A Hymn for Frankfurt:
Deutsche Bank supports Emeka Ogboh’s sound installation “THIS TOO SHALL PASS”

Emeka Ogboh (*1977), who lives in Lagos and Berlin, is a pioneer of sound art in Africa. For the Nigerian artist, the city is a landscape of sounds, a babble of voices, songs, shouts, and noise. His experimental compositions and sound installations make this acoustic dimension perceptible, intervene in it, and interweave it with sound material from various cultural and historical contexts. In doing so, Ogboh investigates how different personal, public, and collective memories can be transferred, transformed, and translated into sounds and soundscapes, and alter the perception of public space.

His most recent work is the installation THIS TOO SHALL PASS, cosponsored by Deutsche Bank. It will be on view in Frankfurt urban space from July 9 to October 3, 2021. The project was commissioned by the EKHN Foundation, and curated and realized by Euphoria Gesellschaft fr Kunst im urbanen Raum. As part of the project, the Alfred Herrhausen Society is inviting to two talks on the topic of Understanding Public Space in the City on Sunday, July 11. The development of global cities is a thematic focus of the Society, which has developed into a think & do tank for urban studies. In 2005, for example, the Alfred Herrhausen Society, in cooperation with LSE Cities, a research center at the London School of Economics and Political Science, launched Urban Age, an international research program on the future of cities.

But how is public space actually defined? What does singing together with others mean for our society, in a pandemic and crisis-ridden world where music and art in general have long been silenced? This summer, Ogboh is transforming downtown Frankfurt into a soundscape on water and land. At the center of his three-part multichannel sound installation, which extends from the Rmer across the Main River to the Dreiknigskirche, is a newly composed hymn of the same name. It is dedicated to the city and the year 2020, and sung by choirs in Lagos and Frankfurt. Ogboh developed a sound course that connects profane and sacred places and the river as a flowing, collective urban memory, creating an overarching, cosmopolitan space. This is not the first time that the Main River has become the central motif for an ever-changing, hybrid concept of culture in a public art action. The route marked by Ogboh’s sound installation is almost identical to that of Ayşe Erkmen’s project Shipped Ships, which was realized in 2001 by Deutsche Bank as a contribution to Moment, a series of art projects in public space. The Berlin-based Turkish artist had three passenger ferries from Japan, Italy, and Turkey shipped to Frankfurt on large container ships. Between April and May, these ferries with the original crew cruised on the Main River. Between eleven piers, the ships opened up new intercultural connections with ferry traffic and brought the river back into public awareness as the city’s lifeline.

With less visible, ephemeral interventions, Ogboh pursues a similar strategy. Through sensory experiences such as hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, and feeling, he opens up cultural memory spaces. In his artworks and cooking and DJ performances, they are sampled according to musical principles and the diverse origins are intertwined. First and foremost, there is the political and human issue of how we want to live together in the future. The Frankfurt freitagskche, a collective of artists and cultural workers, is organizing an extensive performance and lecture program to accompany Ogboh’s project, with city walks as well as open-air talks, films, and concerts.

Emeka Ogboh
THIS TOO SHALL PASS

Installation for urban space in Frankfurt am Main
July 9 – October 3, 2021
thistooshallpass.site