Exhibition, Architekturmuseum der TU München

African Mobilities: This is not a Refugee Camp

Exhibition Team

Mpho Matsipa, Researcher and Curator, Wits City Institute, Johannesburg

Ilze Wolff, Exhibition Designer, Wolff Architects / Open House, Cape Town

Teresa Fankhänel, Project Coordinator, Architekturmuseum der TU München, Munich

Regional Collaborators

Dana Whabira, Njelele Art Station, Zimbabwe

Doreen Adengo, Adengo Architects, Uganda

Jean-Charles Tall, College universitaire d’architecture de Dakar, Senegal

Paula Nasciemento, Beyond Entropy Africa, Angola


Chimurenga, Cape Town, South Africa

Issa Diabatè, Koffi, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Olalekan Jeyifous, New York, US

Sammy Baloji, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo

25 April – 19 August 2018 / Architekturmuseum der TU München

Instagram @africanmobilities

Words: Mpho Matsipa

Image: © Makoko Canal, Olalekan Jeyifous

At a time when international borders are being violently redrawn, maintained, and policed, and domestic territories are increasingly implicated with accelerated geopolitical realignments and capitalist circuits of extraction, this exhibition seeks to explore how architecture responds to the complexity of African Mobilities – beyond the figure of the refugee. African cities are reconsidered as sites of innovation, rapid transformations, new architectural typologies, infrastructures and technologies.

African Mobilities is not concerned exclusively with the architecture of the refugee camp. Instead, it seeks to explore how cities and towns might become sites of refuge for African populations on the move, while simultaneously reckoning with the ways in which colonial geographies of extraction are enfolded within seemingly new zones of resource extraction. African Mobilities aims to rethink the geography of African migrations, and the challenges and opportunities they pose for doing architecture and urbanism differently: through an exploration of architectures at the intersection of migration, displacement, and digital technology. The exhibition is conceptualised as a space, a conference, a digital publication / website, and a mobile pedagogical platform that connects 14 diverse locations through workshops and master classes: Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Addis Ababa, Munich, Luanda, Abidjan, Lagos, New York, Dakar, Nairobi, London, Lubumbashi, and Praia.

African Mobilities proposes a trans-national and interdisciplinary approach to architectural research and design, showing both current work and creative, research-driven work that offers future-possible urban scenarios and architectural prototypes, brought about by a world in motion.

Theme 1: Cartographies of Migration and Extraction

Theme 2: Architectural and Infrastructure Prototypes

Theme 3: Possible Futures Dystopia/Utopia

African Mobilities is a collaboration between Architekturmuseum der TU München and the Wits City Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. The initiative is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Additional support comes from the Goethe-Institut. After its opening in Munich, it is intended that the exhibition will travel to other venues on the African continent.