Accepted Paper:

"Time will Tell": On Temporality and Futurity in an African City  


Daniel Agbiboa

Paper short abstract:

This field study of unknown time in Lagos urban transport suggests that the present and the future are not disconnected horizons of socio-spatial practice, but combine to produce urban space and city forms.

Paper long abstract:

Turning the table on Lefebvre's argument that the structure of everyday life is closely associated with the non-accumulative routing of cyclical or immanent time whereas it lags behind the forward-moving linear or transcendent time, I argue that cyclical and linear time are in fact intertwined in lived reality and popular imagination. This suggests that the spatial ebb and flow of time cannot be grasped in rigidly binary terms such as the opposition of cyclical and linear time. Interrogating popular arts like the rhythmic use of entextualised slogans that are prominently

painted on the bodies of commercial minibus-taxis (danfos) in Nigeria's city of Lagos, Africa's largest metropolis, I argue that the interaction of these seemingly conflicting representations of time affects and ultimately shapes the grounds of our meaning(lessness), (in)security, and our sense of being-in-the-city. At these interfaces and interstices of conflicting notions of time, and in the interchange between (un)familiar termini, a powerful sense of unknown (or future) time can emerge, which in turn reinforces the need for a more experimental re-positioning and re-orientation in everyday urban life.

Panel P029
Time as politics: past present and future in African urbanism