Latitude was principal member in the two years research “Mobile Access to Knowledge: Culture and Safety in Africa. Documenting and assessing the impact of cultural events and public art on urban safety”, funded by SNIS – Swiss Network for International Studies – and coordinated by SUPSI – University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland / Laboratory of Visual Culture.
The research focused on safety using a pluri-disciplinary and comparative approach. The study is based on the analysis of cultural events and public art installations produced in three African cities characterized by high levels of insecurity: Douala (Cameroon), Johannesburg (South Africa), and Luanda (Angola). It analyses and compares their production and impact on urban safety. How cultural events and public art can affect insecurity in African cities? Can they have a positive influence on the urban spaces and their inhabitants?
These questions rely on the hypothesis that arts are a space for experimentation and research, not directly connected to urban safety, but capable of triggering unforeseen ways of producing higher liveability, civil cohabitation and social cohesion.
In that frame, Latitude has conducted research on Luanda aiming at studying its Tiennial and identifying the permanent artworks that play a role with respect of the issue of security. Surprisingly, the investigation shows that, rather than public art installations, landmarks and architectures emerge as significative objects in the city. At the same time, ephemeral events, such as performances or temporary exhibitions, have the power to positively impact on insecure or harmed spaces, initiating virtuous processes of urban renovation.
2012 - 2014
Fabio Vanin, Elena Calafati
SUPSI – University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland / Laboratory of Visual Culture
SNIS – Swiss Network for International Studies