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The RCA School of Architecture is a unique site for experimentation and research in architecture, interior, city and environmental design. The opportunity to work alongside designers and fine artists in a concentrated, postgraduate-only environment forms a core part of the School鈥檚 ethos. Students in the School of Architecture benefit from a broad network of professional practitioners and are encouraged to take part in live projects in international contexts. The School鈥檚 faculty represent important spaces of practice and research in contemporary architecture. We support students with bursaries and prizes related to their activities as well as sponsored internships, work placements, research projects, and exhibitions.

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Tracey Moore
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Royal College of Art
School of Architecture
T: +44 (0) 2075 904 206
E: soa-admins@rca.ac.uk

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Developed by Nono Mart铆nez Alonso

COP26 Reflections

As an architecture, COP26 fell foul of all of the regulations. For two weeks, with a notable choreographed chaoticness, the 鈥楤lue Zone鈥 negotiating space was removed temporarily from Glasgow as the city was redrawn as a patchwork of private and public occupancy. At times, navigating the COP26 programme felt like a mapless orienteering exercise with few doors and even fewer windows.

The Blue Zone and its 鈥榩hasedown鈥 outcome illustrated a noticeable lack of any alarm and a conscious attempt to construct a hospitable environment for the negotiators and not the negotiated. As part of the negotiating assemblage, 503 representatives from fossil fuel companies were present. If this lobby were a country it would have the most delegates present in Glasgow (followed by Brazil with 479 negotiators). Within this delegation are over 100 fossil fuel companies and 30 trade associations seemingly present for their own negotiations.

Conscious measures were taken by organisers of COP26 to ensure the protection of those tasked with protecting the planet and inscribed a new geography of spatial significance to the city. Miles of steel hoarding, concrete jersey walls, and an overwhelming presence of fluorescent yellow boundaries redefined the public鈥檚 potential for meaningful participation.

In a reactive resistance to this, the existing streets were reclaimed by activists and imbued with a new sense of civic visibility. Rallies, protests and performances redefined the streets of the city as stages for solidarity. Attending the Friday for Future Global Climate Strike was, by some measure, the most resonant experience of our attendance. There was a much-welcomed clarity in hearing the collective voice of the 25,000 strong young persons, parents, teachers, and activists as they marched, sang, and drummed their way from Kelvingrove Park to George Square. Culminating with a rally headlined by Vanessa Nakate and Greta Thunberg, the echoes of 鈥榖lah, blah, blah鈥 would have been clearly heard by those who would prefer not to listen.

COP26 shone most brightly through the presence of young and future generations.. At 21, Bruno Rodr铆guez鈥 demands to protect the rights of nature to avoid 鈥渏eopardizing the future of younger generations鈥 illuminated the Fifth International Rights of Nature Tribunal. RCA School of Architecture Dean Adrian Lahoud鈥檚 screening of Climate Crimes at the Glasgow Planetarium sparked the inquisitive curiosity and questions of audience members barely older than the 2015 Paris agreement. And Luisa Naubauer, who at 23 successfully filed a revolutionary complaint against her governing representatives in Germany over their insufficient action on reducing emissions, was loudly heard through the trees of Es Devlin鈥檚 scenography as an inspiring force in future climate leadership.

It was during Naubauer鈥檚 explanation of the 鈥榞aps鈥 within current climate law that the influence of staging, technology, and financial backing on the volume and legibility of climate messaging was at its most distinctive. The spatial inequalities were reflected through the production value of events. Some audiences were treated to a spectacle with elevated stages and sponsored sofas and pot plants, crystal clear zoom conferencing on 10-metre cinema-quality screens, and numerous camera operators and sound and lighting technicians. While others crowded small seminar rooms and struggled to operate microphones.

Throughout the week there was a taste of unsettling franchising of the conference which benefited those with the most substantive marketing budget, slickest video conferencing software, and just-for-profit innovation. COP branded whiskeys, formula E cars, PR for techno-solutionism were not to be found at the windowless, basement temporary headquarters of Global Justice Now, a tireless organiser of the COP26 Coalition who resisted the attempts of disenfranchisement and curated the most extraordinarily dense programme of alternative events in the name of climate solidarity.

In its opening and headline event, the People鈥檚 Tribunal, a number of judges, rapporteurs, and witnesses including: Lumumba Di-Aping, Vijay Prashad, Pablo Solon, Nnimmo Bassey, and Adrian Lahoud gathered to share evidence in view of simulating a charge against the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change over their inability or unwillingness to address the climate catastrophe. Delivering its verdict, the jury found the convention guilty of six serious charges calling for COP to 鈥渄isband in its current form and be reconstituted from the ground up鈥 as a means of redress.

Offering his dissent with usual vigour Di-Aping closed the tribunal:

The UNFCCC has allowed itself to be converted at best into a catering company for the G7, at worst into a carbon noose for the global south.

It is through words like Di-Aping鈥檚 in which COP鈥檚 are battled. As the conference drew to a close, the negotiations once again sucked the world into a whirlpool of jargon. In true British last-minute style, one of the most controversial moments of the 14 days occurred in overtime of the negotiations. 鈥淧hase-out unabated coal power鈥 was changed to 鈥減hase-down鈥 and this subtle difference set in motion generations of future planetary consequences.

鈥楶hasing-down鈥 may well be an accurate echo of the official 鈥楪lasgow Climate Pact鈥, but Glasgow has shown that the legacy of the conference as a whole does not have to be exclusive to what goes on inside, but how it can inspire those outside. Observing coalitions between geographies, stakeholders, expertise, generations, words and action, spaces and people offers to us a warm respite for the justified malaise that we share. It was in this solidarity - outside - that we observed a vibrant, intelligent, and inspiring phasing-up of collective energy that continues to march on towards COP27.

鈥擭ico Alexandroff, Benjamin Mehigan

[END]

Politics of the Underground

MA City Design 2021/2022
Politics of the Underground
Archaeological Site as a Case of Urban Struggle

Archaeological sites in Palestine are never frozen in time, they are living and breathing urban spaces. As public space is impossible to carve within the West Bank given the zoning laws imposed by the Israeli occupation, archaeological sites provide rare pockets of breathing room for children to play football, for teenagers to walk through tree groves in privacy, and for families to open popup souvenir shops for tourists visiting the sites.

Unfortunately these sites have been settler-colonial battlegrounds for a century, weaponised to dominate land by controlling its historical narrative. Hundreds of archaeological sites within Palestine were excavated and looted repeatedly, where imperial and settler voices and biblical narratives were then superimposed onto the ground, simplifying complexities and flattening out subterranean entanglements. In so doing, the process of colonial excavation - which exploited Palestinian labour including women and children - rendered Palestinian presence obsolete. Today, the settler-colonial Israeli state continues to weaponise archaeology as a tool for nation-building and expansion by attaching each site to a Zionist and biblical narrative.

By highlighting those spaces as living and breathing landscapes today and questioning the value systems and assumed linear time embedded in the classics and archaeological discourse, the MA City Design studio embraces a delinear state to contest the prevalent instrumentalisation of archaeological sites and shed light on how they are weaponized to expand the Israeli occupation. The apartheid state legitimises the dispossession of Palestinians from their homes and businesses near and in the archaeological sites in Sebastia, Hebron, Silwan, Al Jib, and many others. Settlements are strategically built near and around biblically significant sites as a chess move towards further land grabs and control of the physical terrain. Settlers terrorise the ecological landscape by setting fire to Palestinian agricultural fields surrounding the monuments, cutting down trees, and leaking toxic waste in the valleys.

The studio begins with Sebastia, a village northwest of the city of Nablus in the West Bank. This is the first case study in what will be a series of focused enquiries that will aim to do two things: restitch the fragmented archives of each site by building a living archive where historical and contemporary data is consolidated into a single open source space that can be used by the public, and two, create interventions that aim to undo models of the apartheid state. Both outputs centre Palestinian voices.

The studio will follow challenging lines of flight that explore different scales and forms of urban struggle including the right to public and private space, ecological terrorism, religious tourism, oral history, excavation labour, militarised archaeology, cultural heritage, displacement, and restitution. Through each lens the students will work towards collective knowledge building and embrace a collective mode of operating while engaging with the Palestinian residents, activists, NGOs, archaeologists, sound artists, archivists, through physical and virtual platforms. In the final term, the students will embark on their Independent Research Project taking off from the same lines of flight but through their individual and independent methods and interests. Future editions of the studio will look at other archaeological sites in Palestine with the hope of growing the living archive and forms of intervention over the years with each case study.

鈥擠ima Srouji

[END]

RELAY

At 12:00 CET on 16 July 2021, from the Teatro Piccolo Arsenale in Venice, Filet Space in London, and the 21C Museum in Nashville, RELAY1, a 24-hour global conversation hosted by the Biennale Architettura 2021, began. RELAY chased the hour between noon and 1pm around the planet in a global act of transfer鈥 holding time and space for one another, passing ideas on, and on, and on鈥 moving across time zones while continually staying in the present. RELAY was curated by Fiction Feeling Frame2 (Adam Kaasa, Thandi Loewenson, and David Burns).

In response to Biennale Architettura 2021 curator Hashim Sarkis鈥 framing statement 鈥楬ow will we live together?鈥, RELAY gathered over 60 architects, artists, activists, curators, and designers in conversation around questions of building a collective voice: 鈥楬ow can we speak to one another? How can we speak together?鈥

Participants included Onyeka Igwe (UTC+00), Himali Singh Soin (UTC-02), Zo茅 Samudzi (UTC-05), Raja Feather Kelly (UTC-05), DJ Lynn茅e Denise (UTC-07), Nicholas Galanin (UTC-09), Kapulei Flores (UTC-10), John Carty (UTC+12), Daniel Boyd (UTC+11), Abdul Abdullah (UTC+10), ruangrupa (Iswanto Hartono & farid rakun) (UTS+09), Ellen Pau (UTC+08), Sahej Rahal (UTC+08), Anna Engelhardt & Sasha Shestakova [Distributed Cognition Cooperative] (UTC+05), Stella Mutegi & Kabage Karanja [Cave Bureau] (UTC+04), Tabita Rezaire (UTC+03), and dozens more.

RELAY was broadcast in Accra at the Nubuke Foundation, at a special parallel satellite event hosted by Lesley Lokko of the African Futures Institute. A parallel RELAY accompanied the main broadcast, hosting intermittent performances and interventions by members of the Fiction Feeling Frame research collective, and the entire 24 hour event was live tweeted by current and former students of the School of Architecture on @fff_industries. Original artwork by Linn Phyllis Seeger was commissioned for the project and is archived on instagram at @fictionfeelingframe.

RELAY began and ended with the following performance:

ADAM: RELAY was a durational conversation, a ritual in circumferential publicness, a performance becoming telegraph, current, message.

THANDI: RELAY was resonance, synchronicity, amplification and interference. It was a live act of tuning and retuning, finding meaning as much in static, dead air and the space held between words, as in the weight, force and matter of speech.

DAVID: RELAY was the capacity to negotiate distance and time through a circuitry of interconnected broadcast, rather than the persuasion of instantaneity. It suggested the capacity of language, of energies, of influence to manifest through the technology of the discussion, of two bodies in relation, then two more and two more and bodies and bodies.

ADAM: RELAY was as if a global circuit of people were sitting in a circle and one by one we turned left and then turned right, an ongoing relayed conversation. Each brings into relief ideas, books, people, histories, disagreements, citations, places, fictions, alt-futures, so that a set of tender circles emanates and expands like a pebble in dark dark water.

THANDI: RELAY was the performance of the whisper, of gossip, of chatter. It practised the impossibility of being everywhere, hearing everything. It operated against human time, sleep time, productive time. It was about the impossibility of doing it all, at the same time, and the realisation that all depends on each in relay with the other.

DAVID: RELAY invited us to become submarine telegraph line, electromagnetic current, fibre optic cable, telephone pole, radio wave, sine, cosine, tan. We were not a message transmitted through a relay. Rather the relay became the message as infrastructure.

ADAM: RELAY broadcasted broadcasting, platformed platforming, and channelled channelling. It listened in on intimacies sited elsewhere and elsewhen. It collected a process of watching, observing, recording, transcribing. It was a sitting with, a being with, a radical togetherness that is fractured by time and geographical isolation. It invited a coming and goingness, a performance unique to everyplace and everyzone. It was a liveness experienced with multiple beginnings and multiple endings.

THANDI: RELAY performed itself as loss, leaks, disconnection, glitches, interruption. These were not gaps of meaning, but precisely the meaning of bandwidth.

DAVID: RELAY was a non-scripted scripting where sound became script became document became trace became live became comment. Each move was an integrated co-, a co-scripting, of co-sounds, co-documents, co-liveness, the you and me and us and there, and then, and was, and was, and might of co-traces.

ADAM: RELAY sat within larger histories of communication, transmission, cables and signs. Of the power of connection in histories of war, of colonisation, of empire, of pedagogy, performance and liberation. It was an experiment in relay as message as wave, wave as wake, wake as sound and space in time.

THANDI: RELAY relished the insurgency of what it was to feel for someone through the limitations and ruptures of the channels we have at hand.

DAVID: It happened now, now-now, now and again, through multiple forms of feeling through others and others feeling for you, refusing the limitation of the box, the screen, the container and the cell, and instead revelled in a line of sensing passed on, in the round.

鈥..

DAVID: Good morning, my name is David Burns. The time in Nashville now is 5:00am. TURN OFF CAM

THANDI: Good morning, my name is Thandi Loewenson. The time in London now is 11:00 am. TURN OFF CAM

ADAM: Good afternoon, my name is Adam Kaasa. The time in Venice now is 12:00 midday. TURN OFF CAM

鈥擜dam Kaasa, Thandi Loewenson, and David Burns


  1. RELAY was generously supported by WePresent, the digital arts platform of WeTransfer, and the School of Architecture at the RCA. 

  2. Fiction Feeling Frame is a research collective in the School of Architecture founded in 2020 that opens up a discussion about multiple and contradictory realities of lived, digitised, mediated, speculated and contested spatial lives through the lenses, literatures, entrapments, directions, and false ends of fiction, feeling, and frame. 

[END]

Invitaci贸n para leer en voz alta

The following is the first in a series of articles written by students from the School of Architecture documenting their studies in their own words. An English translation of the article is available here.

En discusiones dentro del programa de doctorado de la escuela de arquitectura en el Royal College of Art decidimos formar un Grupo de Lectura donde leer y discutir sobre pensar en otro idioma y sus implicaciones. Funcion贸 como un experimento para compartir la experiencia de lectura colectiva entre aquellos que compartimos un mismo lenguaje desde nacimiento, as铆 como aquellos que hab铆an conocido este idioma a partir de sus investigaciones y viajes. El Grupo de Lectura buscaba ofrecer un espacio para compartir en tiempos de distancia social, pero tambi茅n nos permite abordar lecturas nacidas en espa帽ol y cuyo pensamiento sobre estudios decoloniales, teor铆a cr铆tica, y pol铆tica de g茅nero no se traducen tan f谩cilmente.

Como primer ejercicio colectivo trabajamos en este texto a partir de la primera lectura que compartimos del soci贸logo peruano Anibal Quijano (1930-2018), 鈥淐olonialidad y Modernidad-Racionalidad鈥.

Cad谩ver Exquisito a partir de An铆bal Qujiano:

Quijano es principalmente conocido por su concepto de la 鈥榗olonialidad del poder鈥. La discusi贸n, en el contexto de una instituci贸n acad茅mica anglosajona y de tradici贸n imperialista, tiene como objetivo reflexionar en espa帽ol, sobre nociones de raza y cultura y el rol del lenguaje como dispositivo de poder que 鈥済enera el sistema-mundo moderno/colonial鈥. Este grupo de lectura busca explorar los sistemas de 鈥減roducir conocimiento, de producir perspectivas, im谩genes y sistemas de im谩genes, s铆mbolos, modos de significaci贸n; sobre los recursos, patrones e instrumentos de expresi贸n formalizada y objetivada, intelectual o visual鈥 de nuestra disciplina, la arquitectura y el urbanismo. Sobre c贸mo nuestras escuelas reproducen 鈥減atrones de expresi贸n de los dominantes, as铆 como de sus creencias e im谩genes.鈥

Si la colonialidad seg煤n Quijano, impone un orden racial y/o etnico del mundo bajo el capitalismo, 驴qu茅 rol puede jugar el lenguaje en el proceso emancipatorio de dichas estructuras de control? El pensar juntos en nuestros distintos entendimientos del idioma y sus traducciones castellanas, mexicanas, andinas, o incluso h铆bridas con el ingl茅s, nos ayuda a esclarecer las identidades heterog茅neas en aquello que pareciera unirnos; en ese lenguaje que compartimos, a煤n anclado de distintas formas, en los patrones de poder tan variados que rigen nuestras propias subjetividades. Este texto, a manera de cad谩ver exquisito, busca reflejar esas relaciones intersubjetivas como sede de la producci贸n de conocimiento. Este ejercicio cuestiona el car谩cter 鈥渋ndividual e individualista del sujeto鈥, evade la claridad autoral, y la post-producci贸n. Es m谩s bien huella de una conversaci贸n a siete manos sobre lo que significa pensar en espa帽ol acerca de la modernidad-racionalidad que materializa nuestra disciplina.

El nacimiento de la arquitectura como profesi贸n y del arquitecto como sujeto en nuestro contexto Iberoamericano emerge paradigm谩ticamente en la ebullici贸n de los procesos colonizadores de las Am茅ricas, donde a finales del siglo XVII la creaci贸n de la academia de las matem谩ticas con estudios especiales en arquitectura al reinado de Espa帽a, comienza estudios que pronto derivaron hacia la arquitectura militar y la fortificaci贸n gracias a documentos como el Tratado de Architectura, del matem谩tico jesuita Jean Charles de la Faille. Una disciplina que para mediados del siglo XIX se sediment贸 como autonoma de gremios ligados a las artes y las ciencias en medio de procesos revolucionarios y separatistas; en donde escuelas tan antiguas como la Academia Nacional de San Carlos que nace en el colapso del reinado espa帽ol, establece la carrera tanto de Arquitecto como de Ingeniero Civil en 1858 y cuyos egresados construyen las infraestructuras de unificaci贸n de un territorio hasta entonces unido por la gran estructura colonizadora pero fragmentada en su gobernabilidad. Para la mitad del siglo XX este proyecto arquitect贸nico e infraestructural ser铆a necesario en los procesos de modernizaci贸n de los distintos pa铆ses, donde castizos estudiados en instituciones europeas extienden sus preceptos de progreso y vanguardia en los contextos latinoamericanos.

Cabe detenerse pues en la connotaci贸n de 鈥渃astizo鈥 y 鈥渆studiados鈥 anteriormente mencionada, subrayando el car谩cter masculino, 茅tnico y cultural que denota y el trasfondo socioecon贸mico del sujeto al que interpela. Como nos ense帽贸 el pedagogo y fil贸sofo brasileno Paolo Freire (1921-1997), debemos preguntarnos cu谩les son las relaciones sociales y de poder que se transmiten, cuestionan o perpet煤an a trav茅s de determinadas pedagog铆as, ya sean acad茅micas o implementadas a trav茅s de protocolos, institucionales o no, de interacci贸n social. Como muestra, la aparente contradicci贸n de hablar del 鈥渆spa帽ol鈥 como idioma vehicular de este texto - al que se le dedic贸 la primera discusi贸n oral de este grupo sin conseguir llegar a un consenso de c贸mo se deber铆a llamar de forma inclusiva la lengua com煤n; 驴Cu谩ntos idiomas contiene en realidad 鈥渆l espa帽ol鈥? 驴Cu谩ntas subjetividades complementarias? 驴Cu谩ntas formas de pensamiento aut贸nomo? Las omisiones resuenan en el silencio. Si la arquitectura es un lenguaje com煤n y universal - algo dudoso en el fondo, pero a menudo reconocido - es pertinente recalcar las tan distintas subjetividades que la hacen posible, la articulan, la habitan y la discuten en los distintos idiomas que viven en cada uno de ellos.

Desde una posici贸n en este territorio professional, cimentada como es en las divisiones disciplinarias y categorizaci贸n impl铆cita en el paradigma sujeto-objeto, quiz谩s es posible considerar lenguaje como un primer paso en lo que de Sousa Santos llama el proyecto de 鈥渏usticia cognitiva鈥 que es presentado como prerrequisito para la descolonizaci贸n del conocimiento y la emancipaci贸n de las epistemolog铆as del Sur. 驴C贸mo consideramos tambi茅n las m煤ltiples formas de expresi贸n dentro de un idioma colonial, que contienen huellas de historias que han sido negadas en el canon euro-colonial? Es importante considerar la posici贸n de la academia como un espacio tanto de extracci贸n como de reproducci贸n de conocimiento. Es un lugar de intercambio en el que el lenguaje, en sus m煤ltiples expresiones formalizadas, hace una contribuci贸n prominente y constante a la producci贸n conceptual de valor. Si vamos a cuestionar lo que Quijano describe como la concepci贸n europea de una totalidad social, entonces tiene sentido considerar esto en t茅rminos de la relaci贸n entre modos de producci贸n ling眉铆sticos y el valor. En estos t茅rminos, podr铆amos contemplar qu茅 m茅todos podemos incorporar para confrontar m谩s profundamente los conceptos de propiedad y custodia en relaci贸n con el conocimiento y la subjetividad. Tales conceptos no necesitan ser limitados a la simple selecci贸n o negaci贸n de diferentes expresiones de significado, sino pueden ser aplicados a una trayectoria m谩s larga de producci贸n, en la que estas m煤ltiples afirmaciones sobre la realidad se reinterpretan y reproducen en relaci贸n con otros discursos, significados y verdades.

Invitamos a todos aquellos miembros de esta instituci贸n que quieran pensar juntos en espa帽ol a unirse a este grupo de lectura, proponer autores, l铆neas de cuestionamiento, o simplemente leer en voz alta.

鈥擱CA School of Architecture PhD Spanish Reading Group

[END]

Joining, Binding & Completing

In 2021/22, ADS5 will concentrate on building elements, their origins, carbon sequestering materials, and how they can be joined, bound, and brought to completion. We intend to provoke the construction industry and apply ethical purpose to our architectural skill sets. Through investigation and experimentation, we will learn where stone, timber, and other sequestrating materials can replace standard building elements. As architects, we will empower ourselves to regain the role of 鈥楧esign Team Leader,鈥 a role currently in the hands of Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers, figures who are understood to have the 鈥榖ehind the curtain鈥 knowledge of costs critical to determining the forward momentum of a project. Simply substituting one material for another based on cost alone does not anticipate - or acknowledge - the knock-on consequences to embodied carbon, social interaction, or the textural and poetic outcomes to the design. Furthermore, these substitutions potentially increase the price tag through more complex interfaces of building products and systems. We believe that only the architect is trained and suitably skilled to predict and control these variables. Assisted by structural and sustainability engineers, cost consultants, and specialist stonemasons and builders, ADS5 intends to equip our students with fundamental knowledge of material, structural, and sustainability costs. This will allow them to enter practice using their knowledge and consultant relationships to inform any project their practice is working on. We will demonstrate that this way can be cheaper, quicker, and greener to build. In short, our students will be the vanguard sent to change the industry from a net contributor of atmospheric carbon to a carbon capture industry.

Just as Karl Friedrich Schinkel questioned the relevance of classical language to a rapidly industrializing world, we may now ask what relevance do tectonics, style and expression have in the era of the Anthropocene? Can we build better and cheaper? What will our new patterns and processes look like? Can our influence on the planet and society be positive, as well as spatially enriching? What responses will it take, and where does it lead? What are the parameters guiding the ethics of our works, and how are these ethics reflected in a building鈥檚 freedom of expression?

During the Live Project, we will work with structural and sustainability engineers, along with quantity surveyors, to examine a selection of buildings, both newly completed and those about to break ground. This examination will result in a report on our greener, faster, and cheaper doppelg盲ngers of these projects. The studio will then have a menu of different building elements, which can then be deployed on their design projects throughout the year. Our selection of projects will include, but are not limited to, the following typologies:

  1. Office/Residential/Hotel/Mixed-Use Tower
  2. Mid-rise urban blocks
  3. Houses 鈥 terraced, semi-detached, or detached
  4. Public Institutions
  5. Bridges

We will then evolve our research and address our findings within a variety of parameters. We will test our findings in urban settings, as well as rural locations, and explore how these materials might be systematised and applied to a wide range of scenarios. Graphic representation will play a key role. Both in terms of visually depicting the building elements from our research, and how we draw and represent the joining, binding and completion of our design projects and underlying ideas.

鈥擜min Taha, Jason Coe & Peter Rae

[END]

Re-possession

Un Mundo Donde Quepan Muchos Mundos (For a world in which many worlds fit)1

RCA International Lecture Series 21-22, co-curated by Charlotte Grace & Dubravka Sekuli膰

The following is the text-format of an interactive working document that developed the arc of the series, co-mapped by Charlotte and Dubravka, and available to look at here. In the interests of redistributing authorship and amplifying a range of voices from a position of relative visibility (in the architecture world at least), we have committed to excessive footnotes.

Carrying the common wind2 3 of last year鈥檚 Co-liberation lecture series4, this year we look to inhabit and expand the idea of 鈥淩e-possession.鈥

We see possession5 as relating to oneself and one's place. It is both material and ethereal. It can be reclaimed and reoriented. In the spirit of social movements that seek to both take back and push forward,6 we refer to repossession7 as the struggle for an emancipated ownership: an object, state or practice of (re)produced belonging, felt as equally outward and inward, reciprocally individual and collective.

Repossession is a challenge to property: it is permeable and responsive, contingent on belonging and unbelonging.

Over the course of the series we will reach into and out from the earth and the body; searching for ways to repossess and reimagine them.

We will begin by excavating the relationships between geological, decolonial, and architectural practices, before exploring corporeal acts and atmospheres, somatic limitations and horizons, and the embodiment and enactment of emancipated selves and spaces, where a form of repossession is paramount.

We will trace the lines8 that are drawn to oppress, extract, and eliminate, but we will also outline the alliances9 that can unsettle colonial logic.10

With these discussions we seek a practice that can harness the moments and movements that both shape space and strengthen struggle in the search for repossession.

The series works to collect together an intentional community,11 situated in the affordances of now but oriented towards an other future. By mapping the emancipatory routes between ground and horizon, we want to get to the heart of the matter: to stretch out and open up where it meets, holds, and forms us; to foreground the ideas and artefacts that build memory, militancy, solidarity, imagination, and action otherwise.12

Confirmed Speakers include :

CAVE Bureau
Anupama Kundoo & Dima Srouji
Charles Heller (Forensic Oceanography // Border Forensics) & Nandita Sharma
Fred Moten, Stefano Harney & Charmaine Chua
Dread Scott & Imani Jacqueline Brown
Anne Holtrop
Marco Armiero
Amin Taha
Jinwar Women鈥檚 Village & the University of Rojava
Jonas Staal
Susana Cal贸 & Godofredo Pereira

鈥 Charlotte Grace & Dubravka Sekuli膰


  1. Zapatista Army of National Liberation 

  2. Scott, Julius S., 2018. The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution 

  3. TOUSSAINT, the most unhappy man of men!
    Whether the whistling Rustic tend his plough
    Within thy hearing, or thy head be now
    Pillowed in some deep dungeon鈥檚 earless den;鈥
    O miserable Chieftain! where and when
    Wilt thou find patience? Yet die not; do thou
    Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow:
    Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
    Live, and take comfort. Thou hast left behind
    Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies;
    There鈥檚 not a breathing of the common wind
    That will forget thee; thou hast great allies;
    Thy friends are exultations, agonies
    And love, and man鈥檚 unconquerable mind.
    William Wordsworth, 鈥淭o Toussaint L鈥橭uverture鈥 [1802] 

  4. Co-Liberation: the RCA School of Architecture International Lecture Series 2020-21 Convened by Thandi Loewenson & Dubravka Sekuli膰 with Adrian Lahoud, David Burns and Jingru (Cyan) Cheng 鈥楢s long as we are resisting we are free鈥 echoes the lingering battle-cry of the late Egyptian Marxist Samir Amin. For Amin, revolution was a process, a non-linear struggle forged in the long-now. This is revolution crafted in acts of resistance, in everyday opposition to an oppressive, profit-over-people logic which would seek to foreclose access, movement and imagination. This is revolution enacted through acts of freedom, through dangerous dreaming, alternative occupations and the construction of infinite, previously unthinkable possibilities in the face of enclosure. This is revolution as a home, a place of warmth, care, mutual aid, and solidarity across globally dispersed sites of interconnected struggle. This is a revolution that considers the days after the revolution as an integral part. It does not forget to think about those who will, after the revolution, as artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles reminds us, 'pick up the garbage on Monday morning'. This year鈥檚 series of lectures 鈥 under the theme Co-Liberation 鈥 draws these acts of resistance and freedom close and into dialogue, understanding that they operate both in time and space. We know that revolution is not a one time event and ask what unspent fuel remains from previous struggles to be reignited today? What can we learn from those who are on the front lines as we seek to imagine and build a more just, equitable world and how can we engage in constructing. 

  5. 'With respect to land and chattel, possession may well have started as a physical fact, but possession today is often an abstraction... except in the most abstract way, it is not possible to speak of the possession of intangible property.' - Brittanica 

  6. Rematriation: The Indigenous concept of Rematriation refers to reclaiming of ancestral remains, spirituality, culture, knowledge and resources, instead of the more Patriarchally associated Repatriation. It simply means back to Mother Earth, a return to our origins, to life and co-creation, rather than Patriarchal destruction and colonisation, a reclamation of germination. 

  7. Reconstruction
    Repair
    Reparation
    Rehearsal
    Refusal
    Re-appropriation?
    Redress differs from reparation in that it is not a compensation for loss鈥攍oss is immeasurable鈥攂ut is rather an articulation of that loss. 鈥擳avia Nyong鈥檕, 鈥淐onclusion,鈥 Afro-fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life (New York: NYU Press, 2018), 202. Re-enchantment 

  8. 鈥淲hat kinds of ethical viewing and reading practices must we employ, now, in the face of these onslaughts? What might practices of Black annotation and Black redaction offer?鈥 - Christina Sharpe, In the Wake 

  9. 鈥淢odern logistics (...) is founded with the first great movement of commodities, the ones that could speak. It was founded in the Atlantic slave trade, founded against the Atlantic slave (...) But the Atlantic slave trade was also the birth of modern logistics because modern logistics is not just about how to transport large amounts of commodities or information or energy, or even how to move these efficiently, but also about the sociopathic demand for access: topographical, jurisdictional, but as importantly bodily and social access.鈥 - HARNEY, Stephen Matthias; FRAPORTTI, Mattia; and CUPINI, Niccolo. Logistics Genealogies: A dialogue with Stefano Harney. (2018). Social Text. 1-16. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business. Available at: https://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/lkcsb_research/6228 

  10. "This requires the production of a science of loss, which is to say the science of whiteness, or, logistics." https://www.minorcompositions.info/?p=1032(Harney, Stefano, and Fred Moten. All Incomplete. Wivenhoe: Minor Compositions, 2021.) 

  11. Shout out to Hanif Abdurraqib who reminds us that "community is an intentional act." We see ILS as a germ, a seed, a glitch that can provoke this process - as a space of study in university but not of university, an undercommons (thank you Stefano Harney and Fred Moten for giving us vocabulary), a third university in which we dream as we ride the ruin. (thank you la paperson for showing us that 鈥渨ithin the colonizing university also exists a decolonizing education.鈥 la paperson. A Third University Is Possible. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2017.) A reminder that within the Royal College of Art there is also a radical college of art. (thank you RCA UCU) 

  12. "The future is no one's property; no need to shackle it. Not otherwise as in political horizon awaits, otherwise as in, a firm embrace of the unknowable; the unknowable as in, a well of infinity I want us to fall down together. Otherwise: the future is now and all those political promises we make to one another, all the wishing and hoping in earnest (say it three times like a spell: wishing and hopeing, wishing and hoping, wishing and hoping), all the leaps from the edges of bridges and mountaintops, all the reaching for and around, all the drug-taking and sex everywhere-we-should-not, all the serious study and strategy, theorising and making anew, all the breakeges that slice historical space-time鈥攁ll those movements that clear space and mark our struggle to live free, live better, love more, to knit abundance, all that is the work of another ealm that is not-there." Olufemi, Lola. Experiments in Imagining Otherwise. Maidstone: Hajar Press, 2021. Lola was our guest in Co-liberation ILS 2020/21 together with Focus E15, in a session 鈥淧eople need homes, give them keys!鈥 

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