Suturing the City: Living Together in Congo's Urban Worlds


“In Kinshasa as in Congo’s other cities, the concept of hole, or libulu in Lingala (which is the city’s lingua franca), has come to define the wretched, dreary place that the city has become for many of its inhabitants. ‘Hole’ has become a local master trope, a conceptual figure, to express the dismal quality of urban life in the postcolonial city. In the minds of many, the city has quite literally become ‘hollowed land’.“ — Filip De Boeck, p. 13

This publication was produced by Autograph ABP, London in association with WIELS, Brussels and The Power Plant. It accompanies the exhibition Sammy Baloji & Filip De Boeck – Urban Now: City Life in Congo, curated by Devrim Bayar and presented at The Power Plant from 29 September to 31 December 2017. The exhibition was initiated by WIELS, Brussels, in collaboration with The Power Plant, Toronto, The Open Society Foundations, New York, and Galerias Municipais/EGEAC, Lisbon.

The publication offers a photographic investigation into the complex meanings of living, and living together, in Congo's urban worlds today. Anthropologist Filip De Boeck and photographer Sammy Baloji take the reader on a tour of specific urban sites in Kinshasa and beyond. They examine how, amid the chaos of a decaying colonial legacy and the unfulfilled promises of neoliberal futures, certain sites emerge as suturing points where the possibilities of collective urban action and dreams of a shared future continue to be explored.

Product Information

  • Author(s): Filip De Boeck, Sammy Baloji
  • Editor: The Power Plant
  • Publisher: Autograph ABP, London; Galerie Imane Farès, Paris; WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; The Power Plant, Toronto.
  • Year: 2016
  • ISBN: 13-978-1-899282-19-7
  • Pages: 328
  • Illustrations: 170 colour illustrations
  • Dimensions: 26 x 21 x 4 cm, hardcover
  • Availability: In Stock