LAGOS LIES AT the centre of a burgeoning West African conurbation stretching along the Gulf of Guinea. An OECD study predicts that, by 2020, this sprawling habitation will absorb 300 surrounding cities and have a total population of more than 60 million people.
Such megacities could become home to the majority of the human race in the 21st century. The historian Eric Hobsbawm thought that the new century would best be symbolised by a young mother and her children. In a similar way, Emeka Ogboh’s recordings of Lagos are like a global summing-up of the sounds of present and future daily life.
Ogboh is a Nigerian artist leading the Lagos Soundscapes [website found to be defunct as of 1 October 2018] project. As part of the project’s exhibition stage, Ogboh travelled to Cologne and set up speakers outside the central library, playing sounds recorded in a Lagos bus station. As he explains elsewhere:
The Lagos Soundscapes website presents a batch of the recordings in the helpful shape of a Soundcloud player with the embed code option enabled, so here it is:
Some of the recordings are quite long, and my favourite so far is ‘Go-slow’.