What are the politics of ephemerality? In the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees establishment at Dadaab, Kenya, a massive complex of refugee camps near the border of Somalia, the visual and architectural terms of ephemerality—a permanent impermanence—transform the act of seeing. By thinking through one refugee's experience and analyzing urbanism, architectural form and symbolism, and spatial-political organization, this essay suggests that ephemerality plays a part in structuring subjectivity, with implications for the narration of history.

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