António Tomás // The logics of pipelines: the art of stitching infrastructure together in Luanda

In Angola, and more specifically in Luanda, the reference to pipelines conjures up complex infrastructures for the circulation and supply of petroleum products, on which the Angolan economy is strongly dependent. In this presentation, I will also be approaching the issue of pipelines and its logics, but from a slightly different angle. I am particularly interested in the practices of domestic piping in contemporary urban Luanda. Ever since Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) has become available as construction material its derivatives have been used throughout the world. In Luanda, PVC pipes have been used as a replacement for the clay pipes that were traditionally used for piping during late colonialism, from the 1950s to the 1970s, when a handful of colonial architects influenced by modernist architecture were erecting thousands of buildings in downtown Luanda. In most of these buildings, it is common that these pipes are installed on the surface of the walls rather than in their interior. This presentation engages with the materiality of the urban fabric, addressing particularly the relationship between concealment and surfacing, to provide an ethnographic entry point into urban transformation in contemporary Luanda. By taking stock on the rationale behind makeshift piping, it proposes an understanding of the ways in which Luanda’s residents have come to terms with the arts of stitching the city back together.

To get acces to the lecutre via Zoom please contact Benjamin Eckel: eckel[at]uni-kassel[dot]de


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