Filip De Boeck
As the research coordinator of the Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa (IARA, www.iara.be), a Research Unit of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Leuven, Professor Filip De Boeck (Antwerp, 1961) is actively involved in teaching, promoting, coordinating and supervising research in and on Africa. Since 1987 he has conducted extensive field research in both rural and urban communities in D.R. Congo (ex-Zaire), starting with years of research in rural communities in the province of Bandundu (1987-1995), followed by long-term research in Kinshasa and other secondary cities such as Kikwit (1995-present). His current theoretical interests include local subjectivities of crisis, postcolonial memory, youth and the politics of culture, and the transformation of private and public space in the urban context in Africa. Filip De Boeck has published extensively. Together with Alcinda Honwana, he edited Makers and Breakers. Children and Youth in Postcolonial Africa (Oxford: James Currey, 2005). Other book publications include Kinshasa. Tales of the Invisible City, a joint book project with photographer Marie-Françoise Plissart (Ghent/ Tervuren: Ludion / Royal Museum of Central Africa, 2004), which was also translated into French (Kinshasa. Récits de la ville invisible. Brussels: Renaissance du Livre, 2005), and for which De Boeck received the Henry Lavachery award from the Académie Royale des sciences, des lettres et des beaux-arts de Belgique in 2008.
With co-curator Koen Van Synghel, De Boeck curated the exhibition which accompanied the publication of the Kinshasa book. Commissioned by the Flemish Architecture Institute, it was awarded a Golden Lion for best installation during the ninth International Architecture Biennial in Venice in 2004. The exhibition subsequently travelled to Belgium (Bozar, 2005) and South-Africa (Johannesburg Art Gallery, 2006).
In 2008 De Boeck and Van Synghel curated another exhibition about the work of Congolese artist Pume Bylex. On show at the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS) in Brussels (2008). This collaboration resulted in a book, The World According to Bylex (KVS/ Africalia: 2008).
In 2010 De Boeck released ‘Cemetery State’, a 70 minute long documentary film which examines urban youth’s politics of death in a Kinshasa graveyard. A Belgian Dutch co-production, it won the Mirror Award in April 2010.
In a joint book and exhibition project with photographer Sammy Baloji, De Boeck is currently working on new city extensions in Congo (Kinshasa, Lubumbashi), Kenya (Nairobi), and Ghana (Accra, Takoradi).