An emerging Nigerian sound and video artist, Emeka Ogboh (b. 1977) is known for his ongoing Lagos Soundscapes project—a captivating portrait of the famed mega-city rendered through its aural infrastructure. Utilizing field recordings taken mostly spontaneously during his daily jaunts in his hometown, Ogboh creates immersive works that document and archive the rich tapestry of peoples, cultures, and histories that make up one of the world’s most cosmopolitan locations. Composed of an intoxicating blend of traffic sounds, street music, commuter chatter, and the calls of hawkers and street sellers, Lagos Soundscapes suggests that Lagos possesses a unique acoustic character that sets it apart from other global metropolises.
At the MSU Broad, Ogboh brings the sights and sounds of the city to the gallery in a temporary installation that explores Lagos’ continued capacity to capture the imagination of people near and far, who arrive daily with aspirations of carving out a living and eventually finding their “golden fleece.” In a dizzying display of manipulated images and intricate sound mixing, Ogboh paints Lagos as a space of intense hope and desire, laying bare the “dream” (àlà) that keeps it churning, yet which for many is a fleeting illusion.
Emeka Ogboh: Àlà is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. It is presented in conjunction with the April 2014 conference Digital Media, New Cinemas, and the Global South organized by Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. Support and funding for the exhibition is provided by the Humanities Innovation Center at the MSU College of Arts and Letters.