Postcolonial Dilemma: Parts I-III

Postcolonial Dilemma: Parts I-III

Postcolonial Dilemma: Parts I-III by SPARCK In September 2013, reports started coming out of Kinshasa of a cosmonaut walking the streets at odd times and places. The first sightings were in Lingwala, a neighborhood near the city center. Then came the wildly eroded streets of Kindele quarter; Kimbanseke, home, once, to the prophet Simon Kibangu; Ngwaka, the city’s toughest area; Matonge, where Muhammad Ali and George Foreman fought the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974; and, finally Massina, also known as the People’s Republic of China. Initially, people just watched the cosmonaut go by. Then they started filming. Photos and pocket films were made with cell phones. Pictures went up on Facebook. Shortly after, the diaspora was commenting. Eventually, a big-name photographer got involved and posted images online. By 2014, a scholar in Europe had got wind of things and, following a brief research trip, gave her first lecture on the phenomenon. As it happened, we knew more about the cosmonaut than most. This was a result of our close working relationship with a Kinshasa based crew—part artists’ collective, part think-tank and experimental living facility—called Kongo Astronauts. K.A. were in daily contact with the cosmonaut and, while they explained that a formal meeting was not as yet possible, they were in a position to provide us with the best images known to date: a series of photographs shot at a site some five hours South of Kinshasa, Zongo Falls. Shortly thereafter, they followed this up with a video, also shot at the falls. The still and moving images showed the cosmonaut ambling through a forest, pushing a boulder, Sisyphus-like,...