What is the everyday? Or rather, who is the everyday. The everyday might as well be a person – an elusive shadow that follows us but is never seen, a shadow that is unique to every one of us. My everyday is certainly different to yours – I travel a different road to work each day and probably brush my teeth differently too. My family is different, yet our mutual friends could be the same. There are a myriad of factors that decide what it means to have one’s own ‘everyday’, from the secret routines only we know of to the day-in day-out grinding at a desk in the purview of your watchful, most would say obsessive, boss.
It is with the inherent subjectivity of experiencing the everyday in mind that we have created the @everydaylusaka Instagram account. We wanted to create something that local Zambians and Lusaka-ns could relate to in a completely unexpected yet familiar way. It is the ‘freshness’ of the everyday that we seek, its ability to make us step back and contemplate on our routinized modes of operating. Some of the images might seem rudimentary and banal to us, but the idea of documenting the everyday is documenting these very moments – the overlooked, understated routines of our days. By creating an account focusing on the everyday we are advocating for an inclusive documentation of Lusaka by locals. It is an alternative take on the Zambian ‘reality’ – a reality which has thus far been peddled by World Bank Statistics and power-grabbing politicians. The attempt at documenting an alternative reality is also to try to understand these different realities. How are our realities subject to race, class and gender? How can an everyday documentation of different realities show us these differences, and similarities?
Reality is a messy subject to document, but even in that chaos one finds strands that we can grope at – ways of living that are often sustained by people, and often sustained in spite of them. The subjects of our initiative are the objects of everyday life. By object here we mean that which we can identify with our thoughts and experiences, whether these objects are buildings, gatherings of people, forms and procedures of commuting and so on. View these photographs as an archive of thought and experience, as an extension of the lives of millions of people in this hopeful, often frustrating city.
Sebastian Moronell and Sana Ginwalla.