Christian Vium

Grant Type

Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Aarhus U.

Grant number

Gr. 10172

Approve Date

September 15, 2021

Project Title

 Vium, Christian  (Aarhus U.) Tales of the Nomadic City

Tales of the Nomadic City’ is a poetic feature-length experimental documentary about one of the fastest growing, yet least known, capital cities in the world: Nouakchott in Mauritania. It explores the growth of an unlikely sedentary, urban centre constructed ex-nihilo in 1957, now harboring more than a million inhabitants, the majority of whom have partaken in nomadic livelihoods reconfigured by recurring droughts in the Sahara and Sahel region. Part of a larger project that spans more than 15 years of ongoing research, the film aims to rewrite the history of the city from its margins. Through a multimodal, collaborative approach, it opens up to an immersive rendition of the city as a living archive of memories and aspirations entangled in the everyday tactics of survival in a nomad-sedentary continuum at the intersection of desert and city.

‘Tales of the Nomadic City’ posits the urban as a heterogenous laboratory of invention, interweaving three individual life stories through a manuscript based on the recordings and written in collaboration with a local poet and a local journalist. Bringing together multiple narratives and vernacular archives with colonial footage, official archives, and film material recorded since 2001, the film represents a kaleidoscopic urban epos in which the involved people and their individual stories figure the urban in its human form.