Chechet Utilizes Pop Art To Remind You To Know Your History
"Meet the Nigerian multi-hyphenate creative whose work speaks for itself—check it out with OkayAfrica.
Williams Chechet is a multi-talented pop artist, graphic designer, illustrator and muralist who's one to watch. The Nigerian creative is influenced by his culture, history, afrofuturism, afrobeats and hip hop—and this screams at you when looking at his body of explosive work.

He seamlessly speaks through his vibrant visuals. Chechet's past work and due props include a series centered around leaders in Nigeria, a renowned celebration of heritage called We are the North on Northern Nigeria, a CNN Africa feature, a mural for Hard Rock Cafe Lagos, live art on MTV Base, album covers for M.I., Jesse Jagz, Ice Prince, clothing with Pop Caven and an American streetwear brand we can't disclose just yet. More recently, he's collaborated with Cameroonian pop artist Fred Ebami on an icon series."
art  nigeria  williamchechet  2018  popart 
april 2018 by robertogreco
On the Blackness of the Panther – Member Feature Stories – Medium
"At least once a day, I think: “another world is possible.” There’s life yet in our dreams. The pan-African political project is still alive. The memory of whatever was good in the Bandung Conference or the Organization of African Unity still makes the heart race. Flashes of common cause among the Darker Nations can be illuminating and sustaining. But “Africa” as trope and trap, backdrop and background, interests me ever less.

I am more fascinated by Nairobi than by Africa, just as I am more intrigued by Milan than by Europe. The general is where solidarity begins, but the specific is where our lives come into proper view. I don’t want to hear “Africa” unless it’s a context in which someone would also say “Asia” or “Europe.” Ever notice how real Paris is? That’s how real I need Lagos to be. Folks can talk about Paris all day without once generalizing about Europe. I want to talk about Lagos, I don’t want to talk about Africa. I want to hear someone speaking Yoruba, Ewe, Tiv, or Lingala. “African” is not a language. I want to know if a plane is going to the Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport. You can’t go to “Africa,” fam. Africa is almost twelve million square miles. I want to be particular about being particular about what we are talking about when we talk about Africa.

* * *

I grew up with black presidents, black generals, black kings, black heroes, both invented and real, black thieves too, black fools. It was Nigeria, biggest black nation on earth. I shared a city with Fela Kuti for seventeen years. Everyone was black! I’ve seen so many black people my retina’s black.

But, against the high gloss white of anti-black America, blackness visible is a relief and a riot. That is something you learn when you learn black. Marvel? Disney? Please. I won’t belabor the obvious. But black visibility, black enthusiasm (in a time of death), black spectatorship, and black skepticism: where we meet is where we meet.

Going on twenty six years now. I learned African and am mostly over it. But what is that obdurate and versatile substance formed by tremendous pressure? What is “vibranium”? Too simple to think of it as a metal, and tie it to resource curses. Could it be something less palpable, could it be a stand-in for blackness itself, blackness as an embodied riposte to anti-blackness, a quintessence of mystery, resilience, self-containedness, and irreducibility?

Escape! I would rather be in the wild. I would rather be in a civilization of my own making, bizarre, contrary, as vain as the whites, exterior to their logic. I’m always scoping the exits. Drapetomania, they called it, in Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race (1851), the irrepressible desire in certain slaves to run away.

* * *

Ten years pass and I still dream about that cat. The eyes slide open, an image enters. Where are you now, Mirabai? Euthanized years ago by the animal shelter? Or successfully adopted and now gracefully aging in some home in Brooklyn? With people, young or old, merciful and just? Dream cat, leaping up to meet me."
tejucole  2018  blackpanther  africa  culture  race  film  blackness  identity  cats  animals  knowledge  racism  zoos  capitalism  monarchism  rainermariarilke  switzerland  colonialism  tonimorrison  lagos  nigeria  immigration  edwardsnow  eusébiodasilvaferreira 
march 2018 by robertogreco
Senongo Akpem on Twitter: "Twitter is a terrible place for telling detailed stories about Nigeria- too many contradictions and subtleties. It’s a basket case, and may… https://t.co/x1HC8yBQ3v"
"Twitter is a terrible place for telling detailed stories about Nigeria- too many contradictions and subtleties. It’s a basket case, and may never get better. But people are living their lives, grinding."

[and https://twitter.com/senongo/status/928445694515580928 ]

"So to wrap it up! Nigeria is my home, and honestly a frustrating and unsatisfying place to be. BUT: people there are making the best of it. They know they need change to the current ways."
senongoakpem  nigeria  lagos  life  living  makedo  2017  persistence  ingenuity  economics 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Y-Fi
"Experience Loading Animations / Screens in wifi speeds around the world. This website was inspired by this conversation I had on twitter. I was home (Nigeria) for a bit before I started work and was annoyed at how long I had to look at loading animations. I wondered how long people wanted to wait around the world screaming.

Notes / How this works

• Data about wifi speeds is from: Akamai's State of the Internet / Connectivity Report.

• I chose countries based on what suprised me and to get diversity across speeds.

• To get most data about loading times, I used a combination of Firefox DevTools and the Network Panel on Chrome DevTools. For Gmail I used this article on Gmail's Storage Quota.

• The wifi speeds and sizes of resources are hard-coded in so you can see them and the rest of the code at the repo.

• Any other questions / thoughts? Hit me up on twitter!"

[via: https://twitter.com/YellzHeard/status/890990574827851777 via @senongo]
omayeliarenyeka  internet  webdev  webdesign  wifi  broadband  nigeria  loading  speed  diversity  accessibility  paraguay  egypt  namibia  iran  morocco  argentina  india  southafrica  saudiarabia  mexico  china  chile  greece  ue  france  australia  russia  kenya  israel  thailand  uk  us  taiwan  japan  singapore  hongkong  noray  southkorea  perú 
july 2017 by robertogreco
My Grandmother’s Shroud - The New York Times
"When my grandmother, my mother’s mother, died in late June in Nigeria, I was in Italy, at a conference. I wasn’t with her when she slipped into a coma or, three days later, when she died. When my brother told me the news, I called my mother and other members of my family to commiserate with them. She was buried the day of her death, in keeping with Muslim custom, and I couldn’t attend her funeral. My mother, visiting friends in Houston, would also miss the funeral.

I opened my computer and began to search my folders for pictures of my grandmother. On each yearly trip to Nigeria for the past several years, I went to see her in Sagamu, a town an hour northeast of Lagos, where she was born and where she lived for most of her life. On these visits, she would say: ‘‘Sit next to me. I want to feel your hands in mine. Be close to me. I want your skin touching mine.’’ I was always happy to sit with her and to hold hands with her. Afterward, I took photos. I have photos now of her alone, in selfies with me, in the company of my mother and my aunts. In these photos, she has surprisingly smooth skin, hardly any gray hair and, in most of them, a trace of amusement. In one, especially touching photo, my wife, Karen, applies polish to her nails.

To remain close to our dead, we cherish images of them. We’ve done so for millenniums. Think of the Fayum portraits, which show us the faces of Egyptians during the Imperial Roman era with stunning immediacy. Images — paintings, sculptures, photographs — remind us how our loved ones looked in life. But in most places and at most times, portraiture was available only to society’s elites. Photography changed that. Almost everyone is now captured in photographs — and outlived by them. Photographs are there when people pass away. They serve as reservoirs of memory and as talismans for mourning.

My grandmother was born in 1928. Her given name was Abusatu, but we called her Mama. Mama’s father, Yusuf, was a stern imam in Sagamu, and Yusuf’s father, Salako, was said to have been even more severe. But Mama herself was serene and good-natured, kind and tolerant. She was deeply consoled by her religion but not doctrinaire. Of her five daughters, two (including her firstborn, my mother) married Christians and converted to Christianity. It made no difference to Mama. The family had Muslims, Christians and some, like myself, who drifted away from religion entirely. Mama loved us all. An example of her unobtrusive kindness: While I was a college student in the United States, she sent me a white hand-woven cotton blanket. I never knew why and didn’t ask. But it is to this day the most precious piece of cloth I own.

I was leaving Rome when I received the sad news of Mama’s death. She was approaching 89. The end came swiftly, and she was surrounded by family. You could say it was a good death. But why couldn’t she have lived to 99, or to 109, or forever? Death makes us protest the fact of death. It makes us wish for the impossible. I could objectively understand that it was unusual to have had a grandmother in my 40s, and that my 67-year-old mother was equally fortunate in having had a mother so long. My father was 5 when his mother died, and he has been mourning her for longer than my mother has been alive. But the grieving heart does not care for logic, and it refuses comparisons. I mourned Mama as I left Italy for New York.

I mourned her but did not, or was not able to, weep. I arrived in New York in the late afternoon, perhaps at the very moment Mama was being interred. My mother had forwarded a couple of photos taken by my cousin Adedoyin to my wife’s WhatsApp. Karen reached for her phone and showed me the pictures. They were a shock. One was of Mama, dead on her hospital bed, wearing a flowery nightdress and draped in a second flowery cloth, the oxygen tube still taped to her nostrils. Her right arm was limp at her side, and she was not quite like someone asleep but rather like someone passed out, open and vulnerable. The other photograph, which seemed to have been cropped, showed a figure wrapped in a shroud, tied up with white twine, set out on a bed in front of a framed portrait: a white bundle in vaguely human shape where my grandmother used to be. I burst into sudden hot tears.

What did these photographs open? Imagination can be delicate, imposing a protective decorum. A photograph insists on raw fact and confronts us with what we were perhaps avoiding. There she is, my dear Mama, helpless on the hospital bed, and I cannot help her. Days later, I would find out from my mother that in this first photograph, Mama was still in a coma and not dead yet. But looking at the second photograph, the one in which she is incontrovertibly dead, my thoughts raced through a grim logic. I thought: Why have they wrapped her face up? Then I thought: It must be stifling under that thing, she won’t be able to breathe! Then I thought: She’s dead and will never breathe again. Then my tears flowed.

Mama’s life was hard. An itinerant trader of kola nut and later the owner of a small provisions shop, she was one of my late grandfather’s five wives and by no means the best treated. She never went to school, and the only word she could write was her name, sometimes with the ‘‘s’’ reversed. But when Baba died more than 20 years ago, Mama moved out of his house and lived in the two-story house that my mother built her. She was a women’s leader, a kind of deaconess, at the local mosque. She went to parties, to market and to evening prayers. She lived in the security of her own house, in the company of her widowed second daughter, my aunt. In those later years, life became easier.

‘‘She has a single obsession,’’ my mother used to say, ‘‘and that’s her burial rites.’’ Mama insisted that she be buried the same day she died. ‘‘She’ll say, ‘And I must not be buried at the house,’ ’’ my mother said, ‘‘ ‘Because what’s rotten must be thrown out. And for seven days, food must be cooked and taken to the mosque and served to the poor.’ ’’ And most important, my mother said, Mama would reiterate that in a cupboard in the room next to the meeting room in her house was her robe, the one she must be buried in. It was of utmost importance to her to meet her maker wearing the robe with which she approached the Kaaba, the holiest shrine in Islam.

The hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, which she undertook in 1996, when she was 68, transfigured my grandmother. Through that journey, through her accomplishment of one of the central tenets of Islam, she sloughed off her old life and took on a new one, one that put her into a precise relationship with eternity. The year of her journey, thousands of Nigerian pilgrims were turned back, because of meningitis and cholera outbreaks. My grandmother was one of a few hundred who got through. When she returned from Mecca, many of her townspeople took to calling her ‘‘Alhaja Lucky.’’ And as though to fit the name, she wore the serene mien of someone who was under special protection.

My mother, an Anglican Christian, financed the journey, knowing what it would mean to her mother to fulfill this final pillar of the faith. But possibly, she had no idea how much it would mean. She anticipated the social satisfaction Mama would get from it but had not counted on the serious existential confirmation it provided.

In the last few years, I often thought of Mama’s pilgrimage robe. I thought about how fortunate she was to have something in her possession so sacred to her, something of such surpassing worth, that she wished to have it on when she met God. And she had her wish: Beneath the plain white shroud in which she was sheathed after she died was that simple pilgrimage robe.

I look at the various photographs from Alhaja Lucky’s last years on my computer. None of them really satisfy me. Many are blurry, most are banal. I really like only the ones of her hands: They remind me of her wish to have her hands touched by mine. But the photograph I cannot stop thinking about is the one Adedoyin took, of Mama in her funeral shroud. The image reminds me of newspaper photos of funerals in troubled zones in the Middle East: an angry crowd, a shrouded body held aloft. But Mama was not a victim of violence. She died peacefully, well past the age of 88, surrounded by family.

Nevertheless, the custom is connected. It is a reminder that the word ‘‘Muslim’’ — so much a part of current American political argument, and so often meant as a slur — is not and has never been an abstraction, not for me, and certainly not for millions of Americans for whom it is a lived reality or a fact of family. A lead headline in The New York Times just a few days after Mama’s burial read: ‘‘Travel Ban Says Grandparents Don’t Count as ‘Close Family.’ ’’ The headline was about travel restrictions on visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries. Nigeria was not on the list, but the cruelty and absurdity of the policy was vivid. It felt personal.

On the night of Mama’s burial, I lay down to sleep in my apartment in Brooklyn. I couldn’t shake the image of my cousin’s photograph. I went into the closet and took out the white cotton blanket Mama sent me all those years ago. It was a hot night, high summer. I draped the blanket over my body. In the darkness, I pulled the blanket slowly past my shoulders, past my chin, over my face, until I was entirely covered by it, until I was covered by Mama."
2017  tejucole  photography  death  memory  nigeria  aging  relationships  hajj  islam  purpose  grief  mourning  grieving  customs  objects  textiles  immigration  us  policy  connection  families  tolerance  religion  acceptance  mecca  eternity  belief  spirituality  burial  life  living  change  transformation  talismans 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Everyday Media Culture in Africa: Audiences and Users (Hardback) - Routledge
"African audiences and users are rapidly gaining in importance and increasingly targeted by global media companies, social media platforms and mobile phone operators. This is the first edited volume that addresses the everyday lived experiences of Africans in their interaction with different kinds of media: old and new, state and private, elite and popular, global and national, material and virtual. So far, the bulk of academic research on media and communication in Africa has studied media through the lens of media-state relations, thereby adopting liberal democracy as the normative ideal and examining the potential contribution of African media to development and democratization. Focusing instead on everyday media culture in a range of African countries, this volume contributes to the broader project of provincializing and decolonizing audience and internet studies."



"Table of Contents

Foreword
Paddy Scannell

1. Decolonizing and provincializing audience and internet studies: contextual approaches from African vantage points
Wendy Willems and Winston Mano

2. Media culture in Africa? A practice-ethnographic approach
Jo Helle Valle

3. ‘The African listener‘: state-controlled radio, subjectivity, and agency in colonial and post-colonial Zambia
Robert Heinze

4. Popular engagement with tabloid TV: a Zambian case study
Herman Wasserman and Loisa Mbatha

5. ‘Our own WikiLeaks’: popularity, moral panic and tabloid journalism in Zimbabwe
Admire Mare

6. Audience perceptions of radio stations and journalists in the Great Lakes region
Marie-Soleil Frère

7. Audience participation and BBC’s digital quest in Nigeria
Abdullahi Tasiu Abubakar

8. ‘Radio locked on @Citi973’: Twitter use by FM radio listeners in Ghana
Seyram Avle

9. Mixing with MXit when you're ‘mix’: mobile phones and identity in a small South African town
Alette Schoon and Larry Strelitz

10. Brokers of belonging: elders and intermediaries in Kinshasa’s mobile phone culture
Katrien Pype

11. Agency behind the veil: gender, digital media and being ‘ninja’ in Zanzibar
Thembi Mutch"
africa  media  books  everyday  culture  communication  2017  wendywillems  winstonmano  thembimutch  katrienpype  aletteschoon  larrystrelitz  seyramavle  marie-soleilfrère  abdullahitasiuabubakar  admiremare  hermanwasserman  loisambatha  robertheinze  johellevalle  paddyscannell  decolonization  audiences  radio  zambia  zimbabwe  nigeria  uganda  rwanda  ghana  southafrica  congo  drg  kinshasa  zanzibar  digital  twitter  bbc 
december 2016 by robertogreco
7 Writers on Their Favorite Bookstores - The New York Times
"Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Jazzhole, Lagos, Nigeria

The Jazzhole is easy to miss — tucked next to a pharmacy on Awolowo Road, a busy, traffic-packed road crammed on either side with banks and businesses. Lagos is nearly always hot and sticky, and it makes me happy to walk into its cool and darkish interior and to be filled instantly with the expectation of discovery. Tables with books spread out like invitations. A range of fiction, from Lisa Gardner to Tash Aw. Biographies, histories, poetry. Large, hardcover art books propped on shelves. Framed images on the walls of iconic book covers, musicians, nationalists. A traditional drum hanging from the wall. A music section with CDs of both old and new music from Africa and Europe and America.

[photo]

Jazzhole, a cultural haven combining a bookshop and music store, in Lagos, Nigeria. Credit Chris Stein
The Jazzhole is a bookstore, a music store, a cultural haven. It is a space reverential of stories and history. Its casual, lived-in charm encourages browsing, and I have discovered beloved books there — books about Africa, in particular. It is also the place in Lagos to go to for new British and American book releases. I have attended live music events there, with the bookshelves pushed back to fit in seating. I have had delicious cake and fresh juice from the tiny cafe at the back.

It feels human, it feels like a place warmly welcoming of all kinds of people. If you’re lucky, you might run into the owners, Kunle and Tundun Tejuosho. Kunle, quiet and introverted, a walking archive of African music, and Tundun, warm and exuberantly intelligent. Genuine people and genuine lovers of culture."
books  bookstores  chimamandangoziadichie  2016  booksellers  nigeria  jazzhole 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Nsibidi - Wikipedia
"Nsibidi (also known as nsibiri,[2] nchibiddi or nchibiddy[3]) is a system of symbols indigenous to what is now southeastern Nigeria that is apparently an ideographic script, though there have been suggestions that it includes logographic elements.[4] The symbols are at least several centuries old—early forms appeared on excavated pottery as well as what are most likely ceramic stools and headrests from the Calabar region, with a range of dates from 400 to 1400 CE.[5][6]

There are thousands of nsibidi symbols, of which over 500 have been recorded. They were once taught in a school to children.[7] Many of the signs deal with love affairs; those that deal with warfare and the sacred are kept secret.[7] Nsibidi is used on wall designs, calabashes, metals (such as bronze), leaves, swords, and tattoos.[2][8] It is primarily used by the Ekpe leopard secret society (also known as Ngbe or Egbo), which is found across Cross River among the Ekoi, Efik, Igbo people, and other nearby peoples.

Outside knowledge of nsibidi came in 1904 when T. D. Maxwell noticed the symbols.[4] Before the British colonisation of the area, nsibidi was divided into a sacred version and a public, more decorative version which could be used by women.[8] Aspects of colonisation such as Western education and Christian doctrine drastically reduced the number of nsibidi-literate people, leaving the secret society members as some of the last literate in the symbols.[9] Nsibidi was and is still a means of transmitting Ekpe symbolism. Nsibidi was transported to Cuba and Haiti via the Atlantic slave trade, where it developed into the anaforuana and veve symbols."

[via: https://twitter.com/dvsch ]
symbols  via:dvsch  nigeria  ideographs 
september 2016 by robertogreco
61 Glimpses of the Future — Today’s Office — Medium
"1. If you want to understand how our planet will turn out this century, spend time in China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil.

2. If you’re wondering how long the Chinese economic miracle will last, the answer will probably be found in the bets made on commercial and residential developments in Chinese 3rd to 6th tier cities in Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai and Tibet.

4. Touch ID doesn’t work at high altitude, finger prints are too dry.

5. You no longer need to carry a translation app on your phone. If there’s someone to speak with, they’ll have one on theirs.

6. A truly great border crossing will hold a mirror up to your soul.

9. The art of successful borderland travel is to know when to pass through (and be seen by) army checkpoints and when to avoid them.

10. Borders are permeable.

12. The premium for buying gasoline in a remote village in the GBAO is 20% more than the nearest town. Gasoline is harder to come by, and more valuable than connectivity.

13. After fifteen years of professionally decoding human behaviour, I’m still surprised by the universality of body language.

14. Pretentious people are inherently less curious.

15. Everything is fine, until that exact moment when it’s obviously not. It is easy to massively over/under estimate risk based on current contextual conditions. Historical data provides some perspective, but it usually comes down to your ability to read undercurrents, which in turn comes down to having built a sufficiently trusted relationship with people within those currents.

16. Sometimes, everyone who says they know what is going on, is wrong.

17. Every time you describe someone in your own country as a terrorist, a freedom is taken away from a person in another country.

18. Every country has its own notion of “terrorism”, and the overuse, and reaction to the term in your country helps legitimise the crack-down of restive populations in other countries.

17. China is still arguably the lowest-trust consumer society in the world. If a product can be faked it will be. Out of necessity, they also have the most savvy consumers in the world.

18. After twenty years of promising to deliver, Chinese solar products are now practical (available for purchase, affordable, sufficiently efficient, robust) for any community on the edge-of-grid, anywhere in the world. Either shared, or sole ownership.

20. When a fixed price culture meets a negotiation culture, fun ensues.

21. The sharing economy is alive and well, and has nothing to with your idea of the sharing economy.

25. Chinese truckers plying their trade along the silk road deserve to be immortalised as the the frontiersmen of our generation. (They are always male.)

29. The most interesting places have map coordinates, but no names.

30. There are are number of companies with a competitive smartphone portfolio. The rise of Oppo can be explained by its presence on every block of 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th tier Chinese cities.

32. People wearing fake Supreme are way more interesting than those that wear the real deal.

33. An iPhone box full of fungus caterpillar in Kham Tibet sold wholesale, is worth more than a fully specced iPhone. It’s worth 10x at retail in 1st/2nd Tier China. It is a better aphrodisiac too.

35. One of the more interesting aspects of very high net worth individuals (the financial 0.001%), is the entourage that they attract, and the interrelations between members of that entourage. This is my first time travelling with a spiritual leader (the religious 0.001%), whose entourage included disciples, and members of the financial 0.01% looking for a karmic handout. The behaviour of silicon valley’s nouveau riche is often parodied but when it comes to weirdness, faith trumps money every time. Any bets on the first Silicon Valley billionaire to successfully marry the two? Or vice versa?

37. For every person that longs for nature, there are two that long for man-made.

38. Tibetan monks prefer iOS over Android.

40. In order to size up the tribe/sub-tribe you’re part of, any group of young males will first look at the shoes on your feet.

42. After the Urumqi riots in 2009 the Chinese government cut of internet connectivity to Xinjiang province for a full year. Today connectivity is so prevalent and integrated into every aspect of Xinjiang society, that cutting it off it would hurt the state’s ability to control the population more than hinder their opposition. There are many parts to the current state strategy is to limit subversion, the most visible of which is access to the means of travel. For example every gas station between Kashi and Urumqi has barbed wire barriers at its gates, and someone checking IDs.

43. TV used to be the primary way for the edge-of-grid have-nots to discover what they want to have. Today it is seeing geotagged images from nearby places, sometimes hundreds of kilometres away.

44. Facebook entering China would be a Pyrrhic victory, that would lead to greater scrutiny and regulation worldwide. Go for it.

45. The sooner western companies own up to copying WeChat, the sooner we can get on with acknowledging a significant shift in the global creative center of gravity.

48. Green tea beats black tea for acclimatising to altitude sickness.

49. The most interesting destinations aren’t geotagged, are not easily geo-taggable. Bonus points if you can figure that one out.

50. The first time you confront a leader, never do it in front of their followers, they’ll have no way to back down.

51. There is more certainty in reselling the past, than inventing the future.

55. Pockets of Chengdu are starting to out-cool Tokyo.

56. To what extent does cultural continuity, and societal harmony comes from three generations under one roof?

58. If you want to understand where a country is heading pick a 2nd or 3rd tier city and revisit it over many years. Chengdu remains my bellwether 2nd tier Chinese city. It’s inland, has a strong local identity and sub-cultures, and has room to grow. Bonus: its’ only a few hours from some of the best mountain ranges in the world.

60. The difference between 2.5G and 3G? In the words of a smartphone wielding GBAO teenager on the day 3G data was switched on her town, “I can breathe”."
janchipchase  2016  travel  technology  borders  authenticity  pretension  curiosity  china  tibet  japan  eligion  culture  capitalism  wechat  facebook  android  ios  tokyo  chengdu  future  past  communication  tea  greentea  certainty  monks  translation  nature  indonesia  nigeria  brasil  brazil  india  shoes  connectivity  internet  mobile  phones  smartphones  sharingeconomy  economics  negotiation  touchid  cities  urban  urbanism  location  risk  relationships  consumers  terrorism  truckers  oppo  siliconvalley  wealth  nouveauriche  comparison  generations 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Identity 2016: 'Global citizenship' rising, poll suggests - BBC News
"People are increasingly identifying themselves as global rather than national citizens, according to a BBC World Service poll.

The trend is particularly marked in emerging economies, where people see themselves as outward looking and internationally minded.

However, in Germany fewer people say they feel like global citizens now, compared with 2001.

Pollsters GlobeScan questioned more than 20,000 people in 18 countries.

More than half of those asked (56%) in emerging economies saw themselves first and foremost as global citizens rather than national citizens.

In Nigeria (73%), China (71%), Peru (70%) and India (67%) the data is particularly marked.
By contrast, the trend in the industrialised nations seems to be heading in the opposite direction.

In these richer nations, the concept of global citizenship appears to have taken a serious hit after the financial crash of 2008. In Germany, for example, only 30% of respondents see themselves as global citizens."

[See also: http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/people-increasingly-identify-as-globalnot-nationalcitizens ]
identity  cosmopolitanism  nigeria  china  perú  india  spain  españa  kenya  uk  greece  brazil  brasil  canada  pakistan  ghana  indonesia  us  mexico  chile  germany  russia  ethnicty  citizenships  globalization 
may 2016 by robertogreco
Nigerians are writing steamy romance novels to escape religious violence | Public Radio International
"The books shift between morality tales and classic pulp romance. Often written by hand in small composition books, the stories find a wider audience after they are transcribed and published online.

People also buy the books in crowded marketplaces, where you can buy thousands of different titles for a dollar or two. They're called littattafan soyayya, which roughly translates to “love literature."

The littattafan soyayya industry is the subject of photographer Glenna Gordon’s new photo book, "Diagram of the Heart."

The stories are mostly written by women, for women. And amid Nigeria's political turmoil, they provide an escape of sorts.

The chaos in Nigeria became much more widely reported after the terrorist organization Boko Haram kidnapped 276 school girls from their dorm in 2014, but the group has been around since 2002. At the same time, the government faces huge amounts of corruption and the country is split because of religious tension.

Gordon says escaping the stress of that instability is one of the reasons women turn to romance novels. But it's certainly not the only reason.

Gordon first heard about the genre after a friend suggested she read a book called “Sin Is a Puppy That Follows you Home,” which describes itself as an Islamic soap opera.

The book has a pretty complicated plot.

First a man brings home a second wife. That second wife turns out to be a prostitute. The first wife ends up separating from him, and is kicked out of the house along with the couple’s children. After time, she opens a restaurant and builds a new life. Meanwhile, the husband loses everything he has in a fire and his second wife leaves him.

At the end of the book, the original couple gets back together. But their power dynamic has shifted.

“Even though it doesn’t really look like a traditional feminist text in the way I might think of one, there has been a significant change in the course of the book,” Gordon says.

Gordon says most people don’t know about Nigeria’s thriving publishing industry and culture of literature because of a language barrier. Books are often written in Hausa, and while the language is extremely popular — it’s one of the most widely spoken languages in Africa — the books are rarely translated into other languages.

They're also controversial.

Some local governments in Northern Nigeria censor the books, and in 2007, the minister of education publicly burned many books that he said were corrupting young people and encouraging moral indecency.

Today, authors are forced to register with the Hisbah, the morality police, as well as government officials. Gordon says at this point many authors self-censor to avoid the hassle. But their books used to be much more risqué.

There are people who don’t register and publish anyway, she says. Also the government is somewhat irregular in how it enforces the rules.

“So some things get through and some things don’t,” she says."
nigeria  literature  feminism  2016  bokoharam  books  hausa  morality  islam  women  publishing  photography  glennagordon 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Africa Has Always Been Sci-Fi | Literary Hub
"As Afrofuturism has begun to migrate back to the motherland in earnest, the same relative dearth continues to plague theorists and writers. Even Mark Bould, whose introduction to Paradoxa’s issue on African science fiction offers a comprehensive if nebulous syllabus, implies that it is nascent: “If African sf has not arrived, it is certainly approaching fast.” The appearance of a deluge—a trend, a fad—is in effect a trickle. Is this just what happens when you cross blackness with futurity? As Dery asks of African Americans, “Can a community whose past has been deliberately rubbed out, and whose energies have subsequently been consumed by the search for legible traces of its history, imagine possible futures?” Or is this lack specific to African literature, where energies might seem to be better directed toward, say, political critique of corruption, poverty, disease, and unemployment?

Nnedi Okorafor, born in the United States to Nigerian immigrants, both bridges this breach and fills it. She appears on lists of black sci-fi on either side of the Atlantic. And while she says that she has “issues with [the label] Afrofuturism,” she is one of the most prolific black writers of speculative fiction out there, and has set several of her fantasy and science fiction novels on the continent. Okorafor, in other words, is Afropolitan and African American: she insists that her “flavor of sci-fi is evenly Naijamerican (note: ‘Naija’ is slang for Nigeria or Nigerian).” Yet in an essay on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America website, Okorafor herself bemoans the scant canon:
Here’s my list of “African SF.” It’s really short … How do I define African SF? I don’t. I know it when I see it … The main fact is that this list DOES exist. Africans ARE writing their own science fiction, contrary to what some may think. But the fact is that Africans need to also write more of it.

When building a canon, the question of inclusion becomes paramount. If the African v. African American debate seems unduly academic or divisive, just imagine when the question of race comes in: what does it mean, as Okorafor notes, that the first major African science fiction film, District 9, was directed by a white South African? In another essay, “Is Africa Ready for Science Fiction?,” Okorafor cites two experts—a Nollywood director and a scholar of African fiction—who both essentially say no. Though she is more optimistic on the question, Okorafor explains: “In Africa, science fiction is still perceived as not being real literature. It is not serious writing.… African audiences don’t feel that science fiction is really concerned with what’s real, what’s present. It’s not tangible.”

But to take the intangible, the unreal, the absent and make of them a world is precisely the mandate of science fiction. In his remarkable ur-Afrofuturist film Space is the Place (1974), Sun Ra, adorned in Egyptian regalia, travels to Oakland, CA to recruit black folk to colonize the planet Saturn. Like some kind of intergalactic Marcus Garvey, he wants to “set up a colony for black people … bring them here through transmolecularization … or teleport the whole planet here … through music.” He tells dissipated hipsters at the local youth center: “I’m not real. I’m just like you. You don’t exist in this society. If you did, your people wouldn’t be seeking equal rights. You’re not real. If you were, you’d have some status among the nations of the world. So we’re both myths. I do not come to you as a reality. I come to you as the myth. Because that’s what black people are, myths.” Afrofuturism’s insight is to elide the African diaspora with outer space as loci of blackness, roiling vats of inky, rich, infinite potential. The etymology of utopia, after all, is ou + topos, or not + place. Introducing himself to a wino, Sun Ra cryptically declaims: “I am everything and nothing.”"
nnediokorafor  afrofuturism  scifi  sciencefiction  africa  2016  afropolitan  dieantwoord  southafrica  sunra  samueldelany  lagos  markdery  nigeria  district9  speculativefiction 
april 2016 by robertogreco
'Lagos shows how a city can recover from a deep, deep pit': Rem Koolhaas | Cities | The Guardian
"In 1997 two architects set out to rethink Lagos, an African megacity that had been largely abandoned by the state. Amid the apparent chaos and crime, they discovered remarkable patterns of organisation. Two decades later, Rem Koolhaas and Kunlé Adeyemi discuss the past, present and future of the city – and reveal why their own project never saw the light of day"
nigeria  lagos  2016  remkoolhaas  oma  kunléadeyemi  cities  urban  urbanism  megacities  colonialism  georgepacker  slums  architecture 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Inside Makoko: danger and ingenuity in the world's biggest floating slum | Cities | The Guardian
"Makoko is the perfect nightmare for the Lagos government – a slum in full view, spread out beneath the most travelled bridge in west Africa’s megalopolis. Yet this city on stilts, whose residents live under the constant threat of eviction, has much to teach"
makoko  lagos  nigeria  toluogunlesi  slums  cities  urban  urbanism  eviction  africa 
march 2016 by robertogreco
'Mobile reading revolution' takes off in developing world | Books | The Guardian
"Unesco study reports huge growth in adults and children reading books on phones in Africa and the Indian subcontinent"



"Unesco is pointing to a "mobile reading revolution" in developing countries after a year-long study found that adults and children are increasingly reading multiple books and stories on their phones.

Nearly 5,000 people in seven countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Zimbabwe – took part in the research, the largest study of its kind to date, which found that 62% of respondents are reading more, now they can read on their mobile phones. One in three said they read to children from their mobile phones, and 90% of respondents said they would be spending more time reading on their mobile phones in the next year.

The study, says Unesco in its report, found that "people read more when they read on mobile devices, that they enjoy reading more, and that people commonly read books and stories to children from mobile devices".

"The study shows that mobile reading represents a promising, if still underutilised, pathway to text," says the report, for which Unesco partnered with Worldreader – a global not-for-profit organisation that works to bring digital books to readers around the world – and Nokia. "It is not hyperbole to suggest that if every person on the planet understood that his or her mobile phone could be transformed – easily and cheaply – into a library brimming with books, access to text would cease to be such a daunting hurdle to literacy."

The report's author Mark West said that the key conclusion from the study was that "mobile devices can help people develop, sustain and enhance their literacy skills".

"This is important because literacy opens the door to life-changing opportunities and benefits," said West.

Reasons given by respondents for reading on mobiles were convenience, affordability and lack of access to books. In Zimbabwe, for example, Unesco said the cost of reading a book on a mobile was between 5 and 6 cents, while a paperback bestseller would cost around $12 (£7); in Nigeria, a mobile book would cost around 1 or 2 cents, based on a mobile broadband rate of $13 per 500 MB of data, while a child's book would cost between $1 and $5.

Unesco pointed to data from the UN, which shows that of the seven billion people on earth, more than six billion now have access to a working mobile phone. "Collectively, mobile devices are the most ubiquitous information and communication technology in history," says Unesco. "More to the point, they are plentiful in places where books are scarce."

The most popular genre for readers was romance, the survey found, with the "romance" icon on Worldreader Mobile receiving 17% of all 730,787 clicks during the research period. Nineteen of the top 40 books read during the study period were romance novels, with Ravinder Singh's Can Love Happen Twice? the most popular book, followed by the Mills & Boon title The Price of Royal Duty in second, and the Bible in third.

Kwame Nkrumah's The Great African and Nnedi Okorafor's The Girl with the Magic Hands were also among the most read books between April and June 2013, with the most popular search terms over the period "sex", "Bible" and "biology". Chinua Achebe came in fourth, with "Things fall apart", ahead of "love" in fifth. Religion was the second most popular genre, said Unesco.

The survey also found that mobile reading is a "huge tool of empowerment for women", said Worldreader's Nadja Borovac. While 77% of mobile readers in developing countries are male, women spend an average of 207 minutes per month reading on their mobile phones, compared to men's 33 minutes. Unesco's report points out that in sub-Saharan Africa, a woman is 23% less likely to own a mobile phone than a man, with the gap widening in the case of data-enabled phones. "Men use mobiles for reading most, but the most active readers are women," said Borovac.

Almost two-thirds (60%) of respondents cited lack of content as the primary barrier to mobile reading, and a third said they were keen to read to their children from their mobiles if there were more child-friendly material available.

One respondent, Charles, a teacher in Zimbabwe, said he reads to his class from his mobile, and cited lack of printed content as his main reason for turning to his phone. "We live in a remote area where there are no libraries, and the books I have in my own small library are the ones which I have already read. So this is now giving me a chance to choose from a variety of fiction titles," he said.

Borovac said that mobile reading was "not a future phenomenon, but something which is happening today".

"It can really change people's lives," she said. "We work in countries where there is a serious shortage of books but where cell phones are plentiful ... We are hoping people will realise the potential of mobile reading [as a result of the report], and that governments and partners will get behind not only us but other organisations using mobile technology to help provide learning and books, and help improve literacy skills.""
mobile  reading  2014  africa  asia  india  ehtiopia  ghana  kenya  nigeria  pakistan  zimbabwe  unesco  ebooks  publishing 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Martin Roemers - Metropolis | LensCulture
"Dutch photographer Martin Roemers won the 1st prize in the LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2015 for his series, Metropolis, which documents street life in "mega-cities", defined as urban areas that are home to more than 10 million inhabitants. Here we present an extended slideshow of this project, as well as an interview with the photographer."

[via: http://globalvoices.tumblr.com/post/133898896954/archatlas-metropolis-martin-roemers ]
martinroemers  photography  streetphotography  2015  cities  urban  urbanism  global  kolkata  lagos  pakistan  bangladesh  cairo  nigeria  egypt  karachi  dhaka  mumbai  india  guangzhou  china  istanbul  turkey  jakarta  indonesia  buenosaires  argentina  manila  philippines  basil  brazil  riodejaneiro  mexicocity  mexicodf  mexico  nyc  sãopaulo  london  tokyo  japan  df 
november 2015 by robertogreco
SAIC - Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects: Kunlé Adeyemi
"Kunlé Adeyemi is an architect, urbanist, and designer. His recent work includes Makoko Floating School, an innovative, prototype, floating structure located on the lagoon in the heart of Nigeria's largest city, Lagos. This acclaimed project is part of an extensive research project, African Water Cities, being developed by NLÉ, an architecture, design, and urbanism practice founded by Adeyemi in 2010 with a focus on developing cities. NLÉ is currently developing a number of civic, research, and architectural projects in Africa—one of which is Chicoco Radio Media Center, the amphibious building in Delta city of Port Harcourt in Nigeria. Born and raised in Nigeria, Adeyemi studied architecture at the University of Lagos where he began his early practice, before joining the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in 2002. At OMA he led the design, development, and execution of several large prestigious projects in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These include the Shenzhen Stock Exchange tower in China, Qatar National Library in Doha, and Prada Transformer in Seoul. He served as a member of the International Advisory Council for the World Design Capital 2014 and a juror for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014. For the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial, on view October 3, 2015–January 3, 2016, Adeyemi has partnered with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to develop and build a functioning vendor kiosk for exhibition in Millennium Park. After the Biennial exhibition, the kiosk will be moved and installed permanently on the Chicago Lakefront."
architecture  kunléadeyemi  schooldesign  schools  makokofloatingschool  lagos  nigeria  africa  nlé  water  cities  urban  urbanism 
october 2015 by robertogreco
The 13 most innovative schools in the world - Tech Insider
[grain of salt, and some guffawing for a certain item on this list]

"Makoko Floating School. Lagos, Nigeria. The school that floats.
Ørestad Gymnasium. Copenhagen, Denmark. The school in a cube.
Big Picture Learning. Providence, Rhode Island. The school in the real world.
Egalia Pre-school. Stockholm, Sweden. The school without gender.
AltSchool. San Francisco, California. The school of Silicon Valley.
Sra Pou Vocational School. Sra Pou village, Cambodia. The school for building community.
P-TECH High School. Brooklyn, New York. The school that bridges high school and college.
Steve Jobs School. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The school that thinks different.
Brightworks School. San Francisco, California. The school that teaches dangerously.
Carpe Diem Schools. Aiken, Ohio. The school built like an office.
Innova Schools. Peru. The school built by world-class designers.
Blue School. New York, New York. The school fusing compassion and creativity.
Samaschool. San Francisco, California. The school that says it's not too late."
schools  schooldesign  education  2014  nigeria  lagos  sweden  denmark  gender  learning  howwelearn  lcproject  openstudioproject  bigpictureschools  samaschool  blueschool  altschool  p-techhighschool  cambodia 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Alan dreams of suya | Snakes and Ladders
"I woke up in the middle of the night last night with an inexplicable but overwhelming craving for a food that I haven’t eaten in nearly 25 years. Suya: marinated, highly spiced slices of beef cooked over a wood or charcoal fire and served with sliced onions and, when I had it, anyway, plum tomatoes. (It turns out, comically enough, that the Wikipedia page for suya links to an article I published in 1992.) It’s a Nigerian treat, especially favored by the Hausa people in the north of the country, but I first tasted it in the city of Ilorin in the heart of Yorubaland.

It was early evening, and the suya vendor had set up his cart at the side of a road on which the chief government building of Kwara state stood facing the sharia court building, in a kind of standoff. I don’t know that I’ve ever smelled anything more mouth-watering than the aromas wafting from that cart, and though I haven’t thought about the experience in years, probably, when I woke up last night everything about that evening came back to me with an uncanny clarity — spreading the suya on its bed of newspaper out on the hood of a minivan, eating and talking quietly with my friends as others drifted to and from the cart … how wonderful that was. So many moments in life get lost in the jumble of everyday busyness, it’s a gift when something small and sweet makes a gentle return to memory, to presence."
food  taste  smell  senses  memory  suya  nigeria  2015  alanjacobs 
august 2015 by robertogreco
Infrastructure as a divination tool: Whispers from the grids in a Nigerian city - City - Volume 19, Issue 2-3
"In the Nigerian city of Jos, everyday life is shaped by interlacing rhythms of disconnection and reconnection. Petrol, electricity, water, etc., come and go, and in order to gain access inhabitants constantly try to discern the logics behind these fluctuations. However, the unpredictable infrastructure also becomes a system of signs through which residents try to understand issues beyond those immediately at hand. Signals, pipes, wires and roads link individuals to larger wholes, and the character of these connections informs and transforms experiences of the social world. Not only an object, but also a means of divination, infrastructure is a harbinger of truths about elusive and mutable social entities—neighbourhoods, cities, nations and beyond. Through the materiality of infrastructure, its flows and glitches carefully read by the inhabitants, an increasingly disjointed city emerges. Through new experiences of differentiated modes of connectedness—of no longer sharing the same roads, pipes, electricity lines, etc.—narratives are formed around lost common trajectories. By focusing on how wires, pipes and roads are turned into a divination system—how the inhabitants of Jos try to divine the city's infrastructure and possible ways forward, as well as how they try, through the infrastructure, to predict a city, a nation and a world beyond—this paper strives to find ways to grasp a thickness of urban becomings—a cityness on the move according to its own unique logic."
via:javierarbona  2015  nigeria  africa  cities  anthropology  urban  urbanism  materiality  divination  jos  erictrovalla  ulrikatrovalla 
july 2015 by robertogreco
El Anatsui: Studio Process | "Exclusive" | Art21 - YouTube
"Episode #160: Filmed at his Nsukka, Nigeria studio in 2011, artist El Anatsui describes the collaborative and contemplative setting where his artworks are made. Anatsui employs a team of assistants to construct "blocks" of joined bottle caps that are then shifted around on the studio's floor. In looking at the patterns and textures created by this process, often through his digital photographs, Anatsui is able to form ideas for new work.

Working with wood, clay, metal, and the discarded metal caps of liquor bottles, El Anatsui breaks with sculpture's traditional adherence to forms of fixed shape while visually referencing the history of abstraction in African and European art. Anatsui's works trace a broader story of colonial and postcolonial economic and cultural exchange, told in the history of cast-off materials, while exploring ideas about the everyday function of objects and the role of language in deciphering visual symbols.

Learn more about El Anatsui at:
http://www.art21.org/artists/el-anatsui "
elanatsui  art  nigeria  ghana  artists  edg  srg  glvo  2011  africa  postcolonialism 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Lagos Wide and Close Online
"An Interactive Journey into an Exploding City"

"Every day, hundreds of people start new lives in Lagos, Nigeria. This megacity is home to an estimated 13 million people who very survival depends on improvisation, networking, and risk-taking.

In 2001, architect Rem Koolhaas and filmmaker Bregtje van der Haak went to Lagos to document one of fastest growing cities in Africa. Based on research by the Harvard Project on the City, this website represents a unique engagement with an exploding city, capturing multiple perspectives of a volatile moment in its evolution.

In this interactive documentary film, the information has been organised according to distance. Loosely based on the trajectory of bus driver Olawole Busayo, it presents intimate encounters with the city and its people on the one hand, and a more removed perspective of Lagos on the other. In the one hour film, viewers join Busayo for his daily journey in the yellow minivan. Switch between a wide and a close view of Lagos and choose between three audio tracks: comments by Rem Koolhaas, conversations with Lagos citizens, or city sounds."



"This interactive documentary is an online adaptation of the DVD Lagos Wide & Close - An Interactive Journey into an Exploding City (2004). As one of the first interactive documentaries ever made, and a rare documentation of Lagos at a volatile moment in its evolution, we decided to make it available on the Internet in 2014.

The interactive film presents a selection of video and audio of Lagos recorded in 2001. It separates the distant – wide — and the intimate – close — views of the city enabling the viewer to switch between these perspectives interactively. Rather than following a dramatic storyline, it aims to bring the viewer close to the reality of what it means to live and work in Lagos, to move alongside bus driver Olawole Busayo and other Lagosians, and to delve into the city’s layered fabric, slowly making sense of the rules, the possibilities, and lifestyles of Lagos.

Increased bandwidth makes it now possible to play the two video channels and three audio channels in parallel online. The Lagos research project by Rem Koolhaas and The Harvard Project on the City, on which this interactive film is based, has not been published yet. With this online adaptation, we hope to provide a permanent and accessible resource for those interested in understanding Lagos and rapid urban growth.

The Explosive Growth of Lagos

Reliable statistics are not available, but based on UN reports and the Lagos city census, it is estimated that every day, hundreds of people start new lives in the African city of Lagos. As the largest port and commercial centre of Nigeria, it is now home to approximately 15 million people. This dangerous, polluted, and in many ways, dysfunctional city, has drainage problems, relentless traffic jams, and shortages of water and electricity, but is somehow working for those who move there to start new lives.

How and why does a city with so many problems continue to grow against all odds? In 2000, architect Rem Koolhaas decided to study Lagos in an attempt to understand the hidden logic that makes a “dysfunctional” city function. His research revealed a population’s unique ability to cope inventively with an urban landscape of disorder and to bring order into it. Lagosians have equipped their expanding metropolis with a finely meshed web of efficient self-organizing networks, challenging the dominant idea that “Lagos doesn’t work.”

Loosely based on the trajectories of bus driver Olawole Busayo, this interactive film provides a wide and a close perspective on an expanding city. In three separate audio tracks, it provides a glimpse of the lives of eight Lagos inhabitants, revealing the creative relationships they develop with their urban environment. In parallel to Busayo’s journey and interviews with Lagosians, Rem Koolhaas voices his reactions, interpretations, and changing attitudes towards Lagos during his five years of research.

Recording in 2001

In 2001, Rem Koolhaas invited filmmaker Bregtje van der Haak to help document his research in Lagos with the Harvard project on the City and photographer Edgar Cleijne. To present Lagos through the eyes of Koolhaas, Van der Haak created the documentary Lagos/Koolhaas that premiered in the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam and the Volksbühne in Berlin in the fall of 2002. As the title suggests, Lagos/Koolhaas is as much a portrait of the architect and his research methods as it is an image of the city of Lagos.

But another, more personal interpretation of the city was embedded in the 55 hours of material she shot with cinematographer Alexander Oey during their three trips to Nigeria — a collection of up-close encounters with the people of Lagos and a tracing of the paths and rhythms of their daily lives. If Koolhaas looked at the patterns of Lagos from afar and then zoomed in on the details, Van der Haak started from within letting personal encounters gradually reveal clues for deciphering the larger picture.

No Event No History

Because filming had long been prohibited in Nigeria, very few images of Lagos existed before 2001. This project involves an extended, chaotic and intimate engagement with a then hardly documented city, capturing multiple perspectives of a unique moment in its evolution, presenting experiences and observations, rather than a linear argument.

As one of the few contemporary records of a city that has been largely ignored by western media – with the exception of ‘news events’ like religious riots and military coups - this project is an invitation to look and listen to Lagos – at a moment in which the energy of change may reveal valuable insights into the uncontrollable forces of urbanization.

Credits

This project has been developed by documentary filmmaker Bregtje van der Haak and designer Silke Wawro in close collaboration with architect Rem Koolhaas, photographer Edgar Cleijne, and the Harvard Project on the City. The concept and scenario for Lagos Wide & Close was developed by Van der Haak and Wawro during a masterclass of the Sandberg Institute and Dutch Cultural Media Fund in 2003 and produced by Submarine. Most of the footage was originally shot in 2001/2002 by Alexander Oey for the linear documentary Lagos/Koolhaas (2002, 55 minutes), directed by Bregtje van der Haak and produced by Pieter van Huystee Film & TV in co-production with VPRO Television. Alexander Oey also edited Lagos Wide & Close. The soundscape was designed by Rik Meier."
lagos  nigeria  via:litheland  cities  interactive  urban  urbanism  storytelling  documentaries  improvisation  risktaking  networking  megacities  remkoolhaas  bregtjevanderhaak  africa  2001  olawolebusayo  soundscapes  2004  2014  edgarcleijne  silkewawro  rikmeier 
march 2015 by robertogreco
ruby amanze
"ruby onyinyechi amanze is a Brooklyn based artist of Nigerian birth 
and British upbringing. her drawings and works on paper have been influenced greatly by this cultural hybridity, as well as textile design, photography, print-making and architecture.
 amanze graduated Summa Cum Laude from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia. she then went on to pursue a M.F.A at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.



amanze has exhibited her work in numerous exhibitions in New York,
 London, Ghana, Lagos, Philadelphia and Amsterdam. most recently, amanze was
 awarded a 2012-13 Fulbright Scholars Award, to join the 
Department of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Nigeria, 
Nsukka. she currently resides in Brooklyn where she maintains a full time studio practice."



"In a once conflicted space of neither here not there, ada the Alien and her cohort of kindred creatures [including audre the Leopard, Pidgin, Twin, Oyibo the Merman, ofunne & the Ghosts…] now find solace and empowerment in their self constructed, chimeric universe of hybridity and freedom. Exhibiting human, alien and animal characteristics, they navigate effortlessly through an intergalactic space and time. Ranging in size from hand held to immersive, these drawings reflect the layered experiences of a growing population of “in-betweeners” and global citizens, whose fluid identity is not grounded in a monolithic geography or permanence based, notion of home. Aliens, hybrids and ghosts is a non-linear narrative that celebrates the labyrinth of national, ethnic and sexual identities that exist somewhere between constructed reality, fantasy, memory and imagination. In this world, creatures find authenticity and wholeness in their ability to simultaneously belong nowhere and everywhere."

[See also:
http://www.okayafrica.com/news/no-such-place-edward-tyler-nahem-fine-art-new-york-city/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvhZLbdjRvQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RexNXjrzrKI
https://vimeo.com/70056081 ]
rubyonyinyechiamanze  art  artists  africa  nigeria  nyc  brooklyn  space  aliens  in-betweeners  permanence  geography  home  hybrids  authenticity  wholeness  belonging  identity  memory  fantasy  globalcitizens  ghosts  rubyamanze 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Wura-Natasha Ogunji
"A performance and visual artist who works in a variety of mediums, Wura-Natasha Ogunji is best known for her videos, in which she uses her own body to explore movement and mark-making across water, land and air. Her current performance series entitled 'Mo gbo mo branch/I heard and I branched myself into the party' explores the presence of women in public space in Lagos, Nigeria. Ogunji has received a number of awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2012) and grants from the Idea Fund, Houston (2010), and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2005). She has performed at Centre for Contemporary Art (Lagos), The Menil Collection (Houston) and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts (St. Louis). Ogunji received a BA in Anthropology from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, in 1992 and a MFA in Photography from San Jose State University, CA, in 1998. She lives in Austin and Lagos."

[blog: http://goldeniron.blogspot.com ]

[See also: http://www.okayafrica.com/news/no-such-place-edward-tyler-nahem-fine-art-new-york-city/
http://www.okayafrica.com/photos/nigeria-art-wura-natasha-ogunji-visual-performance/ ]
wura-natashaogunji  art  artists  africa  nigeria  lagos  performance  video  movement 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Duro Olowu Shares Vintage Senegalese-Inspired Fashion Film Okayafrica.
"Duro Olowu, the innovative Nigerian designer whose bold technicolor prints have been favorites of ours the last few seasons, has unveiled a new fashion film in support of his recent Spring/Summer 15 collection. Senegalese model Kinee Diouf stars as the face of Olowu’s S/S 15 film, and her languid movements in the collection’s gowns, A-line skirts, capes and oversized jackets showcase the structural genius and elegance of Olowu’s pieces. The Lagos-born designer, who now calls London home, found inspiration for the collection’s vivid patterns and flowing silhouettes after a recent trip to the Senegalese island of Saint-Louis, where the appliqued starched brocade used for the garments was made. Japanese film noir, 1940’s pinups and the cover artwork for The Pointer Sisters eponymous debut album also acted as reference points for Olowu as he constructed the collection’s retro looks. Watch the film, directed by Portuguese fashion photographer Luis Monteiro, below. For more from Duro Olowu, see photos from his explosive Fall/Winter 14 and Spring/Summer 14 shows at London Fashion Week."
duroolowu  nigeria  senegal  2015  fashion  fabric  textiles  glvo  africa  kineediouf  clothing 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet - Quartz
"Facebook bosses generally dismiss suggestions that the whole internet.org project might be self-interested. Writing in Time, Lev Grossman was granted access to Mark Zuckerberg when the Facebook CEO went to India to promote internet access. When Grossman asks whether internet.org is self-serving, Zuckerberg allows only that it may, one day, several decades down the line, pay off: “If you do good things for people in the world, then that comes back and you benefit from it over time.”

Dave Wehner, Facebook’s finance chief, is more forthright. “I do think that over the long term, that focusing on helping connect everyone will be a good business opportunity for us.” If Facebook becomes one of the top services in these countries, he explained in a recent earnings call, “then over time we will be compensated for some of the value that we’ve provided.”
That is a fair goal for any profit-seeking company. And besides, isn’t some access better than none at all? John Naughton of the Guardian argues that this is not the case:
This is a pernicious way of framing the argument, and we should resist it. The goal of public policy everywhere should be to increase access to the internet—the whole goddam internet, not some corporate-controlled alcove—for as many people as possible. By condoning zero-rating we will condemn to a lifetime of servitude as one of Master Zuckerberg’s sharecroppers. We can, and should, do better than that.

"Already services are starting to move away from the open web and to Facebook. And it’s happening not just in the poor world, but in poor parts of the developed world, where there also exists a sense among some that using an app isn’t the same as using the internet, which requires a web browser like Safari or Internet Explorer. Salix Homes manages government-owned subsidized housing in some the poorest parts of Salford, a deprived area in the north of England. Salix recently decided to accept complaints and rent payments from its tenants on Facebook."
facebook  internet  culture  mobile  technology  2015  myanmar  burma  indonesia  philippines  thailand  walledgardens  nigeria  internet.org  web  online 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Media coverage of Charlie Hebdo and the Baga massacre: a study in contrasts
"There are many reasons why the attacks on targets in Paris have received vastly more media attention than the attacks in Baga.

Paris is a highly connected global city with thousands of working journalists, while Baga is isolated, difficult and dangerous to reach. The attacks on Charlie Hebdo targeted journalists, and it’s understandable that journalists would cover the death of their comrades. The attacks in Paris were a shock and a surprise, while deaths at the hands of Boko Haram have become distressingly common in an insurgency that has claimed over 10,000 lives since 2009.

The details of the Baga attacks, where civilians fled a marauding army into the swamps of Lake Chad, where they faced attacks from hippos, are almost impossible for audiences in developed nations to empathize with.

By contrast it’s tragically easy for most North Americans and Europeans to imagine terrorists striking in their cities.

The net effect: the attacks in Baga and Maiduguri seem impossibly distant, while the attacks in Paris seem local, relevant and pressing even to people equidistant from the two situations.

In part, it’s hard to imagine events in Nigeria because we encounter so little African news in general.

Dearth of African news impacts public debate

Media Cloud, a tool developed at MIT’s Center for Civic Media and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society measures comparative attention to topics and locations in different segments of the news media.

A study we conducted in April 2014 suggests that media outlets publish three to ten times as many stories about France than about Nigeria. This disparity is striking as Nigeria’s population (estimated at 173 million) is almost three times the size of France’s population (66 million).

There’s bad news for those hoping online media will change existing patterns of media attention: while broadcast news outlets ran 3.2 times as many stories about France as about Nigeria, online media outlets published more than ten times as many French as Nigerian stories (10.4 to be precise).

We tend to read about countries like Nigeria only when they are in crisis, from terrorist attack or epidemics like Ebola. Despite the shocking magnitude of the attacks in Baga, the story can feel predictable, as the news we get from Nigeria is generally bad news.

If the attacks in Nigeria feel like they are happening somewhere incomprehensibly far away, those in Paris feel close to home, and many commentators have reflected on the tragedy in Paris as a result."



"Most victims of Islamic terrorism are Muslim: between 82 and 97%, according to a study from the US National Counter Terrorism Center.

Attacks like the one on Paris are shocking, visible and rare, while attacks on Baga are common (though the scale of the Baga attack is unprecedented.)

When we understand extremist violence as attacks on urban, developed, symbolic targets, we’re missing a much broader, messier picture, where religious extremism blends with political struggles and where the victims are usually anonymous, uncelebrated and forgotten.

We miss the point that Islamic extremists are at war with other Muslims, that the source of terror is not a religion of 1.6 billion people, but a perverse, political interpretation held by a disenchanted few.

It’s right to mourn those killed in Paris, to celebrate the city’s resilience and to honor the heroes. But if we fail to mourn and to understand Baga as well, we see a picture of terrorism that’s simple, clear and deeply inaccurate."
ethanzuckerman  2015  bokoharam  media  charliehebdo  paris  france  nigeria  terrorism  protest  protests  islam  islamophobia  journalism  #JeSuisCharlieHebdo  #JeSuisCharlie 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Unmournable Bodies - The New Yorker
"A northern-Italian miller in the sixteenth century, known as Menocchio, literate but not a member of the literary élite, held a number of unconventional theological beliefs. He believed that the soul died with the body, that the world was created out of a chaotic substance, not ex nihilo, and that it was more important to love one’s neighbor than to love God. He found eccentric justification for these beliefs in the few books he read, among them the Decameron, the Bible, the Koran, and “The Travels of Sir John Mandeville,” all in translation. For his pains, Menocchio was dragged before the Inquisition several times, tortured, and, in 1599, burned at the stake. He was one of thousands who met such a fate.

Western societies are not, even now, the paradise of skepticism and rationalism that they believe themselves to be. The West is a variegated space, in which both freedom of thought and tightly regulated speech exist, and in which disavowals of deadly violence happen at the same time as clandestine torture. But, at moments when Western societies consider themselves under attack, the discourse is quickly dominated by an ahistorical fantasy of long-suffering serenity and fortitude in the face of provocation. Yet European and American history are so strongly marked by efforts to control speech that the persecution of rebellious thought must be considered among the foundational buttresses of these societies. Witch burnings, heresy trials, and the untiring work of the Inquisition shaped Europe, and these ideas extended into American history as well and took on American modes, from the breaking of slaves to the censuring of critics of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

More than a dozen people were killed by terrorists in Paris this week. The victims of these crimes are being mourned worldwide: they were human beings, beloved by their families and precious to their friends. On Wednesday, twelve of them were targeted by gunmen for their affiliation with the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo. Charlie has often been often aimed at Muslims, and it’s taken particular joy in flouting the Islamic ban on depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. It’s done more than that, including taking on political targets, as well as Christian and Jewish ones. The magazine depicted the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in a sexual threesome. Illustrations such as this have been cited as evidence of Charlie Hebdo’s willingness to offend everyone. But in recent years the magazine has gone specifically for racist and Islamophobic provocations, and its numerous anti-Islam images have been inventively perverse, featuring hook-nosed Arabs, bullet-ridden Korans, variations on the theme of sodomy, and mockery of the victims of a massacre. It is not always easy to see the difference between a certain witty dissent from religion and a bullyingly racist agenda, but it is necessary to try. Even Voltaire, a hero to many who extol free speech, got it wrong. His sparkling and courageous anti-clericalism can be a joy to read, but he was also a committed anti-Semite, whose criticisms of Judaism were accompanied by calumnies about the innate character of Jews.

This week’s events took place against the backdrop of France’s ugly colonial history, its sizable Muslim population, and the suppression, in the name of secularism, of some Islamic cultural expressions, such as the hijab. Blacks have hardly had it easier in Charlie Hebdo: one of the magazine’s cartoons depicts the Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, who is of Guianese origin, as a monkey (naturally, the defense is that a violently racist image was being used to satirize racism); another portrays Obama with the black-Sambo imagery familiar from Jim Crow-era illustrations.

On Thursday morning, the day after the massacre, I happened to be in Paris. The headline of Le Figaro was “LA LIBERTÉ ASSASSINÉE” Le Parisien and L’Humanité also used the word liberté in their headlines. Liberty was indeed under attack—as a writer, I cherish the right to offend, and I support that right in other writers—but what was being excluded in this framing? A tone of genuine puzzlement always seems to accompany terrorist attacks in the centers of Western power. Why have they visited violent horror on our peaceful societies? Why do they kill when we don’t? A widely shared illustration, by Lucille Clerc, of a broken pencil regenerating itself as two sharpened pencils, was typical. The message was clear, as it was with the “jesuischarlie” hashtag: that what is at stake is not merely the right of people to draw what they wish but that, in the wake of the murders, what they drew should be celebrated and disseminated. Accordingly, not only have many of Charlie Hebdo’s images been published and shared, but the magazine itself has received large sums of money in the wake of the attacks—a hundred thousand pounds from the Guardian Media Group and three hundred thousand dollars from Google.

But it is possible to defend the right to obscene and racist speech without promoting or sponsoring the content of that speech. It is possible to approve of sacrilege without endorsing racism. And it is possible to consider Islamophobia immoral without wishing it illegal. Moments of grief neither rob us of our complexity nor absolve us of the responsibility of making distinctions. The A.C.L.U. got it right in defending a neo-Nazi group that, in 1978, sought to march through Skokie, Illinois. The extreme offensiveness of the marchers, absent a particular threat of violence, was not and should not be illegal. But no sensible person takes a defense of those First Amendment rights as a defense of Nazi beliefs. The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were not mere gadflies, not simple martyrs to the right to offend: they were ideologues. Just because one condemns their brutal murders doesn’t mean one must condone their ideology.

Rather than posit that the Paris attacks are the moment of crisis in free speech—as so many commentators have done—it is necessary to understand that free speech and other expressions of liberté are already in crisis in Western societies; the crisis was not precipitated by three deranged gunmen. The U.S., for example, has consolidated its traditional monopoly on extreme violence, and, in the era of big data, has also hoarded information about its deployment of that violence. There are harsh consequences for those who interrogate this monopoly. The only person in prison for the C.I.A.’s abominable torture regime is John Kiriakou, the whistle-blower. Edward Snowden is a hunted man for divulging information about mass surveillance. Chelsea Manning is serving a thirty-five-year sentence for her role in WikiLeaks. They, too, are blasphemers, but they have not been universally valorized, as have the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo.

The killings in Paris were an appalling offence to human life and dignity. The enormity of these crimes will shock us all for a long time. But the suggestion that violence by self-proclaimed Jihadists is the only threat to liberty in Western societies ignores other, often more immediate and intimate, dangers. The U.S., the U.K., and France approach statecraft in different ways, but they are allies in a certain vision of the world, and one important thing they share is an expectation of proper respect for Western secular religion. Heresies against state power are monitored and punished. People have been arrested for making anti-military or anti-police comments on social media in the U.K. Mass surveillance has had a chilling effect on journalism and on the practice of the law in the U.S. Meanwhile, the armed forces and intelligence agencies in these countries demand, and generally receive, unwavering support from their citizens. When they commit torture or war crimes, no matter how illegal or depraved, there is little expectation of a full accounting or of the prosecution of the parties responsible.

The scale, intensity, and manner of the solidarity that we are seeing for the victims of the Paris killings, encouraging as it may be, indicates how easy it is in Western societies to focus on radical Islamism as the real, or the only, enemy. This focus is part of the consensus about mournable bodies, and it often keeps us from paying proper attention to other, ongoing, instances of horrific carnage around the world: abductions and killings in Mexico, hundreds of children (and more than a dozen journalists) killed in Gaza by Israel last year, internecine massacres in the Central African Republic, and so on. And even when we rightly condemn criminals who claim to act in the name of Islam, little of our grief is extended to the numerous Muslim victims of their attacks, whether in Yemen or Nigeria—in both of which there were deadly massacres this week—or in Saudi Arabia, where, among many violations of human rights, the punishment for journalists who “insult Islam” is flogging. We may not be able to attend to each outrage in every corner of the world, but we should at least pause to consider how it is that mainstream opinion so quickly decides that certain violent deaths are more meaningful, and more worthy of commemoration, than others.

France is in sorrow today, and will be for many weeks come. We mourn with France. We ought to. But it is also true that violence from “our” side continues unabated. By this time next month, in all likelihood, many more “young men of military age” and many others, neither young nor male, will have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere. If past strikes are anything to go by, many of these people will be innocent of wrongdoing. Their deaths will be considered as natural and incontestable as deaths like Menocchio’s, under the Inquisition. Those of us who are writers will not consider our pencils broken by such killings. But that incontestability, that unmournability, just as much as the massacre in Paris, is the clear and present danger to our collective libert… [more]
tejucole  2015  charliehebdo  politics  society  freedom  #JeSuisCharlieHebdo  france  freespeech  freedomofspeech  islam  gravenimages  middleages  medieval  power  language  religion  racism  liberty  violence  inquision  spanishinquision  ideology  edwardsnowden  chelseamanning  johnkiriakou  cia  yemen  nigeria  mexico  centralafricanrepublic  suadiarabia  pakistan  us  drones  #JeSuisCharlie 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Oroma Elewa Unearths ‘The Way We Plait’, Limited... | DYNAMIC AFRICA
"Oroma Elewa Unearths ‘The Way We Plait’, Limited Edition Pop’Africana Zine.

When Oroma Elewa's creative endeavor into the world of publishing first launched in 2009 in the form of Pop’Africana, it was more than a breath of fresh air. Curated by Elewa, both the print and digital platforms featured carefully conceptualized text and images ranging from fashion editorials and photography, to style features and intimate interview profiles of carefully selected creatives. All this and more made it incredibly difficult to see the project end in 2012.

Now, five years later, those of us who still feel unfulfilled by the hijacked and somewhat unfulfilled ‘Africa rising’ narrative, and still reference Oroma and her work when seeking Africa and diaspora-sourced inspiration, can breathe easy once again.

A few days ago, after a series of hints and teasers on instagram, Oroma released the first installment in Pop’Africana’s new limited edition zine series. The first edition, “The Way We Plait,” is an intimate chronicle of the details and processes that go into hair braiding. Inspired by a mixture of intrigue and curiosity, it “draws heavily from observations and experiences in the culture of hair making,” from scalp sensitivity to the hands of the hair maker. What’s more, the zine honors the iconic legacy of late Nigerian photographer J.D. Okhai Ojeikere who passed away earlier this year."
zines  oromaelewa  2014  Pop’Africanam  toread  jdokhaiojeikere  photography  africa  nigeria  africarising 
january 2015 by robertogreco
The Quietus | Features | Tome On The Range | Doors Of Appropriation: Teju Cole Interviewed
"Birds play a big part in the book and elsewhere in your journalism. Why is that?

TC: I like them because they represent other life. About a year ago I did an event with Vijay Iyer, one of America’s leading jazz musicians and Himanshu Suri, the rapper from Das Racist. Iyer and I did a suite called Open City, ten parts that he and I built around all the bird passages in the book and I did readings in between. It opens with geese then sparrows looking for a place to eat, starlings forming a vast cloud. There’s one moment with a hawk and then the final passage with the wrens, smashing into the Statue of Liberty.

I’m interested in birds as a different form of life which has as little understanding of what it's about as we do, and the fact that they’re aerial, so have a different point of view."
tejucole  2014  interviews  opencity  everydayisforthethirf  lagos  nigeria  africa  socialmedia  culture  polymaths  birds  perspective 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Ikire Jones: Lagos 2081A.D. on Behance
"I was hired by Wale Oyejide, founder of the inimitable "Ikire Jones" menswear fashion line to create a series of illustrations that combine the crowded and chaotic knot of improvised settlements and ramshackle high-rises that define many burgeoning African Mega-cities such as Lagos, Nigeria with imposing and futuristic super-structures straight out of science-fiction."

[via: https://twitter.com/senongo/status/527167269986918400 ]
lekanjeyifo  scifi  sciencefiction  lagos  2081  design  illustration  ikirejones  conceptart  future  architecture  nigeria  africa  fashion 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Minority languages: Cookies, caches and cows | The Economist
"OUSMANE sweats under a tin roof as he thumbs through a Chinese smartphone that he is selling at the technology market in Bamako, Mali. Words in French, Mali’s official language, scroll down the screen. “A ka nyi?” (Is it good?) a customer asks him in Bambara, Mali’s most widely used tongue.

Mozilla, the foundation behind Firefox, an open-source web browser, wants Ousmane’s customers to have the option of a device that speaks their language. Smartphones with its operating system (OS) are already on sale in 24 countries, including Bangladesh, India and Mexico, for as little as $33. Other countries will be added as it makes more deals with handset manufacturers. And Bambara is one of dozens of languages into which volunteer “localisers” are translating the OS.

Mozilla has 230 localisation teams, says Jeff Beatty, who co-ordinates some from his office in Utah. Their work takes both time and ingenuity. Firefox for a computer uses about 40,000 words; for the phone OS, 16,000. Translators must express technological terms in languages shaped by livestock, farming and fishing, and choose alternatives for culture-specific words such as “cookie”, “file” and “mouse”.

Ibrahima Sarr, a Senegalese coder, led the translation of Firefox into Fulah, which is spoken by 20m people from Senegal to Nigeria. “Crash” became hookii (a cow falling over but not dying); “timeout” became a honaama (your fish has got away). “Aspect ratio” became jeendondiral, a rebuke from elders when a fishing net is wrongly woven. In Malawi’s Chichewa language, which has 10m speakers, “cached pages” became mfutso wa tsamba, or bits of leftover food. The windowless houses of the 440,000 speakers of Zapotec, a family of indigenous languages in Mexico, meant that computer “windows” became “eyes”.

The world speaks nearly 7,000 languages. Mali, with a population of 15m, has 13 national languages and 40-60 smaller ones, depending on where the border between language and dialect is drawn. Firefox is available in 90 languages, which serve almost all of the 40% of the global population already online. Apple’s most recent computer OS offers 33 languages out of the box, and the new iPhone, 35. Google offers 150, including dialects (and some spurious ones such as “Pirate”). But some languages spoken by millions are excluded, including Tibetan (3m-4m speakers) and Bambara (10m, including those for whom it is a second tongue). Bringing the rest of the world online is not just a technical challenge, but a linguistic one.

As a non-profit, Mozilla can put effort into languages that offer no prospect of a quick return. Songhai and Fulah, recently made available in Firefox, are spoken mainly by poor, illiterate herders and farmers in the Sahel, who do not have smartphones. But when such people eventually get online, they will benefit more if they can do so in their own tongues.

As more languages are added, the Firefox OS will create a sort of global Rosetta stone. It uses all parts of speech, and older, colourful words are pressed into service. Mozilla has created a statistical tool for linguistic analyses. And though 40,000 words is not a whole vocabulary, it is a significant part. As well as bringing the linguistically excluded online, localisation may keep small languages alive."
language  localization  mozilla  code  coding  2014  firefox  senegal  fulah  africa  nigeria  technology  metaphor 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: 'Don't we all write about love? When men do it, it's a political comment. When women do it, it's just a love story' | Books | The Guardian
"Compared to the strict educational environment in which Adichie grew up, the US education system seemed extremely slack. In Americanah, Ifemelu marvels at how students open their mouths without having anything much to say; how everyone gets an "A" and can take tests more than once. How they are "all flush with knowledge, not of the subject of the classes, but of how to be in the classes".

By comparison, Adichie says, she felt she had no appropriate schtick. "I remember my first year in undergrad I was sitting in class and just looking around, utterly confused. I thought, what are they saying? It was kind of a performance. And I felt so inadequate because I didn't know how. And I think at some point I learned to play the game, but it's just not me. It's very hard for me to bullshit.""



"There were two people above all others who she wanted to read it: her father and Chinua Achebe. Her agent sent it to the latter without telling her, and then called her one day and told her to sit down, she had good news. Then she read Adichie his comment – "We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers" – at which she burst into tears.

As for her father; she left the novel with him the day before she left Nigeria, so she wasn't in the house when he read it. A few days later, he sent her a text: "Call me, I've finished." Terrified, Adichie made the call.

"And then he said to me, 'I knew the novel would be good; I didn't know it would be this good.' And then he said thank you, 'Our story has been recorded.' I remember thinking, OK, it's over. I don't care what anybody else thinks. My father was central and he was so generous; I had used so many of his stories. It's still very painful for him. And then writing it in a novel where people also have sex and scandalous things happen." She laughs. "I was like, oh my God, I don't know what daddy's going to think!""



"There is nothing like emigrating to encourage a sense of condescension towards the motherland, and absence, she says, has made her both love and criticise Nigeria more. "If I hadn't left home I wouldn't have come to see what is possible. If you're enmeshed in mediocrity, you just don't know how mediocre it all is. And because I know the potential in Nigeria, whenever I go back I think we could do better. Because I've seen how it's not that hard."

Since leaving, she has began to see what she calls the Nigerian swagger – the attitude that causes resentment in other African countries. "We're not popular in any part of Africa. And we're rather proud of it. If I wasn't Nigerian, I think I would understand why. There's a kind of Nigerian aggressiveness … 'Why shouldn't we?' We'll do it very loudly and without much finesse, but hey. Inside Nigeria there are different cultures, but this is Nigerianness – it cuts across ethnic groups. I don't know if it's from our large size, I don't know if it's because we never had white people settle and stay. So Nigerians go to Kenya and Tanzania and we think, why are you so apologetic?"

Adichie is quite up for a fight if one comes along. A moderator on a panel recently infelicitously called Americanah "a Nigerian Gone With the Wind", and she just about managed not to fly out of her seat, but said coldly: "I hope it's better than that." The love-story element is something she feels is often undervalued.

"Don't we all in the end write about love? All literature is about love. When men do it, it's a political comment on human relations. When women do it, it's just a love story. So, although I wanted to do much more than a love story, a part of me wants to push back against the idea that love stories are not important. I wanted to use a love story to talk about other things. But really in the end, it's just a love story.""
chimamandaadichie  chimamandangoziadichie  sexism  gender  love  2014  feminism  stereotypes  hairstyles  hair  education  nigeria  writing  wisdom  canon 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Watch Zadie Smith and Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie Talk Postcolonial Lit - COLORLINES
"It’s hard to find two writers who are more important than Zadie Smith and Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie. Both women have written wonderfully well-recieved novels that often touch on race. On Wednesday, March 19 at 6:30pm EST they’ll be in conversation at the Schomberg Center and the discussion will be broadcast live.

What is especially is interesting is how Adichie’s most recent novel, “Americanah,” has opened up dialogue between American-born black women and black women born in Caribbean and African countries. Will they discuss that? We’ll see."
zadiesmith  chimamandangoziadichie  chimamandaadichie  literature  race  postcolonial  2014  class  writing  love  empathy  nigeria  us  uk  reality  perspective  africa  africans  africanamericans  immigrants  migrants  immigration  identity  youth  life  living 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Interview: Teju Cole, Author Of 'Every Day Is For The Thief' : NPR
"You know, the first move towards true equality is to have the person you're addressing understand that you're just as complex as they are, and that your stories are just as important as theirs are. So I think that is part of the work I do."
tejucole  2014  complexity  empathy  equality  writing  literature  nigeria  perspective  humanism  everydayisforthethief 
march 2014 by robertogreco
New, privatized African city heralds climate apartheid | Environment | theguardian.com
"Nigeria's Eko Atlantic augurs how the super-rich will exploit the crisis of climate change to increase inequality and seal themselves off from its impacts"
nigeria  ekoatlantic  cities  inequality  2014  martinlukacs  climateapartheid  segregation  wealth  class  climateurbanism  via:javierarbona  seasteading 
january 2014 by robertogreco
MAKOKO FLOATING SCHOOL | NLÉ
"Makoko Floating School is a prototype floating structure, built for the historic water community of Makoko, located on the lagoon heart of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. As a pilot project, it has taken an innovative approach to address the community’s social and physical needs in view of the impact of climate change and a rapidly urbanizing African context. Its main aim is to generate a sustainable, ecological, alternative building system and urban water culture for the teeming population of Africa’s coastal regions."

[via: http://www.designindaba.com/news/staying-afloat ]
architecture  design  schooldesign  floating  climatehange  lagos  nigeria  africa  urbanization  sustainability  mobility  kunléadeyemi  nlé  makokofloatingschool 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Nigeria hopes Kano's ancient textile traditions can boost trade and tourism | World news | The Guardian
"For centuries, merchants flocked across Saharan trade routes to buy the deep blue cloth of Kano, a former emirate which in its heydays rivalled Timbuktu for wealth and scholarship. Traded for gold, ivory and salt, the city's indigo fabric became a symbol of wealth and nobility. Even today, indigo turbans are reserved for the emir's courtiers.

"The royal design is the most difficult, it takes two weeks to make," said Lawan, as she tied an intricate burst of spirals. "If there's even one mistake, the whole thing spoils," she said, sitting upon an antique wooden chest.

Some clients have changed little in centuries. Known as the "blue men of the desert", Tuaregs still travel thousands of miles over the Sahara's dunes to buy the fabric. Swathed in blue-black turbans that reveal only their eyes, the nomads earned their nickname from a penchant for cloths whose dye hasn't fixed, staining their faces. "Even the war in Mali hasn't stopped them coming," said Aleja Audu, the city's 73-year-old sarkin karofi or chief dyer.

Indigo textile art was once widespread across west Africa, as far east as the grassland kingdoms of Cameroon. The bug bit even colonialists who arrived in the 1800s. Heinrich Barth, one of the first European explorers to reach Kano, proudly wrote home of buying his first patterned shirt."
textiles  indigo  africa  nigeria  2013  glvo  kano 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Lost Nigeria
"Lost Nigeria is a series of photo essays showing my mother's life in Africa."
senongoakpem  mothers  memory  nigeria  photography  photoessays  personalhitories  storytelling  africa 
july 2013 by robertogreco
"Learning from Lagos", Matthew Gandy [.pdf]
"To treat the city as a living art installation, or compare it to the neutral space of a research laboratory, is both to de-historicize & to depoliticize its experience. The informal economy of poverty celebrated by the Harvard team is the result of a specific set of policies pursued by Nigeria’s military dictatorships over the last decades under IMF & World Bank guidance, which decimated the metropolitan economy."

"Lagos provides ample evidence for Mike Davis’s contention that rapid urban growth in the context of structural adjustment, currency devaluation & state retrenchment has been a ‘recipe for the mass production of slums’."

"The scale of the city, its extreme poverty & ethnic polarization now present real obstacles to rebuilding its social & physical fabric. Though informal networks & settlements may meet immediate needs for some, & determined forms of community organizing may produce measurable improvements, grassroots responses alone cannot coordinate the structural…"
society  grassroots  informalnetworks  mikedavis  history  imperialism  politics  policy  economics  postcolumbian  colonialism  projectonthecity  transportation  infrastructure  urbanplanning  planning  growth  mutations  westafrica  africa  chaos  nigeria  urbanism  urban  cities  design  remkoolhaas  architecture  lagos  via:javierarbona 
may 2012 by robertogreco
…My heart’s in Accra » Teju Cole: Every Day is for The Thief
"One of the loveliest blogs of the past few years was Teju Cole’s…has subsequently disappeared, leaving dozens of dead links…Blogs usually don’t work like this – they outlive the enthusiasm of their authors, lying neglected & silent. The Japanese call dead blogs “ishikoro” – pebbles. A missing blog is something else, a hole, like a dropped stitch in a row of knitting…

I’ve been exhuming the digital remains of Teju Cole…via the Wayback Machine…in the wake of reading his lovely & all too short “Every Day is for The Thief“…one of the best books I’ve read this year…one that I plan to press into the hands of friends travelling to West Africa for the first time…especially into the hands of African friends returning home.

I don’t know why Cole took down his brilliant blog, or why this beautiful book ends on a lovely but abrupt note. But if I respect a man’s right to speak, I’ve also got to respect his silence."
nigeria  lagos  thirdculture  identity  belonging  2008  writing  ishikoro  waybackmachine  silence  blogging  blogs  ethanzuckerman  everydayisforthethief  tejucole  books  africa 
may 2012 by robertogreco
The New Yorker - In this week’s New Yorker, the Journeys Issue,...
"In this week’s New Yorker, the Journeys Issue, Teju Cole writes about coming to America. Here Cole takes in the skyline from the roof of his apartment building in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and reflects on his American citizenship and Nigerian upbringing."

[video also here: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid897219300001 ]
citizenship  sunsetpark  brooklyn  nigeria  nyc  2011  memory  place  belonging  tejucole 
may 2012 by robertogreco
BBC - BBC World Service Programmes - The Forum, 08/08/2010
"Eminent sociologist Amitai Etzioni, says if our modern consumer society is the problem, then the answer is a ‘communitarian’ approach. But can this really work?

Getting beyond the individual is also what Nigerian novelist Teju Cole explores. In his case it’s not people around him, it’s communing with the past inhabitants of cities.

And from individual to common ownership in music: should songs belong to everyone? German musicologist Dr Daniel Müllensiefen dissects musical plagiarism."
amitaietzioni  communitarianism  consumerism  society  2010  tejucole  books  danielmüllensiefen  music  musicology  plagiarism  copyright  ip  economics  cities  past  memory  lagos  nigeria 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Warren Ellis » GUEST INFORMANT: Jan Chipchase
"The trick on the ground is to be able to read both the persons and the context and to create a situation where interaction with the stranger in their midst is the natural next step. It’s like picking someone up in a bar but without the sexual intent. Show respect before, during and after the conversation, leverage non-verbal cues and pay attention to the details. It’s not just about reading the street – you need to let the street read you.

One informal research method that you won’t find written up in any manual is called the Meanest Motherfucker – seek out the meanest, most unlikely candidate for an interview (whether or not they have an oedipus complex) and open them up to a meaningful conversation. Child’s play, if only because mean is subjective, and bound by the limits of our experience of the human condition…

Everyone has a story to tell, most people don’t have someone to listen.

Never ask the question if you’re not willing to listen to, and act upon the answer."

[See also: http://janchipchase.com/2011/09/the-meanest-mofo/ ]
janchipchase  listening  warrenellis  designethnography  ethnography  fieldwork  interviews  nigeria  lagos  2011 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Future Perfect » The ‘Name’ Card
"Inspired partly by Herr Siebert’s printed name cards, and partly by the availability of the moveable type in this Ibadan shanty town community – decided to make some old-school name cards. In the age of real-time/near-time search, persistent data and (for this writer) a unique enough name – what is the minimal level of information that needs to go on a name card?"
name  identity  search  moveabletype  letterpress  namecards  businesscards  2011  janchipchase  africa  ibadan  nigeria  minimalism  uniqueness 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Future Perfect » Caco
"Day 1 in Lagos – setting up our pop-up design studio. 2 weeks on the ground with a strong local crew, so much to learn, to much to do. Highlight? Taking an okada across town to pick up supplies and outrunning the union guys trying to collect their daily levy – somehow managing it despite their optimal vantage point at the edge of a gridlocked round-about. These are the days."

[See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okada_(commercial_motorcycle) ]
janchipchase  lagos  nigeria  okada  transportation  motorcycles  2011  play  work  howwework  popup  popupstudio  lcproject  learning  pop-updesignstudio  studios  design  pop-ups 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Diary (2010) on Vimeo
"'Diary' is a highly personal and experimental film that expresses the subjective experience of my work, and was made as an attempt to locate myself after ten years of reporting. It's a kaleidoscope of images that link our western reality to the seemingly distant worlds we see in the media."
timhetherington  2010  video  history  war  africa  experimental  film  journalism  photography  photojournalism  experience  storytelling  classideas  westafrica  sierraleone  liberia  nigeria  restrepo  afghanistan  libya 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story | Video on TED.com
"Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding."
storytelling  culture  africa  culturalbias  bias  media  generalizations  writing  literature  ted  chimamandaadichie  truth  complexity  voice  experience  classideas  stereotypes  partialview  perception  nigeria  dignity  preconception  misunderstanding  chinuaachebe  books  chimamandangoziadichie 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Art:21 . Alfredo Jaar . Biography . Documentary Film | PBS
"In installations, photographs, film, and community-based projects, Jaar explores the public’s desensitization to images and the limitations of art to represent events such as genocides, epidemics, and famines. Jaar’s work bears witness to military conflicts, political corruption, and imbalances of power between industrialized and developing nations. Subjects addressed in his work include the holocaust in Rwanda, gold mining in Brazil, toxic pollution in Nigeria, and issues related to the border between Mexico and the United States."
alfredojaar  art  chile  artists  borders  us  mexico  rwanda  brasil  nigeria  activism  media  desensitization  brazil 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Global Guerrillas: HOLLOW STATES vs. FAILED STATES
"So, if the question is whether Mexico, Pakistan, Nigeria, etc are in danger of becoming hollow states, the answer is yes. In fact, I suggest that they are already there. Are we headed in the same direction?"
johnrobb  mexico  government  politics  us  pakistan  nigeria  failedstates  hollowstates  terrorism  crisis  2009 
march 2009 by robertogreco
NussbaumOnDesign One Laptop Per Child Has It's First Test. Result? It Has A Long Way To Go. - BusinessWeek
"Then there is the cost. I personally hadn't added up all the money that goes into the $100" laptop. What, in fact, is the true bottom line cost of the OLPC? Will governments that accept the OLPC subsidize the operating cost--electricity, repairs, etc.?"
olpc  nigeria  africa  laptops  children  costs  money  government 
december 2007 by robertogreco
BBC NEWS | Technology | Glimpsing Nigeria's digital lifeline
"Until recently there was nothing that marked out Galadima primary school as anything out of the ordinary."
olpc  nigeria  africa  laptops  internet  infrastructure  technology  education  children 
december 2007 by robertogreco
Lagos la Vida Loca // Current
"By next year, more than half the world's population will for the first time in history be living in cities. Current's Mariana van Zeller tours Lagos, Nigeria, the world's fastest-growing "Megacity.""
africa  lagos  nigeria  video  megacities  cities  population  urban  urbanism  growth 
december 2007 by robertogreco
BenettonTalk - African? Switzerland is not for you
"In this spot, run at half-time during a football match between Nigeria & Switzerland, the Swiss Government invites African people to stay where they are since what they would find in Switzerland is a life of troubles, poverty, violence and persecution."
switzerland  immigration  africa  nigeria  cameroon  propaganda  fear 
november 2007 by robertogreco
BBC NEWS | Technology | Politics 'stifling $100 laptop'
"A lack of "big thinking" by politicians has stifled a scheme to distribute laptops to children in the developing world, a spokesman has said."
olpc  laptops  computers  nigeria 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Michael Stevenson - Pieter Hugo
"These photographs came about after a friend emailed me an image taken on a cellphone through a car window in Lagos, Nigeria, which depicted a group of men walking down the street with a hyena in chains. A few days later I saw the image reproduced in a So
africa  animals  nigeria  photography 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Photos: Nigerian students power up their laptops | CNET News.com
"One of OLPC's major goals is helping children feel comfortable customizing their laptop configurations and guiding their own learning. Some laptops barely made it out of the plastic packaging before the students began experimenting."
olpc  nigeria  africa  $100  laptops 
april 2007 by robertogreco
BBC NEWS | In pictures: Desert shrimps, Locust ritual
"In Nigeria’s far north-eastern Borno State, man is biting back against the desert locust, reports the BBC News website's Senan Murray."
food  africa  nigeria  insects  adaptation  environment 
january 2007 by robertogreco

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