This essay examines Edson Chagas’s Found not Taken series (2008–), taking into account some of its main contexts of production and reception (from London and Newport to Luanda; from Luanda to Venice and London) while placing it in the broader framework of the artist’s production to date, including Oikonomos (2011–2012), Tipo Passe (2012–2014), and Desacelera O Mambo: Celebrating Life by Slowing Down Perception (2015). Chagas examines the multiple ways in which bodies and identities, objects and commodities, images and imaginations dwell in the urban spaces of the global North, the global South, and in between. Discarded objects become critical signifiers of the fever of waste-producing consumerism—notably, though not exclusively, in the postwar, fast-growing Luanda where Chagas currently lives. By rearranging these objects into new configurations, Chagas is also pointing toward the possibility of reinventing alternative relations with(in) the city. Drawing upon a theoretical framework indebted to postcolonial, diaspora, globalization, area, and urban studies, this essay also explores more or less acknowledged art historical affiliations of Chagas’s work with American minimalism and Angolan contemporary artistic practice, which allow for a more thorough understanding of his photography as spatial, material, quasi-sculptural, and performative. Chagas’s work defies geographical, cultural, art historical, and artistic categorizations. While indeed departing from the experience and memory of the urban space of Luanda through a photographic and performative interaction with its objects, it speaks of the complexities and contradictions inherent to the contemporary condition of dwelling in the global city.

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