Watch Maliq Simone and his colleagues Laura Kemmer and Alexa Färber talk about “Suturing the City: Living Together in Congo’s Urban Worlds” by Filip De Boeck and Sammy Baloji.

Suturing the city’ is a vivid image for the kind of attentive, careful but also painful practices which bring a city into existence. It is a specific place of urban becoming, and a particular collaboration from which this urban anthropological photo-book stems: Filip de Boeck has researched Congo’s urban worlds and especially Kinshasa for several decades and repeatedly collaborated with photographers. Sammy Baloji has worked with de Boeck as a photographer on various projects over the years, and his art encompasses other media, such as film and sculpture, extending far beyond the urban as an object. What are the acts of “suturing the city” that de Boeck and Baloji explore with this acute composition of text and photography? And do these acts have a specific temporality?

Alert to anything that might be on “standby”, or that articulates the city as a “promissory assemblage”, Maliq, Laura and Alexa looked for scenes in the book where the provisonality yet resoluteness of suturing resonates with the dis-engagement of standing by, and the looseness of urban promises, whether it be ever-at-the-ready pharmacies, watching over potholes, or vigilantly enduring authority over the land.

Watch it here: