African Mobilities: Exhibition at the Architecture Museum of the TU Munich
Duration of exhibition: Until 19 August 2018
Location: Architecture Museum of the Technical University Munich at the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich
An interdisciplinary team of African architects, urban planners, filmmakers, artists, sociologists and authors came together to develop measures addressing this issue and its global implications. In order to discuss, analyse and then illustrate conceivable scenarios for the “African Mobilities” exhibition, the working group visited eleven different locations throughout Africa as well as New York and Munich.
The results of their research are now presented in three categories and in different formats. Artworks, graphic novels, essays, films and audiobooks not only express concrete architectural approaches, they also confront visitors with complex scenarios drawing on the fields of art and science.
For example, the category “Cartography and Movement” takes a look back in time. The Chimurenga Library, a project by Chimurenga, a publisher and broadcaster based in Cape Town, has compiled an archive of more than 500 titles from literature and music in order to preserve voices from pan-African history. In addition to pure knowledge transfer, the exhibition aims to serve as a meeting point and forum for intellectual exchange. To reach an even wider audience, the various media presented at the exhibition site can also be experienced online.
Prototypes such as the “Niamey 2000 Housing” project by united4design give visitors a concrete idea of what contemporary, urban forms of living can look like. In the Nigerian capital of Niamey, an apartment complex consisting of six private units responds to the current housing crisis through densification. The united4design team entered into an exemplary dialogue with the immediate surroundings by drawing on traditional building methods. Instead of importing concrete for use as a building material, the architects opted for unfired reddish-brown masonry sourced from locally-quarried laterite. Passive cooling ensures a comfortable room climate. The project is a clear example of a new housing development geared toward the middle class.
Hypothetical forecasts for the future are also presented in the exhibition, for example by Olalekan Jeyifous and Wale Lawal with their vision of the “Mad Horse City”. Encouraging visitors to consider unconventional alternatives, the virtual 360-degree installation depicts a futuristic urban slum community in the heart of Lagos. With their installation, the artists show how displaced people might establish independent structures through resistance and initiative, leading to the creation of a new, communal approach to life.
The exhibition design by Ilze Wolff (partner at Wolff Architects in Cape Town) brings together the impressions from the various exhibits on display and offers an informative overview of a complex and heterogeneous topic. The natural, black and yellow-painted wooden sculptural elements often integrate seating that invites visitors to linger, reflect and communicate.
Instead of producing a catalogue, an online platform was established for interested visitors based well beyond Munich. This pool of information will continue to be filled with content and can also be accessed after the conclusion of the exhibition in Munich.
“African Mobilities” is a collaboration between the Architekturmuseum der TU at the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The exhibition was supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. With the support of the Goethe Institute, “African Mobilities” will make the long journey to Africa in order to give the African population direct impulses and return to its origins, where so many of the exhibition’s preparatory workshops were held.