Rem Koolhaas’ Groundbreaking interactive documentary about Lagos now online

28 July 2014 • 


10 Years after its release, Submarine’s timeless interactive documentary by Koolhaas et al. is ported from DVD to the web with improved features. Explore two perspectives on the sprawling African metropolis of Lagos. Tune in at:

Lagos Wide and Close – An Interactive Journey into an Exploding City is an interactive
documentary adapted from the groundbreaking 2004 interactive DVD. As one of the first
interactive documentaries ever made, it offers a rare documentation of Lagos at a volatile
moment in its evolution. Submarine Channel now makes the groundbreaking work available
to all audiences online. Free.

Increased bandwidth now makes it possible to play the two video channels and three audio
channels in parallel online in realtime. The Lagos research project by Rem Koolhaas and The Harvard Project on the City, on which this interactive film is based, has not been published yet. With this online adaptation, we
hope to provide a permanent and accessible resource for those interested in understanding
Lagos and its rapid urban growth.

Every hour, an estimated 52 people start new lives in Lagos. As the largest port and commercial center of Nigeria, it is home to approximately 16 million people whose very survival depends on improvisation, networking, and risk-taking. In 2001, architect Rem Koolhaas and filmmaker Bregtje van der Haak went to Lagos to  document one of fastest growing cities in Africa. Based on research by Koolhaas’ Harvard Project on the City, this interactive film presents an intense and chaotic engagement with a then hardly documented city, capturing multiple perspectives of a volatile moment in its evolution.The information has been organised according to distance. Loosely based on the trajectory of bus driver Olawole Busayo, it presents intimate encounters with the city and its people on the one hand (CLOSE), and a more removed perspective of Lagos on the other, (WIDE). In the one hour interactive film, viewers are invited to join Busayo for his daily journey in the yellow minivan. Switch between a wide and a close view of Lagos and choose between three audio tracks: city sounds, interviews with lagos citizens, or comments by Rem Koolhaas.

Director: Bregtje van der Haak
Producer: Submarine Channel
Designer: Silke Wawro
Photographer: Edgar Cleijne
Camera: Alexander Oey
Sound: Rik Meier

Bregtje van der Haak is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. Since 1997, she has been
directing international documentaries on social change with a focus on urban life and
globalization. Her documentaries have been shown on television, in film festivals and in art
exhibitions internationally and include Saudi Solutions (2006), Satellite Queens (2007),
Grand Paris: the president and the architects (2009), California Dreaming (2010), Aftermath
of a Crisis (2011) and DNA Dreams (2013). As an editor-in-chief for VPRO Television, she
initiated Creative Commons distribution of public television programming and developed new
collaborative media projects including Metropolis TV (2008), Urban Century (2009),
Aftermath Project (2011), Multiple Journalism and Atlas of Pentecostalism (with Richard
Vijgen, 2013).

This project is based on research by the Harvard Project on the City, directed by Rem Koolhaas, Edgar Cleijne, and Jeffrey Inaba.

The interactive DVD Lagos Wide & Close, which preceded this online version, was funded by
VPRO Television, Amsterdam Foundation for Visual Arts, Dutch Cultural Broadcasting
Promotion Fund, Netherlands Architecture Fund, and NCDO National Committee for
International co-operation and Sustainable Development.

Submarine Channel is made possible with the financial support of Stimuleringsfonds
Creatieve Industrie (The Creative Industries Fund NL), and Gemeente Amsterdam: Dienst
Maatschappelijk Ontwikkeling (The City of Amsterdam).

You can click here for more information.