Reimagining Future African Cities

Nieuwe Instituut, together with the Prince Claus Fund, the Creative Industries Fund NL and African Architecture Matters, presents a day of talks and workshops dedicated to critically exploring and (re)imagining the future of African cities. This programme accompanies the exhibition Water Cities Rotterdam. By Kunle Adeyemi.

datum: 14 October 2023
2 p.m.– 3.45 p.m. (part 1 Building Beyond)
Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam
: €0 – €10

Building Beyond
is a programme of the Prince Claus Fund in partnership with the Creative Industries Fund. It brings together the experiences of African creatives whose work is reimagining the future of their cities. The programme hosts 12 creatives and four mentors from 14 African countries. They work across a wide range of spatial practices, including architecture, urbanism, digital design, visual arts, photography and performance. Through their creative practices, they look at their cities and ask: what are the processes that define our shared spaces, what are the forms we should use to develop them, and who will participate in shaping them?

During the panels, the four mentors guiding the 12 creatives will discuss the paradox between the present conditions of different cities and the ‘prescribed’ future of the African city. They will look at how the proposed future of the African city is fuelled by unsustainable dynamics and offer alternative tools and methods, such as using the vernacular as a technology, mapping resonances, and bringing to light spatial imaginaries.

- African Anthropocene, moderated by Nzinga B. Mboup – Senegal/Cameroon (architect and researcher)
Reflecting on how the construct of modernity that continues to be sought in African cities is fuelled by extractive industries that create toxic landscapes and further marginalise communities.
- Vernacular Technology, moderated by Hicham Bouzid – Morocco (cultural practitioner and independent curator)
Rethinking informality in order to change the conversation about the informal economy in Africa.
- Cities of Resonance, moderated by Ola Hassanain – Sudan/Amsterdam (artist and architect)
Moving beyond the perceived determinism of the future of the African city, and instead mapping the resonances in the work of African practitioners in order to connect our realities to the material conditions in which we find ourselves.
- Between Imaginary and Image, moderated by Khensani Jurczok-de Klerk – South Africa/Switzerland (architectural researcher and designer)
What are the implications, frictions, and possibilities of spatial storytelling in geographies embedded in imaginaries of exclusion?

In Building Beyond participate:
- Ana Raquel Machava – Mozambique (architect and urbanist)
- Arafa C. Hamadi – Tanzania (multidisciplinair artist)
- Blqees Zuhair – Libië (artist and curator)
- Helen Zeru – Ethiopië (multidisciplinair artist)
- Jepkorir Rose Kiptum – Kenia (curator)
- Mika’il, the Muezzin – Zuid-Afrika (storyteller, translator and social sculptor)
- Neec Nonso – Nigeria (artist and photographer)
- Olufémi Hinson Yovo – Benin (architect and artist)
- Rania Atef – Egypte (artist)
- Sara Fahkry Ismail – Egypte (artist, performance artist and somatic therapist)
- Chidumaga Uzoma Orji – Nigeria (visual and experimental artist)
- Wezile Harmans – Zuid-Afrika (artist)

part II: Foundations for Future African Cities
4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
African Architecture Matters (AAmatters) takes a critical look at mapping as methodology for inclusive urban development through a presentation by Iga Perzyna (director of AAmatters) reflecting on their project for Ng’ambo in Zanzibar and with their recent experiences garnered from Cairo as an introduction for a debate, this programme element focusses on why we map, how to map and methods to include inhabitants in sustainable and inclusive development processes. Followed by a conversation between her and Marie Morel who will moderate and lead the Q&A.

part III: Revisiting Lagos with Rem Koolhaas
6 p.m.-7.30 p.m.

More than 25 years after his first encounter with Lagos, architect Rem Koolhaas looks back on his groundbreaking research on the dynamism, frictions and possibilities of the Nigerian megacity. Taking extracts from his numerous visits, his work with students at Harvard for Project on the City, and the documentary Lagos: Wide and Close made with film director Bregtje van der Haak, Koolhaas shares his fascination with, and key learnings from, the city.

Water Cities Public Programme
For the exhibition Water Cities Rotterdam. By Kunlé Adeyemi, Nieuwe Instituut organises an extensive public programme with activities linked to themes explored in the exhibition and on the floating pavilions in the ponds around the institute, from Sunday morning yoga to documentaries, and from talk shows to live radio.