NIGHTWALKERS, INSURGENT NOCTURNAL ECOLOGIES
My work examines ever-proliferating temporalized categories of criminalization in colonial and so-called “post-colonial” Lagos nightlife – “found at night”, “nightwalker”, “wandering”, “found without a lamp”, “unattached / unescorted women”, “without visible means of livelihood”, “loitering”, “wayward”, “unable to give an account of oneself”. I propose a short film, tentatively named “Nightwalkers, Insurgent Nocturnal Ecologies”, focusing on the maroon ecologies of the night residents produce while nightwalking, wandering, fishing, resting, festing, drumming and assembling in the urban night. I hope to explore how nighttime has often functioned as a privileged timespace of Black possibility, not as a site in which terror is absent or as the ground of some romance of resistance, but as a site in which terror is nowhere as inextricably linked to the specter or promise of an otherwise, a reprieve, an insistent life-making, and a disavowal of an order of things, which is also an order of times. Reflecting on the night as metaphor and methodology to trouble and destabilize diurnal logics of ordering, the notion of right to opacity will be at the center of my own filmic practice, as to what can enter the frame and how, as to not reproduce histories of violent visualizations of Black people.
Chrystel Oloukoï is a writer, researcher and curator, broadly interested in time, temporality, policing and the afterlives of slavery and colonialism in Black continental and diasporic contexts. She is pursuing a PhD in African and African American Studies and Critical Media Practice at Harvard University. She is currently researching and producing a mixed media project on imaginations of the night in Lagos (and to a lesser extent, Johannesburg), as well as the afterlives of colonial technologies of temporal discipline.