In his on-going project Closer to Serenity, photographer Arno Roncada considers the development of satellite cities in Africa, the preferred locations of a new middle class, as an expression of a new African post-socialist ideal.
Satellite Cities are a relatively new development in Africa. They are built at the instigation of foreign governments, but also of private investors and developers (often of Chinese, Russian, or Lebanese origin), and in some cases also of figures from the African diaspora. Often large and autonomous, they form a barrier against the suburban sprawl and expansion, but are similarly isolated from the ‘Mother City’.
The title of the project Closer to Serenity, refers to a campaign through which project developers try to respond to the aspirations of the middle class. More even, they create an idealized image: the romantic image of a hybrid American-Mediterranean lifestyle with a strong reference to the past, coupled with a contemporary architectural approach.
As a work in progress, Closer to Serenity inscribes itself in a photographic approach in which photography and architecture become intertwined in terms of the construction and archiving of both ideological and social space. During his work period at FLACC, Arno Roncada attempts to find a photographic answer to the question of how the architecture of these cities relates to a prevailing and dominant ideology.