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CRITIC'S CHOICE

REVIEW

For much of the past decade, Rem Koolhaas and his students from the Harvard Project on the City have kept returning to Lagos, which is slated to be the world's second largest city by 2015, smaller only than Tokyo. From the material gathered on these trips, which was published in Mutations, Lagos looks chaotic to say the least, but in his usual perverse and provocative way, Koolhaas maintains that it 'works'. Its 'shortcomings in traditional urban systems' can't obscure its vitality: 'We think it possible to argue that Lagos represents a developed, extreme paradigmatic case-study of a city at the forefront of globalising modernity, ' says Koolhaas.

A fuller presentation of Koolhaas' Lagos research was due to appear this spring from publisher Lars Müller but it has slipped back to the autumn. In the meantime, though, Lagos is the subject of an exhibition of photographs by Paul Seawright called 'Invisible Cities'. The title, of course, comes from Calvino's fixture on student reading lists, which Seawright takes in two ways: that African cities are still largely invisible to the West, and that cities are defined not just by their buildings and infrastructure but by the evanescent life among them - the improvisations and adaptations that Koolhaas is so keen on, 'glimpses of the everyday in the hidden recesses of the city'. So Seawright's photos alternate between the panoramic and the intimate, as in the alleyway scene above. They're at Ffotogallery, Turner House, Penarth, until 6 May ( www. ffotogallery. org).

In both Koolhaas' and Seawright's Lagos, much is temporary and in ux - a recurrent theme in the projects of German artist Wolfgang Weileder. Perhaps recognising that scenes of construction or demolition always gather an audience, Weileder stages semi-sculptural 'house projects' in which structures are built and dismantled in quick succession, ever-changing in their form. One of these projects bemused commuters outside Milton Keynes railway station last autumn, and from 3 April to 3 June a time-lapse film of its three-week life will be shown on four screens in the Milton Keynes Gallery Project Space at 900 Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes ( www. mk-g. org).

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