About the Project

SENGHOR ON THE ROCKS is the first novel that has been annotated in its entirety with online satellite imagery. The novel is presented online in an interface made up as a virtual book and every page of text is accompanied by a satellite view of the current location of the story. Readers experience the novel's action as a journey on the map including smooth pannings from location to location as the characters travel around or different zoom-levels showing areas in close detail or as an overview.

Details about the technical and conceptual aspects of the project can be found in the paper published by the creators at the Conference for Electronic Literature in Europe "Senghor on the Rocks: A Georeferenced Electronic Novel".

Due to a lack of funding – this is a non-profit online experiment in editing text in a really new way – there is no English translation of Senghor on the Rocks yet.


On the 20th of December 2001 everybody in Dakar, Senegal, is on his feet to celebrate the national team’s first qualification for the Football World Cup. But the jubilation soon is overshadowed by the news of the death of Leopold Sedar Senghor, the republic's legendary first president. This collision of two historical events raised questions of the identity of the country on the edge of the new millennium and set the background for the story of SENGHOR ON THE ROCKS. The novel itself deals with the involuntary journey of young assistant cameraman Martin “Chi” Tschirner, who came to Dakar for a promotional video job. In part one of the novel Chi is followed through a fast paced adventure taking him through Dakar. Chi is too busy to care much about where he is or what the city he is hurrying through may be like – other than loud, dirty and inscrutable. Chi doesn’t like his job or the people he works with and the routines of his work prevent him from seeing the world instead of a series of changing locations requiring different light filters and lenses. The story takes its turn as Chi loses his job for sleeping with the producers lover and – deprived of the camera that normally shields him – finds himself defencelessly sucked in to the foreign and vivid city of Dakar: What started as a job turns into a journey with an uncertain outcome.

In part two jobless single Chi makes friends with a guy named Assane offering him his friendship and a place to stay. In return Chi helps to organise a gathering of Assane’s entire family – a funeral will take place in Dakar next week and even uncles and aunts from the countryside far away want to attend. That’s how Chi comes to visit Touba, the Saint City of the Muride brotherhood, and the meandering Sine Saloume delta, where he has to pick up the Mague, the most honourable elders, to drive them to Dakar.

Due to a small faux pas Chi falls prey to the African aunt’s system in the beginning of part three. He has to leave Dakar and decides to spend the rest of his holiday at the enchanting petit côte, Senegal’s most touristic area. But soon he gets entangled with the trouble of L'Homme Tranquille and joins the party people of resistance...

SENGHOR ON THE ROCKS is dedicated to an audience interested in an entertaining read, a new form of presenting literature online or a new Google Maps mash-up.

Contact & Feedback

Please direct comments, questions or bug reports to mail@senghorontherocks.net.


The following people have gathered in Vienna / Austria to create Senghor on The Rocks:
Text & Geodata: Christoph Benda
Design: Johannes Krtek / Flachware
Programming & Production: Florian Ledermann

Text and online-adaption of SENGHOR ON THE ROCKS is published under the Creative-Commons License „Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivatives 2.0 Österreich“.

Creative Commons License