Research

Delay. Waste as an accumulator.

The set up was an invitation to study and contribute to solve the flooding problem in certain areas in Zanzibar, problem seen initially anchored between drainage systems and urban planning. Zanzibar all along faces yearly rain seasons and for several months, entire families and communities are obligated to evacuate their neighborhoods looking after safer places, leaving the floods and their households behind. Evidently, this reiterative situation will destabilize a flow of life one can consider normal, delaying its desired development pace. It is an interference, for what this study aims to dialogue about. 

Hardly, one can successfully attempt to solve the flooding issue without considering a holistic waste management proposition that covers the entire island. Said simply, repetitively all material waste will clog drainage systems, making their optimal performance highly difficult, ultimately poor and deficient. The drainage system hence the aging chain is delayed, due to the excessive presence of an accumulator such as solid, recyclable and unrecyclable waste. The time dynamics of such a system are polluted so waste transforms itself into an accumulator that naturally does not belong to the drainage system as per design.


Lights out. Between water and electricity.

Back in 2009, Zanzibar suffered the longest power black out recorded in history. For about three months, the energy supply was cut off due to problems with the underwater cable that connects with mainland Tanzania. The incalculable impact of what three months without electricity can do to a community is difficult to imagine, yet agreeable it could and will delay everything, the normal flow of life. Henceforth, does delay have a connection with development, financial stability, poverty alleviation, progress, social cohesion and ultimately harmony and prosperity? It might have and it might be utterly hidden.

This connection between electricity and development is still something new for Zanzibar, since the Rural Electrification Project in Zanzibar [RUREL] only started operating in Zanzibar back in the year 2000ยด. The expectations of enhancing development due to electricity access is not at all irrational, although sometimes the ideas on paper vary somehow from what is implemented. There could be a major lack of synchronicity. Poor understanding of what a household is paying for, new and noticeable differences between families and neighbors and to no one surprise, delayed bill payments to Zanzibar Electricity Corporation [ZECO].

Furthermore and agglutinating all of these comes the concept of tension (Winther, 2018), an idea of unease between the government and citizens, a result of a new variable added to the social tissue where the government has certain visibility, access and control over the community all given through the benefit of access to electricity, jumping into a new modern era. The electricity meters were placed inside households. Consequences of a tense social environment are reflected in the trust levels within the community. Living with inequalities and lack of trust does only create more vertical relationships between those who have more and those who have less. Dignity is another concept widely developed (Douglas, 1966), elaborated around the idea of the resources one has and how these resources will translate in opportunities to participate, develop and belong. Again, Mary Douglas conceives poverty as destitution, somehow illustrated by rain, floods and evacuation, what gives an extra push to this study, performance and exhibition.