Filip De Boeck
Divining the City: Urban Planning and
Everyday Life in Central Africa

Lumiar Cité, Lisbon

Sammy Baloji / Filip de Boeck

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The presentation reflects upon the draining rhythms of Central African cityscapes. Urban dwellers have to make constant efforts to overcome the city’s disorder and its ensuing ambiguities. The city forces them to engage in an almost daily ‘divinatory’ act of trying to guess the meanings that lay hidden within the fluid parameters of urban life, of unveiling the city’s unreliability, of steering clear of its many unpredictable events, of cruising unscathed throughout the day, and of making sense of one’s own pathways of adversity or luck. This daily labour is often structured around the activity of ‘searching’ (Lingala: koluka), a term commonly used by urbanites to describe their daily quest for food, money, jobs, contacts and opportunities. Although one can easily lose oneself in this often desperate ‘searching’, it simultaneously involves the interpretive capacity or possibility to discover and grasp opportunities in the gaps that invariably open up between, or even within, things, events and persons.

Filip De Boeck is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Leuven, Belgium. He has conducted extensive ethnographic research in both rural and urban communities in D.R. Congo since 1987. His book publications include ‘Kinshasa: Tales of the Invisible City’, with photographer Marie- Françoise Plissart (Leuven University Press, new edition 2014) and ‘Makers and Breakers: Children and Youth in Postcolonial Africa’, co-edited with Alcinda Honwana (James Currey, 2005). Together with co-curator Koen Van Synghel, he presented an exhibition about Kinshasa at the Belgian Pavillion of the Architecture Biennial in Venice (2004), for which they received a Golden Lion, and he also co-curated an exhibition around the work of Congolese artist Bylex for the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS) in Brussels (2008). In 2010, De Boeck released ‘Cemetery State’ (FilmNatie), a documentary about a Kinshasa graveyard. He is currently doing research on new urban extensions in various cities across the African continent. Together with photographer Sammy Baloji, he is preparing a book on the subject.

The lecture will be in English and takes place in the context of Ângela Ferreira’s exhibition Indépendance Cha Cha, which runs until 01.06.2014.

This project has been developed in partnership with the EDP Foundation and in collaboration with Africa.Cont. Our thanks also to Culturgest for their kind support during the production of the exhibition.


Avenida António Augusto de Aguiar, 148 - 3º C
1050-021 Lisboa, Portugal

Tel: + 351 21 352 11 55

Alan Read
The Dark Theatre:
Conditions of the Irreparable
11.-13.03.2020, 11 am, 2 pm

Auditorium Goethe-Institut, Lisbon

Santiago Zabala

The Greatest Emergency is the Absence of Emergency: Anarchic Hermeneutics, Emergency Aesthetics, and Philosophical Warnings

16,18, and 19.03.2021
4 pm - 7 pm

The seminar will take place online only.

Fogo Island Dialogues
Atlantic Codes
November 8–9, 2019

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Lumiar Cité

Lumiar Cité

Rua Tomás del Negro, 8A
1750-105 Lisboa, Portugal
Wednesday to Friday, 3pm to 7pm and by appointment. Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 1pm.
Tel: + 351 21 755 15 70 | 21 352 11 55

Ao descer a escada
Há um degrau p’ra me sentar.
Não há outro degrau
Onde descansar.
Não estou lá em baixo
Nem lá em cima estou.
Estou é na escada
Onde sempre estou.

Ao subir a escada
Não estou em cima, nem em baixo.
Não estou na creche,
Nem mesmo no sopé, acho.
Ideias estranhas começam a girar
Na minha cabeça
Fora do lugar!

Tonio Kröner
09.11.2019 - 02.02.2020

25.01 | 17h00 Talk with Tonio Kröner, Simon

Thompson, Jürgen Bock

Judith Barry
All the light that's ours to see

Extended until 6 December 2020

In line with revised recommendations from the authorities, we are postponing the exhibition, which was scheduled to open on 28 March. A new date will be communicated in due course.

Loretta Fahrenholz
Circle Navel Nil
Spring 2021

In cooperation with Lumiar Cité:

Tiffany Chung
Thu Thiêm: an archaeological
project for future remembrance
08.06. - 08.09.2019

Johann Jacobs Museum

Maumaus / Lumiar Cité
is funded by Ministério da Cultura / Direção-Geral das Artes. With the support of Câmara Municipal de Lisboa and Junta de Freguesia do Lumiar

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