At the same time as African cities are increasingly being shaped by new technology - cellular phones, mobile internet access, solar energy, satellites, etc. – many of them are also characterised by an infrastructure marked by advanced decay and uncertainty. Inhabitants live with constant failures in the flows of electricity, water, telecommunications, fuel, traffic etc.
The term ‘infrastructure’ conjures images of systems that function unobtrusively in the background. ‘Infra’ means below, and so the infrastructure is expected to transport water, sewage, waste, energy, goods, and people, without the need for anyone to be aware of it.
Through images from the million city Jos in Nigeria, researchers Erik and Ulrika Trovalla at the Nordic Africa Institute portray in a photo exhibition presently on display at the main entrance of the Ångström Laboratory in Uppsala, what happens when infrastructure moves from the background to the foreground and increasingly shapes daily life. Through its flaws, ‘infrastructure’ becomes ‘suprastructure’.
Text and photos by Erik and Ulrika Trovalla, researchers at the Nordic Africainstitute.The exhibiton is accessed through the main entrance during the fall/winter 2013, no entrance fee.