Black Wall Experiment


the blackwall experiment represents our first journey into the city of Lagos where we absorb and reflect on how the city communicates. In absorbing, we find that everyday urban typography comes in five broad categories:

  • orders, (white)

  • notices, (pink)

  • slogans, (blue)

  • adverts (yellow)

  • curses

    (We have represented each category with white, pink, blue and yellow colors.)

    It is common to see orders like “Military Zone Keep Off” or slogans like “Eko o ni Baje” on the walls in the city.
    Therefore, we embrace and affirm the everyday urban typography in Lagos for its utility, economy, aesthetic and cultural importance.
    in reflection, our experiment deemed it fit to regard the walls of social media as equal to the "walls" across the city of Lagos; especially if we observe an increasing trend of discussing the virtual social media life in the material world. With this inclusion, we thought book publishers may adorn the long boring fenced journeys to the educational district of Yaba with snippets of a new book that may improve reading culture.

That perhaps, the government may through the walls communicate policies in a few words.

That advertisers may promote merchandise in cheaper, context fit ways.

That walls, in mnemonic fashion, may serve as visual registers for hairstyle fads, defunct telcos, and beverages; where today’s dweller and the unborn learn of collective memories.

That perhaps - at its thresholds and beyond the humour of mangled sentences - the city dumps pristine English for collectively understood pidgin; so much that this way of communication is transmitted from the city’s underbelly onto its body

The Blackwall experiment brought together leading Nigerian voices in the fields of architecture, communication, design, urbanism, political economics, law, visual & performing Arts, Fintech, etc too reflect on the “WALL”…the Aesthetics,Legality,Economics as well as the “Wall” as a communication strategy. Our conversationalists included Chuka Ihonor (Urbanist), Stephen Ajadi (Architect,Planner and Political Economist), Jude Idada (Playwright),Olumide Abdulkareem(Legal Practitioner), Chris Ogunlowo (Designer), Seyi Olusanya (Designer),Ola Olaleye(Quantity Surveyor),Bola Yinka-Obebe (Producer) and Micheal Adesanya (Fintech expert).

The experiments ran from the 24th of June -26th of July 2019.


Aesthetics of the wall

Conversationalists Aesthetics of the Wall

Chuka Ihonor ( Architect and Urbanist) & Jude Idada ( Playwright and Film Maker) play a game of Ayo during the aesthetic of the wall experiment

“In theatre, the wall is a space that separates the created reality from the actual reality." - Jude Idada

”When you watch a movie, you don't see an actor look directly at the camera (at you). Otherwise they're said to have broken the wall, the fourth wall. However, it could be intentional as in Kevin Spacey (as Frank Underwood) in House of Cards, saying for example, "How quickly poor grades are forgotten in the shadow of power and wealth'' into the camera (to pull you as audience into the created reality). The power of breaking the fourth wall is described as “the alienation effect”. It is a technique used to break down the comfortable distance between us, the audience watching unnoticed, and an actor on stage directing their actions towards us, distancing us from the artificiality of the performance.
Occasional soliloquies were used by Shakespeare to address his audience in plays such as Hamlet, As You Like It and Henry V. English author Tom Brown highlights French director Jean-Luc Godard’s use of direct address in films such as Breathless, Week End and Pierrot le Fou”

Conversationalists Aesthetics of the Wall

Chuka Ihonor ( Architect and Urbanist) & Stephen Ajadi ( Architect,Planner and Political Economist engaging over a game of Ayo during the aesthetic of the wall experiment.

“ Visas are Walls” - Stephen Ajadi

The wall is a political object that maps out territories and authorities. It splits space and restricts the freedom of movement. Such was the Berlin wall. There's however magic of permeability with the wall. You do not realise or appreciate the existence of walls that have open doors and hence, you could just move in and out (until the doors are shut). The events of the Mexican and the American sides playing ball over the wall is one of the many aesthetics of the wall.
At first, walls are actually not physical. There had been social walls between the two sides of the Berlin wall before it was eventually erected. In the same vein, visas are walls. Not physical too. But the policies create physical walls. The walls we see today are mere physical manifestations of the real social walls that occur in our day to day opinions about how things should be done