Cheikh Ndiaye (New York/Dakar/Bonn): L’Arpentage: a case-study of SICAP Liberté III in Dakar


My lecture is a case-study of the installation Privatizing the Space by its Sky realized in 2016 during the Dak’Art Biennale in SICAP Liberté III Housing Estate in Dakar. Through series of concrete examples and situations that I have encountered during its realization, I question the progressive erasure of the frontier between the private and the public spaces and the subjugation of the public by the private realm. In Sicap Liberté III, which had been built during Léopold Sedar Senghor’s governance, the former garages became artisan’s studios, the public garden was turned into the mosque, and the walkways were transformed into football fields for young people. Thus, the housing estate can be interpreted as an urban example of what Alain Badiou in his Logics of Worlds called the “atonic world”; i. e. a world whose transcendental is devoid of points. An atonic world is a world deprived of polarity and of contradictions, a world in which the erasure of key distinctions such as “interiority/exteriority” prevents any possible subjectivation. In the atonic world, the subject is an impossible figure reminding Franz Kafka’s land surveyor (l’Arpenteur) eternally waiting in the exterior of an inaccessible Castle. My presentation analyzes confrontations of different forces shaping the public space of Sicap Liberté III, their conflict with the state power, and it questions the very role that art and architecture can play in such situation. (Cheikh Ndiaye)

Curriculum Vitae

Cheikh Ndiaye, born 1970 in Dakar, is a contemporary painter and artist. He graduated from the National School of fine Arts in Dakar in 1998. Furthermore he obtained a Diplôme National Supérieur d'Expression Plastique from the School of Fine Arts in Lyon, France, in 2008. He has participated in numerous exhibitions in Europe (e.g. at the Venetian Biennale in 2015), Africa and the United States. His works were honoured with the Natulis Art Temporary prize in Berlin, Germany, in 2012, the Linossier prize in France in 2008, and the Marin Prize for Painting in Paris in 2013. Since November 2017 he is Artist in Residence at the Käte Hamburger Center “Law as Culture”.