Brakin (Brazzaville - Kinshasa)
A group of Jan van Eyck researchers investigated the public spheres of Brazzaville and Kinshasa, two neighbouring capitals separated by the Congo river. The group subscribed to ‘visualizing the visible’ as a research approach and regarded Brazzaville and Kinshasa as one city: Brakin.
The researchers studied phenomena such as street children, street trade, land disputes, housing projects, UN presence, diamond trade, roundabouts and public space. These were indicators for ‘reading’ the urban environment.
These visible indicators of the urban environment do not only feature in the essays; they served as the basis for inventories and were used to produce idiosyncratic maps. To decide on the frame of each map – and indicate where the city ends – the researchers used one protocolled inventory at a time. A separate section of the book shows references, individual inventories and reproductions of existing maps.
The Brakin project was initiated by advising researcher of the Design department Wim Cuyvers and supported by the Jan van Eyck Academie. The researchers Agency, Tina Clausmeyer, Dirk Pauwels, SMAQ (Sabine Müller and Andreas Quednau) and Kristien Van den Brande visited Brakin from 27 January to 17 February and from 7 May to 29 May 2005.