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Techno-Religious Communities in Lagos

The Redeemed Christian Church of God annual convention campground near Mowe, on the outskirts of Lagos, Robin Hammond (ca. 2013). Courtesy of Robin Hammond and National Geographic.

Site Brief:

Site Briefs provide the framework for the In Residence: Call for Intervention Strategies and Call for Associated Projects, and open up architectural questions associated to each site.

Communication technologies have a central role in the redefinition of daily life in Lagos, Nigeria, pervasively inflecting the spaces of the city, its urban landscape, and its architectures. These technologies have been appropriated by religious congregations as a tool of both dissemination and gathering, in the hope of addressing growing transnational communities. Updating the operations of religious belonging, certain communities have proceeded to utilize technology to maximize the effects of big ceremonies as events of spiritual mediation in their own right, as well as to broadcast these ceremonies as messages to be heard and seen through different technological media.[1] The increase of bandwidth and the massive use of mobile phones and tablets in Sub-Saharan countries has resulted in new expectations for the region, and a growing enthusiasm that has been mobilized for a diversity of goals, including religion.

Among these religious affiliations, Charismatic-Pentecostalism (an international movement within the Christian faith), has witnessed an unparalleled growth, and has exponentially expanded its presence in sub-Saharan countries in the last two decades. From huge interiors hosting celebrations for thousands and small garages adapted with decorative curtains and lighting fixtures to temporary tent structures, spaces of worship repurpose existing buildings and pop-up as new constructions as well. The architectures of congregation hosting these events are not only transforming the physical landscape of the surrounding city, but might now also be understood as transmission platforms.[2] From videotapes and sound recordings of ceremonies, to online streaming and televangelism, technology is being increasingly mobilized to foster spiritual and social congregation.[3]

Physical and digital spaces are articulated in the architectural and urban networks that this case investigates, considering the way these networks result in new forms of gathering and social affiliation that permeate our cities and ultimately reach into the enclosed rooms of contemporary spaces of residence.

Site Report (A Teaser):

Emeka Ogboh

Reports about the sites have been commissioned from a group of international architects, artists, journalists, and other professionals. The commission for these reports is intended to challenge ideas of ‘site’ solely concerned with geometric boundaries and contextual references. Intervention strategies and associated projects do not need to respond to these reports.

In Residence: Sites

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