Sowing Somankidi Coura

Sowing Somankidi Coura. A Generative Archive is a long-term research endeavor by Raphaël Grisey in collaboration with Bouba Touré around the permacultures and archives of Somankidi Coura, a self-organized cooperative along the Senegal river founded by a group of former African migrant workers and activists in France in 1977 after the Sahel drought of 1973. The book assembles texts, voices, images, takes, retakes and research around the Pan-African history of the cooperative of Somankidi Coura, the liberation struggles of migrant workers and farmers in France and West Africa. It enables thinking a politics of decolonisation for agriculture, migration, care, soil and the archive. Sowing Somankidi Coura. A Generative Archive offers new perspectives on the analyses and modes of action of ACTAF (Cultural Association of African Workers in France), and the permacultures of the Cooperative of Somankidi Coura, for speculative permacultures to germinate. Sowing Somankidi Coura presents a series of interviews with Bakhoré Bathily, Goundo Kamissokho Niakhaté, Mady Koïta Niakhaté, Ladji Niangané, Ousmane Sinaré, Siré Soumaré and Bouba Touré, the cooperative’s founders, a large selection of Bouba Touré’s photo archive, and various contributions from Raphaël Grisey, Tobias Hering, Olivier Marboeuf, Aïssatou Mbodj-Pouye et Jean-Philippe Dedieu, Karinne Parrot, Romain Tiquet, Kaddù Yaraax and Sidney Sokhona.

Sowing Somankidi Coura
A Generative Archive

Softcover, English, 320 pages
ISBN 978-3-943620-67-2

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‘I want to live in time. And even after I’m gone, I want time to count very much. There you go, I don’t want to die. To die is to be forgotten’, photographer, filmmaker, farmer and activist Bouba Touré states in his film Bouba Touré, 58 Rue Trousseau, 7511 Paris, France (2008), a title borrowed from Touré’s former address in Paris. There he observes the interior walls of his apartment, covered with posters, pamphlets and photographs from the twentieth and early twenty-first century. Giving each document equal attention, he comments and contextualises their content – from the Burkinabé Marxist-Leninist Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara, former president of Burkina Faso until his murdering in 1987, to Touré’s own mother. Everyone pictured belongs to a community that Touré has spent his life nurturing. And while Touré waits for the alarm clock to ‘ring’, to awaken ‘the African consciousness’, as he calls it, we see a large number of clocks next to the documents on his walls: ‘because time matters a lot’.
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Preparation of land and uprooting along the Senegal River,
Somankidi Coura, Mali, January 1977. Photo: Bouba Touré.
Courtesy of the artist