Urban and Urbanization

Kites, billboards and bridges: Reading the city’s curfew through the glitch

This article is an attempt at reading the city through what gets extended and/or suspended in it in a time of an interruption, or a glitch. It does this while thinking about Cairo's curfew during the summer of 2020. I focus on this short pause that disrupted what is perceived to be regular urban life in a place like Cairo. Centering a collaboration with the Egyptian visual artist Azza Ezzat, we read some snapshots of this seemingly minor interruption through three ordinary objects that inhabit the city’s skyline: kites, billboards, and bridges. Through these three objects that suspend at the interstices of a skyline, I trace suspensions and extensions of infrastructure, broadly defined. My contention is that the glitch of the curfew helps to make apparent ongoing processes and infrastructures that keep a post-revolutionary Cairo going (for better or for worse). I propose that the material and affective affordance of the glitch provide a lens that disinvests from the logics of exception and states of emergency that have dominated research on the country and even on the city.

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Volume 41 Issue 4

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