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Conversations at the Edge (CATE) Resource Guides


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This page contains links to articles, interviews, and videos that can be incorporated into your syllabus in preparation for an event or afterward for post-event discussion and research. Go to for detailed event information.

An Evening with Baloji
Thursday, February 29, 6:00 p.m. CT
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.

Please note that All CATE events will have real-time captioning (CART). Hearing loops, wheelchair seating, and companion seating are also available at the Gene Siskel Film Center. For other accessibility requests, please visit or write


Critically acclaimed Belgian-Congolese artist and musician Baloji presents a selection of his stunning short films. Operating in the realms between documentary, magical realism, and social critique, Baloji’s hybrid practice explores the transcultural identities of the African diaspora and the history and future of the Congo. He often collaborates with other artists to create elaborate costumes and sets his films to his own music, itself a kaleidoscope of hip-hop, Congolese rumba, and house with lyrics that mix the personal and political.  Featuring Kaniama Show (2018), Peau de Chagrin / Bleu de Nuit (2018), Never Look at the Sun (2019), and Zombies (2019)

Presented in partnership with the Gene Siskel Film Center, which premieres Baloji's Omen on Friday, March 1, as part of the European Union Film Festival: Spotlight on Belgium.


Born in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and based in Belgium, Baloji is an award-winning musician, filmmaker, art director, and costume designer. The word “baloji” refers to occult and evil forces. In Swahili, it initially meant “man of science,” but in colonial times it has been interpreted as “man of occult sciences”—essentially, “sorcerer.” This nominal assignment has proved to be both a burden and a gift, driving his visionary interest in the oneiric, magical, and historical. As a filmmaker, Baloji has produced six shorts, including the award-winning Zombies and the feature Omen, which won the Prix de la nouvelle voix at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival and is Belgium’s entry for the 2023 Academy Awards. Baloji Augurism, a solo exhibition related to Omen, is currently on view at the Fashion Museum Antwerp. As a musician, Baloji has released two solo EPs and two critically acclaimed albums, HotelL Impala (2007, EMI France) and 137 Avenue Kaniama (2018, Bella Union).

Artist Website


Baloji’s Synaesthetic Universe [Article]
Kiaku, Sebastiao Christopher; Luyckfasseel, Margot | Africa Is a Country | October 31, 2023
Baloji Blazes a Trail As Rapper, Filmmaker and Fashion Icon [Article]
Bradshaw, Lisa | The Brussels Times | November 23, 2023
Baloji Takes Hip-Hop Attitude to Congo [Article]
Hansen, Andreas; Obling, Karen | The Guardian | November 20 2012
Baloji and the Art of Averting the Evil Eye [Article]
Mekoun, Serine ahefa | Contemporary And | November 29, 2023
Baloji: Sound, Style, and Substance [Article]
Jennings, Helen | Industrie Africa | October 12, 2020


Congolese Belgian Rapper-Turned-Filmmaker Baloji Looks for Good ‘Omen’ With Cannes Debut [Article]
Vourlias, Christopher | Variety | May 26, 2023
Karlovy Vary: ‘Omen’ Director Baloji on Telling Stories From an African Perspective [Article]
Roxborough, Scott | Hollywood Reporter | July 1, 2023
Daring to Dream with Eyes Wide Open: Review of Baloji’s Zombies [Article]
Loewenson, Thandi | Review of African Political Economy | June 7, 2019



Conversations at the Edge Lecture Recordings
Conversation at the Edge video recordings (2016–present.) Available with SAIC login credentials.