DAK’ART 2014

11ème Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain 09/05>08/06

Emeka Ogboh


  • Copyright Adolphus Opara

LOSlantic : sound and object installation, variable (room size), 2014, Courtesy of the artist.

Emeka Ogboh works with sound recording inspired by the infinite soundscapes of Lagos, Nigeria. For Ogboh, sound is a way to understand the particular character of a city. How then is one to comprehend the character of a city that is in the process of being? In LOSlantic, Ogboh imagines a futuristic city, the Eko Atlantic, an ultramodern city for the very wealthy, currently being constructed on reclaimed land in the Atlantic Ocean, surrounding Lagos Island by private partnership between the Lagos State government and a private real estate company. The installation of LOSlantic imagines a city, like Eko Atlantic, rising from the sea. The wooden paneled speakers evoke an image of sandcastles petrified into the shape of futuristic buildings. The sounds for this work were recorded in cities around the world. Lagos is looking up to many of these cities in its quest to fashion its utopian vision of hyper modernity. It is tempting to view the sound installation as a science-fiction depiction of a city. Everything is planned, clean and manmade and sharply contrasts with the rest of Lagos. However, the themes that Ogboh draws our attention to are self-evident. For example, the rope barrier surrounding the installation makes it accessible from a distance. The ropes are thus both a physical barrier and a figurative one that symbolizes a psychological divide between what the rich possess and what the poor are only permitted to fantasize about.

Emeka Ogboh is a Nigerian artist, whose works contemplates broad notions of listening and hearing as its main focus. He works primarily with sound, and video in exploring ways of understanding cities as cosmopolitan spaces with their unique characters. It has been his goal to employ field recordings to explore the history and aural infrastructure of cities, in particular his city of abode, Lagos, Nigeria. The corpus of works produced from these sound recordings has led to the Lagos soundscapes project, which documents the mega city through sound. Emeka has exhibited variously in Nigeria, and Internationally, at venues including, the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos; Menil Collection, Houston; Whitworth and Manchester city galleries; MassMoca Massachusetts; Museum of Contemporary Arts Kiasma, Helsinki, Haus fur elektronische Kunste, Basel and Rauternstrauch-Joset-Museum, Cologne. Emeka is the co-founder of the Video Art Network Lagos, and was part of the Media Lab in Africa delegation to the 16th International Symposium on Electronic Art, ISEARHUR 2010 (Dortmund, 2010).

See also: www.lagossoundscape.com

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