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Dérive connectée (Connected Drift)

Sunday 4 November 2012

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Time and space are two notions that, in Africa, do not encompass the same realities as they do in other parts of the world. The African city can be disorienting for someone who is not familiar with it. It is not unusual that, at the corner of an alleyway, one will find oneself in a cul-de-sac or in a house’s open courtyard. However, exploring cities such as Cotonou in Benin, Nairobi in Kenya, or Abidjan on the Ivory Coast can reveal many surprises.

The project, Dérive connectée (Connected Drift), by the association Bénin Connexion proposes that a group of "walkers" allow themselves to wander at random in an African city, while another group carries out the same operation simultaneously in a European city. This indeterminate dérive connects two distant places with different configurations and makes it possible, in an exploratory mode, to appropriate them. Superimposing two promenades makes it possible to create a virtually identical path that gives birth to a new urban aesthetic. This aesthetic can exist across mediums: poetry, prose, photography, drawing, sound or video recordings, etc.

The new key obtained is thus the "open sesame" that authorizes the reading of an urban space, whether it is located in a country in the South or North. Assessing a city will hence be different, and connected to one that is tens or hundreds of leagues away. The metropolis will lose that which dehumanizes it, makes it cold, rational, and even traumatizing. And the pleasure that can be gained in wandering across a city by letting oneself drift haphazardly down avenues, streets, and alleyways, will become one of the best therapies for the fear inspired by "the great devourer," the city, that ogre!

D.H.