Over a period of more than thirty years, arc en rêve in Bordeaux has organized events and lectures, inviting guest architects and theorists, specialists and non specialists to share their ideas and discuss issues relating to urban design, architecture and communal living. It has thus contributed to the emergence of specific expertise and the dissemination of contemporary architectural and urban culture, stepping well beyond local boundaries.
arc en rêve la revue is a publication and republication medium designed to provide gradual access to selected archives, most of them previously unpublished. The idea is to mine the various strata of arc en rêve’s thirty-year history, so that the data can be activated and used to address relevant topical issues.
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Part of a talk given during the conference entitled La ville en Afrique, miroir du monde, organized by arc en rêve centre d’architecture on 16 April 2013, in partnership with the LAM - les Afriques dans le monde, to coincide with the exhibition entitled Diébédo Francis Kéré architecte, Burkina Faso / Berlin, Bridging the Gap / Jeter un pont.
Étienne Damome is a lecturer in information and communication science at Bordeaux 3 University.
> Excerpts. The media are also present in the street, especially at crossroads, when it comes to selling papers. There are newsstands at very precise locations, often not far from crossroads. The example I’m going to talk about is at Lubumbashi, not far from the main market and not far from the French Cultural Centre. These newsstands are objects that form part and parcel of the city and which are familiar features of the cityscape. They are the origin of the expression: « les parlementaires debout » [standing parliamentarians]. Its what, in information and communication science, we call a post-reception dynamic, in other words a dynamic that takes place after the reception of the media (either electronic media or the written press). These images come from Lubumbashi, but this particular phenomenon is not specific to the town: in large cities in DRC such as Kinshasa, we also see newspapers spread over the ground in public places. Citizens come here not to buy papers, but to read them standing up. But it’s not specific to DRC either, because this phenomenon of post-reception dynamics can be found in several countries, especially in Burkina Faso.
The phenomenon started in the 1970s, when Mobutu was in power, but it developed in the 1990s. Some link it to the development of democracy after the 1990s. As a media analyst, I’d say it was linked to the development of the media because it’s precisely when they read the news that readers start commenting on and discussing current affairs. In Lubumbashi, the « parlementaires debouts » are a recognized, named institution—except, of course, that they’re not an organized institution. Lubumbashi is a provincial town; there are no daily papers, but weeklies. So there’s no « news » as such because all the news is old. But printouts and photocopies of agency dispatches keep people abreast of more recent events.
In terms of frequentation, some people try to link different readerships on a particular subject. It might, for instance, be an association that is concerned with a particular local issue and which uses the publication of an article on the issue to approach people who come to read about it and encourage them to talk about it.
The last aspect is linguistic: I was in Lubumbashi doing research into the role of Kiswahili in the media, and I realized that these places for public speaking could be interesting from a linguistic point of view, because they’re places where you can identify all the different versions of the language, in particular the combination of French with local languages.