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The Tower. A Concrete Utopia

Traditionally, urban planning and architecture carry a form of utopian optimism for a livable city with them. Yet, all too often infrastructural dreams turn into nightmares and the skyward ideals of a towered cityscape turns into the symbolism of degraded holes. In a narrative that takes off from an architectural apprentice and the cast-in-concrete spirits that he called, photographer Sammy Baloji and anthropologist Filip de Boeck weave photos and text into a construction of hopes, failures, and social complexities nested into the material existence of postcolonial Kinshasa.

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Sammy Baloji


Sammy Baloji is a photographer living and working in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. He graduated in Humanities Studies from the University of Lubumbashi. Sammy has exhibited his works at several international exhibitions in Brussels; at Bamako Biennale; at Musee du Quai Branly in Paris; and at Cup Biennale (South Africa). In addition, he has exhibited his works in his hometown. In addition to his solo work, he has also collaborated with Anthropologist Filip de Boeck. Their collaborative, and one in which Sammy and I work was featured in Urban Now. City Life in Congo, a major exhibition that went on show at the WIELS contemporary art centre in Brussels, in May 2016 and will be travelling to New York, Lisbon and Toronto in the coming months. Together, Filip De Boeck and Sammy Baloji also authored Suturing the City. Living Together in Congo' Urban Worlds (2016, London: Autograph).