Josie Beardsmore (RA)
Invasive species have caused irrevocable damage in ecosystems across the world. Usually, this is due to the interference of humans. The Golden Apple Snail is one such species that have found themselves in new lands. They find themselves intertwined in capitalist systems because they are bred as pets and for food. Their invasive success illuminates the cracks in the global economic structures. Through understanding a multi-species embodied experience, this project aims to challenge our preconceived ideas about ecology. I see the Golden Apple Snails as a companion and use this new knowledge to construct an alternative framework for ecology.
Technologies of Immigration Bail
Woodren Brade (RA)
This research investigates how the technologies used through immigration bail hearings expedite the system of incarceration and deportation. I have been scrutinising immigration bail, to examine the wider infrastructures circulating around the law that are also operating in the production of legal decision making and become consequential in the legal scene. Although bail is overlooked as a legal event, its weight to the individual implicated, is vast, bail can be seen as a pivot which reorganises the wider trajectory of harm. This research pays attention to the multitude of factors that become important in the experience of someone facing bail which the law deems inconsequential. Highlighting these moments in order to put focus on the significance of the insignificance of bail.
Pulmonary Politics: Breath(lessness) as an Inventory of Traces
My research tries to articulate how the atmosphere comes to be registered as a pulmonary condition and bodily-difference as both politically and environmentally produced. I therefore examine how the structural forces shaping urban atmospheres and knowledge production around health, disease and atmospheric gases come to compose and differentiate not only lungs, but also the visceral experience of breathing itself. I hope to trace how a body's capacity to obtain oxygen is nested in microclimates induced by histories of structural violence, current ecological transformations and atmospheric entities.
Ayana Miyuki Enomoto-Hurst (FA)
The public sphere has been digitally calibrated as a space that disregards geospatial proximity while at the same time mirroring its imperial arrangement; informing flows through and about space. Western utopian and dystopian domains have historically personified modernity’s precarity through the use of asian subjectivity. Leaning into this racializing notion of techno-orientalism imparts a cartographic lens for mapping this geo-virtual landscape. Approached as a metaphor, fluid object, and processor, I attempt to trace the circulation of the body from sex laborer through its virtual iterations and subsequent moderations. As an investigation to the intersection of racial and gendered mobility through technological space.
Suspended Death: Detention of Palestinian Bodies in the Cemeteries of Numbers
Omar Hmidat (FA)
Since late 1969, the Israeli Occupation Military have detained an unknown number of Palestinians and Arabs bodies in clandestine burial sites in militarised zones called Cemeteries of Numbers, Makaber al-Arqam. This research seeks to trace, detect, and unpack the different historical, political, legal, spatial, and territorial arrangements of the cemeteries, and the framework that renders the sites abstract and the corpses dis-appeared, but also looks at the Palestinian rituals of mourning and social and political solidarity. Methodologically, I mobilise discursive media review, geolocation, sensing techniques, and engage ethnographic fieldwork through open-ended interviews with the families of the “dis-appeared” and political activists.
Extended Circulations: Electronics Repair as Transitional Practice
Kiki Mager (RA)
Electronic waste has been studied as fastest growing waste stream through concepts of over-consumption and toxic waste colonialism. Building on their knowledge, Extended Circulations turns an e-waste lens onto repair infrastructure in waste producing contexts. Official legislations cite repair as prioritized waste-prevention strategy, but a lack of representing existing repair infrastructure in studies and policy papers suggests otherwise. Filling this gap this work reverse-engineers conditions of electronics repair framing repair as transitional practice towards less-extractive material worldings. Legal grammar, logistical mechanics, and regional politics at play are examined for how their normative assumptions disrupt potential extended circulations of digital devices and their components.
Andrea Macias-Yañez (RA)
This research amplifies and puts into dialogue the structures of governance, communal land holding, land cultivation and narratives via the lens of the minor. Located in Chiapas, Mexico, I explore how the historical conditions of coloniality, political refusal and soil microbes are interwoven forces in continuous conversation with the gentle gestures of tending land in agrarian contexts. In this marginal zone, political agency rubs against economic models of progress through the slow but consistent embodied knowledges applied in cultivation. Script writing and film become active methods to weave these various scales—to emphasize that quotidian life cannot be easily reduced, divided or representationally conquered.
Karachi exists today perhaps in one of its most fragile ecosystems. Investigating the spaces between land and sea- the coastal urban periphery, within the complex layers of the vast urban metropolis. Developing different spatial temporalities of Karachi’s growing scape, understanding lands relationship to sea, saline water meeting fresh water in the estuary, real estate extending outwards beyond the coastal edge, conceptualizing fishing villages into grid-based housing societies. Analysing colonial coastal capitalism, and archival referencing, the act of making of a land or the process of reclaiming land as a political extension of states power and economy and the ecology extends into decay and disappearance of lesser voice- the impact on human and non-human activity.
The Battle for the Den: Unravelling the Real Estate State in South Bermondsey
Ross McKendrick (RA)
In October 2019, after a 3 year-long legal battle, situated within a wider conflict spanning 16 years, Lewisham Council voted to expunge a Compulsory Purchase Order which would have seen land leased to Millwall Football Club sold to developer Renewal. This didn’t mark the end of this ongoing conflict, however, as the processes underlying this imperative for development still exist, and are rapidly gathering pace in Renewal’s New Bermondsey scheme. This project sets out to understand these processes as constitutive of the Real Estate State – an urban economy structured in such a way that the state grants inordinate amounts of power to institutions and entities which are committed to fixing capital in various spatial forms through their so-called regeneration. Through a variety of methods ranging from the investigative to legal intervention to artistic practice, the project aims to open a space in which those most at risk of cultural erasure in the area can put forward their vision for the future of the area, and forge connections which can take existing campaigns, both within South Bermondsey and beyond, forward.
Landscapes of Incarceration
Lou Moria (RA)
Walls, fences and barriers are an inseparable part of the landscape between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan river, limiting and controlling Palestinians movement while enabling other materials to move across those borders undisturbed. Carefully planned systems of subterranean infrastructures; authorities turning a blind eye; lists of dual-use materials; orders, and laws are all part of an apparatus where seemingly separated case studies are linked by Israel’s control and occupation systems. My research follows the material circulation across Israel's borders with the West Bank and Gaza, and how it is transforming the environment, expanding the landscape created by incarceration far beyond the immediate border’s sphere.
The Creation of a Tearing Artefact: On Sounding Terraformation
Natalia Orendain del Castillo (RA)
The Goodwin Sands is a large bank of shifting sands off the coast of Kent on the English Channel. A Marine Conservation Zone containing thousands of shipwrecks, its dynamic nature has been the justification for a large dredging permit for Dover Harbour. How are such complex ocean systems being sensed and modelled, in order to be managed? How can we map and speculate on a site that is constantly moving? There seems to be a need to find alternative aesthetic forms, and instead of representing the sands through the fiction of isolated survey data, understand them as a topological space, full of relationships, more-than-human reactions, rhythms, flows and other planetary conditions which produce them.
Psychopolitical Semiologies: The alt-right Regime of Signs
Imogen Piper (RA)
The alt-right is an ideologically incohesive yet semiotically coherent movement. The political signifiers they use to convene and converse play a crucial role in the production of a collective, identitarian subjectivity. Psychopolitical Semiologies emerges from the decision to re-inscribe the alt-right as a regime of signs, proposing a semiotic means of investigation that places attention on the modes, mediums and machinics of discourse rather than solely on the message. Utilising theoretical and diagrammatic strategies from post-structuralist philosophy and psychoanalysis, this research seeks to explicate the heterogeneous systems and economies of desire that have lead to the proliferation of certain political signifiers, the subjectivation process and the resultant mainstreaming of extreme identitarian politics.
Demolishing Negligence: The Urban Transformation after the 2017 Earthquake in Mexico City
Miguel Ramos (RA)
On September 19, 2017, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico City. The natural disaster opened a state of exception where the structural powers over the city catastrophized the event and transformed the urban environment. The demolition of architectural infrastructure after the collapse caused during the seismic movements highlighted the negligence in the construction processes and in the attention to victims, and questioned the role of memory as a form to demand the right to the city after the catastrophe. As a node of this dynamic, the urban transformation of a private university campus located in the south of Mexico City is scrutinized after the autocratic decision of demolishing 10 buildings that integrated the campus.
This research is an attempt to reframe the perception of the sky not as a void merely interrupted by weather phenomenons, but as a newly structured and surveilled volume that is increasingly weaponised. It contemplates how aerial surveillance and the enclosure of the sky impacts people crossing borders in the Mediterranean. By mapping the current and future enclosure of the sky above the borderzone, this project tries to critically rethink the vertical as a hostile environment by looking at aerial witnesses and their disembodied ways of seeing. It will investigate and depict the emerging policies of distance and the alternate atmospheres they construct.
(In)Audible bodies; Re-cognising Multispecies Listening
George Ridgway (RA)
As global sound levels increase and ecologies unravel, listening to sensory pollution across a multispecies paradigm is a demand to refigure where and how auditory bodies exist. By attuning to situated practices of listening, with ecological conservation in the UK, with the science of acoustic ecology, with emerging acoustic technologies and with human and non-human entities, the research aims to interrogate and archive how sonic boundaries and forms of inscription pattern matter and sense. I argue that within the figuring of these sonic patterns is a space where climate change and ecological fragmentation can be cognised. A space always subject to the reverberations of extractive colonial and capitalist frameworks and their violent homogenising affects. Yet a space that also offers opportunity to listen with others and in doing so problematise dominant spatial imaginaries and propose alternative forms of sociality.
Politics of Squatting
Ana López Sanchez-Vegazo (FA)
During the summer of 2020 in Spain a wave of news emerged alarming about the increasing danger of house occupations during the period of the pandemic. Advertisements from private alarm companies surfaced in the media with messages about squatting alarm equipment. A specific area against squatters was created in the City Council in Madrid, and several law proposals against squatters appeared all around the country. In this context, this research seeks to investigate speculation and the housing crisis through the criminalizing of the squatter’s movement in Madrid and Barcelona during Covid19, to understand dwelling struggles through real estate market structure and the touristic model of Spain.
Making Sense, Sampling Uncertain Thresholds
Caterina Selva (FA)
This research explores the politics of oil extraction and perceptibility in the region of Val d’Agri, in the south of Italy. It focuses on the circulation of matter by considering the translation into knowledge of entangled spatial phenomena. The research stays with the data gaps produced by the rift between ‘normal science’ and monitoring as tools appropriated by corporations, and the forms of science that are mobilized by citizens that attempt to make sense of environmental degradation and claim rights. By giving visibility to the epistemological struggles around damage and thresholds of harm, I try to make intelligible what does not have sufficient evidence, and to support new alliances in resisting one sided forms of geological dependence.
Automating Bureaucracy: Black Box Futurity in the UK’s Hostile Environment
Sanjana Varghese (FA)
Under the veneer of techno-solutionism, the UK is seeking to move to a digital by default immigration system, drawing from an ecosystem of migration management technologies, ostensibly to reduce bureaucratic backlog and reliance on paper documents. This ongoing material and spatial shift from papers, forms, documents to cloud-based software and databases underpins the ways in which technophilic policy making produces an alibi for precarity and violence. This research seeks to examine and deconstruct 'black boxing' processes in this bordering assemblage, through forms of counter-mapping and investigative research that trace the complex network of private firms, government departments, state bodies, organisations and technologies which comprise these databases. It will examine two specific immigration databases - one under construction and one already in use - to demonstrate how supposedly neutral automated processes of information collection and classification reproduce, and generates dispossession and in the way that bureaucratic outcomes already do.
Aerial Starvation Warfare
Nikki Vieler (FA)
During the Saudi-led coalitional intervention of Yemen (2015-present), aerial strikes were conducted on infrastructure, in particular upon various bridges. The bridges targeted by military strikes were civilian objects which have been disproportionately damaged. The bridges are of vital importance to transportation and distribution of food amongst the Yemeni people. The attacks on the bridges can almost certainly be considered violations of international humanitarian law. The consequences and starvation of Yemeni’s through the destruction of these bridges, can also constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity. This project investigates some of these attacks (such as the Al Siyani Bridge).
Consolidating Climate Colonialism: Solutionism and Extractivism in UK Climate Policy
Ollie Zhang (RA)
Affluent, Global North countries are culpable for over 90% of emissions beyond planetary boundaries, with the UK overshooting its proportion of a fair carbon budget by over five times. Consumption and production in Global North countries are predicated on colonial relations of unequal exchange with Global South countries – in other words, an imperial mode of living dependent on organising social and society-nature relations elsewhere. Drawing on feminist, queer, and anti-colonial thought, I argue that the climate crisis is both produced by and produces colonialism. The UK’s March 2021 Build Back Better plan serves as a case study through which to critique extractive, solutionist climate policies, which fail to address the real roots of the issue at hand. Target-driven, growth-oriented responses motivated by expansionary, capitalist logics will do no less than consolidate and reify colonial dynamics.
Haunting Assad’s Syria: Etymologies of Compliance and Dissent
Leila Zimmerman (RA)
By looking into instances of state mass violence taking place in Syria since 2011, this research explores the relationship between body, voice, and violence, while examining the role of language in registering events, conditions, and the imaginary it reinforces. The first part looks into governmental practices and apparatuses which have, as their rationale, the production of uniform political subjectivities and examines the mechanisms through which they hold the potential to nullify dissenting voices and generate a dominant narrative. Using hauntology as a guiding concept, the second part explores ways in which a return to Arabic etymology and grammar can be generative of new connections and create cracks in the dominant narratives. In translating to and from Arabic, this research practice attempts to develop linguistic and performative strategies to challenge established power dynamics by activating the transformative potential of language in connecting the self and the collective.