By The Niger River

Sound Installation in collaboration with Matteo Ferroni – eLand Workshop 
Group show, Zuspiel, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2012

In February 2012 Robert Lippok was invited by Italian architect Matteo Ferroni to develop an audio work in connection with the project Foroba Yelen by the eLand Workshop in Mali. To do so, he visited a number of villages in the region of Segou. Foroba Yelen – the English translation is something like communal lights – are mobile LED lamps produced by local craftsmen, sometimes using recycled material; they take light to villages without an electricity network. As a result of its mobile construction, this illumination is not a fixed installation and can be transported when needed to each site of social activities and interactions. As in other, previous works, Lippok focuses

on specific aspects of local conditions. He particularly noticed, for instance, the heterogeneous refuse that collects everywhere in the fields surrounding the villages. In the main this comprises plastic bags blown by the wind and many other items of civilization’s garbage. All these objects, like the Foroba Yelen, are collective in a certain sense, although of course they do not belong to anyone. The installation By The Niger River brings together two Foroba Yelen lamps and sound recordings made on the spot, including conversations with village dwellers, sequences from musical compositions, texts, and found objects. Thus it allows a fragmentary picture to emerge of everyday life in a rapidly changing, rural region of Mali.