aside from examining the urban conditions of nigeria's two major cities, one of the key subjects of debate within this studio is how nigeria copes with neoliberalism and how it will shape nigeria's future. the central concepts are global currencies, free trade, direct foreign investment and financial markets. why is this discussion crucial in the overall critique of nigeria? because the concept that is missing is sovereign nations.
neoliberalism was popularized after the two world wars and the great depression for its conceptual framework of financial governance, which would make the people of the world interdependent. these new relationships would potentially render the national rivalries ossified by these conflicts obsolete. according to david westbrook in his book, city of gold: an apology for global capitalism in a time of discontent, the tools of the transformation were complex monetary treaties, deliberately impenetrable to all, except for specialists. the result, after thirty years of back-channel deals and shadowy agreements is a reckless community of bankers, brokers, corporations, regulators and private investors, equipped with the latest communicative devices allowing them to exercise control over the outcome of world affairs by decisions that make them money. this is the "city of gold" that westbrook defines in his book.
what's interesting to me about these systems is their relentless strength. when one considers the innumerable moving parts that are shaping nigeria's identity, neoliberal principles have claimed ownership of the discussion of how nigeria evolves economically, culturally, and politically. obviously nigeria's history of military and tribal conflict have given them every reason to develop a troubled relationship with their past, but the instinct of the state and the nigerian people to further distance themselves from themselves is only magnified by the global financial machine. nigeria's problem isn't the lack of production/distribution of food, resources and energy. instead, the issue is the production of imagery that generates a narrative that actually highlights the disjunction between reality and fiction.
my objective is to identify what is missing.
other thoughts/notes as a result of last wednesday's midreview :
- this research seems to be about control: what to control, and where to relinquish this control, therefore the programmatic agenda can be based on design controls.
- this can become more lucid once i am able to state the problem, and explain what it is, in detail, in my own terms.
- what becomes the threshold between the real and the unreal? media? image? silence? does this become a white space that is activated by some form of discourse? what sort of interaction can it generate? does it necessarily need to be positive? can it be activated by conflict, given the context?
- the nigerian state want to cleanse themselves their past, but what does the rest of the nation prefer? do they have the same degree of memory loss?
- what happens on a site may not make sense on a map, and these events may not be necessarily mappable in the first place. what is mappable may not want to be mapped.
- this requires a new technique of mapping.
- this mapping can endeavor to bring something to the surface - does it give the missing urban and cultural components visibility?
- this could be a collection of spaces where this conflict can play itself out.
- movement. time. identity.
- Stages : what stages are absent? what stages are missing? what stages are no longer necessary in the choreography and creation of the artificial city?
- precedents: Learning From Las Vegas, Lagos Wide & Close, Kevin Lynch's Image of the City, Archigram's Instant City, etc.