Echoes of the resistance

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“There is a type of drum that resonates as if several are being beaten at once. The same is true for certain voices and songs.” Achille Mbembe

Whenever one thinks about it, every political action – especially in the XXth Century – had to do with its vocalization. Our first element of protest, our reign of power is first and foremost our body, our voice. The student movements of 1968 throughout the world represented the vocalization of the student as a political figure, as an active and demanding member of society. The students took the streets and the public discourse. It was with the power of voice that a movement became a reality. Now, when we try to find more about the residues of the 1968 Senegalese Student Movement we are only able to find remains, minuscule particles of what once was a life, a vigorous and standing voice. We need to ask ourselves if we are not searching in the wrong place: in documents, in newspapers; because when a voice was so strong, as those of 1968 were, it must have left an echo behind.

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An installation of at least 8 megaphones was placed in front of the library of the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal. These  megaphones automatically reproduced songs of the archival material of the Association de Étudiants Sénégalais en France (AESF) from 1989. This installation was activated as a night walk for visitors to hear the voices of the protest songs while walking the university’s campus.

The aim of this installation was for visitors to appreciate and to ponder upon the UCAD’s history and past students by their own. By reproducing these songs the architectural and historical materiality of the premise allow for reflexion and the possibly for encountering echos of the former and present students of the UCAD.

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This installation was done as part of the Raw Material Company program for the OFF Biennale in Dakar, Senegal. This intervention was framed as part of the curatorial project The Revolution Will Come in a Form We Cannot Yet Imagine by Dulcie Abrahams Altass. 

Thank you to the support of the student association Karbone 14.

Material history of the university

Can we rely on what objects have to tell us? Which (hi)stories are objects telling us? Which is the potency and the agency of objects?

This photographic series ponders upon the idea of material history. It is a collection of objects found at the street known as “couloir de la mort” (death row) located in the campus of the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal.

Lux mea spes

Numerous students living at the student houses from the Cheikh Anta Diop university in Dakar, Senegal; go out every night to study under the street lights of the campus boulevard. Every night they go to memorize and rehearse words; words meaningful to their future practices. Jacques Derrida understands the university profession – professors – to be intrinsically related to the religious act of professing. To profess is an act of faith. Studying is, as well, an act of faith. The murmurs and the slow movements of these students resemble praying acts. Movements allow for knowledge to be embodied. The public space becomes their private-communal space. Lux mea lex (“Light is my law”) is Cheikh Anta Diop’s motto; strangely enough most of these young people are law students profiting from public lighting. There is a hope for future, a hope projected towards knowledge as a means to materialize dreams. Most acts of faith are acts of courage; these students are definitely courageous.

A dance intervention in situ (Cheikh Anta Diop University) with the participation of Pi Krump, Inas Dasylva, Bienvenu Gomis, Khadim Ndiayea and Clarisse Sagna took place in the main boulevard of this university.