The Art of Soundscaping

Featuring the Sounds of Emeka Ogboh and Jumoke Adeyanju

Emeka Ogboh by Emeka OgbohOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

"Emeka Ogboh is a Nigerian artist, whose works contemplate broad notions of listening and hearing as its main focus. He works primarily with sound and video to explore ways of understanding cities as cosmopolitan spaces with their unique characters. His sound recordings also consider the history and aural infrastructure of cities, Lagos, Nigeria in particular, where he currently resides. These Lagos recordings have produced a corpus of work entitled “Lagos Soundscapes,” which he has variously installed in different foreign locales.

A graduate of the Fine and Applied Arts Department, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Ogboh has exhibited in several venues in Nigeria and Internationally, at venues including, the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos; Menil Collection, Houston; Whitworth and Manchester city galleries; MassMoca Massachusetts; Shin Minatomura, Yokohama; Museum of Contemporary Arts Kiasma, Helsinki, Rauternstrauch-Joset-Museum, Cologne and the International Contemporary Art Fair (ARCO) Madrid."

Lagos Soundscapes Poster by Emeka OgbohOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

"Lagos Soundscapes is a sound based project that captures the sounds produced in Nigeria's busiest city. It especially features the sounds of automotive vehicles, horns, bus conductors and street commerce.

Lagos Soundscapes (2009) by Emeka OgbohOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

"The advent of verbal mapping may have resulted from the lack of associative visual materials (i.e. display of bus stops and routes) at the bus stations. Bus conductors improvise by calling out each bus stop and route. This method of oral communication is a singular cadence—the bus stations and routes the conductors call out are unique to the city—captured within the Lagos soundscape repertoire. Without these monikers, Lagos would invariably sound like any other Nigerian or West African metropolis, but when you hear these verbal maps in a recording, it is almost certain the sounds originate in Lagos.

Lagos Soundscapes Book Spread by Emeka OgbohOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

"Verbal mapping is an art form of successive freestyle-rap deliveries honed by many hours of non-stop ranting. The Danfo bus conductor’s language is hybrid and his lyrics are spontaneous, converting real-time occurrences into short and remixed poetic verses.

When deployed at bus stations, individuated chants are orchestrated within a collective context where a single annunciation reverberates among many to compose a temporary audio map that diagrams the distribution of Danfos within the bus station and orientates passengers to seek out their preferred route and ride. The bus conductor will hustle you, drawing your attention as you navigate the sea of yellow Danfo buses searching out the right bus to board.

The bus conductor must be listened to intently as he rattles out these routes in machine-gun-styled verbal assault, or else you will be lost in this space. You must make sense of what may appear to be his nonsense; names of bus stop and routes are abbreviated, verbally flipped, re-flipped and flipped again.

The bus conductors modulate these vocal deliveries to stand out within the cacophony of the bus station and draw the attention of potential passengers. The conductor must be heard amidst the non-stop Lagos bus station din, his voice surpassing the clamor of engines, loudspeakers, hawkers, horns, chatter and verbal maps of other conductors.

While vocal patterns are specific to a conductor, they do copy each other sometimes, and are thus loosely associated by the harsh guttural pitches they share." - Emeka Ogboh

The Way Earthly Things Are Going (2017) by Emeka OgbohOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

THE WAY EARTHLY THINGS ARE GOING is a predominantly sound based installation by Emeka Ogboh designed for documenta 14 in Athens in 2017. It arose in the course of his examination of the effects of the international financial crisis, especially the Greek economic crisis. The title of the work comes from the lyrics "So Much Trouble in the World" by Bob Marley.

The Way Earthly Things Are Going by Emeka OgbohOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

The multi-channel installation combines a polyphonic ancient Greek lament with stock market data from world stock indices, which are transmitted in real time on an LED strip. Ogboh puts the ongoing reports from the capital markets - such as the reaction of stock exchange prices to the corona crisis - in dialogue with the poignant chant about forced migration and the search for a better life.

Jumoke Adeyanju by Jumoke AdeyanjuOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

Jumoke Adeyanju (aka mokeyanju) is a passionate dancer, writer, DJ and Vinyl-Selector. She is heavily influenced by Detroit’s Hip Hop and House legacy, Fuji, Highlife, Ndombolo and percussive music. Her broad interest in East African and Caribbean culture led her to collect vinyls from Trinidad & Tobago, Tanzania, Kenya, Congo and beyond - discovering Soukous, Zanzibarian Taarab, Benga, Calypso as well as contemporary East African producers and sounds

NDW - Soundbooth (2017) by Jumoke AdeyanjuOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

Non-Disruptive Wahala

N.D.W. [non-disruptive wahala] — A Nollywood Cinergy N.D.W. is a self-produced experimental soundscape incorporating associative dramatic sound from Nollywood movies and soundbites/voices collected from Obalende bus stop, taxi drivers and friends after a hiatus from the Lagos club scene. The topics explored in N.D.W. range from culture, class, social negligence and how the Lagos lifestyle has birthed Lekki: The Vampire Estate (Nollywood title?)

Jumoke Adeyanju (2017) by Jumoke AdeyanjuOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

Fusing voices, synthetic sounds and dialogues from (not-so) random conversations in Lagos with Nollywood soundbites, this haptic audio experience creates a mystical entourage of sound waves in the context of wahala-situations in everyday Lagos. N.D.W. is a homage to a specific Nollywood sound effect - the one when magic (juju) is about to happen. Alluding to synergy effects N.D.W. transforms sounds perceived as daunting into a karmic, meditative and mystic commentary.

Non Disruptive Wahala featured in the 2019 edition of African Artists Foudation's Maker Lab titled 'Yanga;.

The exhibition also featured the works of Neec Nonso, Amobi Abeeb, Ruby Okoro and Masha Ru

Credits: Story

Artists :
Jumoke Adeyanju
Emeka Ogboh

Curated by Philip Fagbeyiro and Tolu Odeyemi

Photo Credits:
Benson Ibeabuchi
Andrew Dunkley

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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