The Planetary Portals
project examines the colonial afterlife of gold and diamond mining in South Africa by drawing attention to the social and environmental costs of extractive industries. In collaboration with Kaythryn Yusoff (QMUL)
, Kerry Holden (QMUL)
and Casper Laing Ebbensgaard (UEA)
, we examine how colonial dreams of Empire have been and still are sustained through 'changes of states' – that is, turning clay into bricks, bricks into speculative real estate, real estate into capital, capital into a speculative mining, and diamonds and gold into racialised dreams of Empire.
From gleaming skyscrapers in the City of London and the Rhodes estate in London's East End to the gold and diamond mines in South Africa, the colonial legacy of the extractive industries create an uneven geography where the vertical city can be mirror massed in networks of shadow architectures that stretch through quarries, shafts and mines. We develop the portal
as a speculative archival method for examining geo-social inequities that were necessary in sustaining spatial imaginaries and dreams of Empire through these shadow architectures of vertical expansion in the emergence and maintenance of extractive planetary futures.
The visual and narrative explorations for this project, examine the potential of virtual architectures, terrain and topographies, to bridge epochs of time to reflect on the legacies of extraction. From 19th century origins of the mines, to where these resources end up today, and the impact they have on society, bodies and lives. This artistic project—a muti-channel film work—brings to light the negative space of these histories.Diabolical Architectures of Colonialism
is a durational, allegorical film created in response to data from the Cecil Rhodes archive (held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford) from times during the Kimberley diamond rush (1871), South African gold rushes (1873-1886), and African expansion as a result of British, German, and Portuguese imperialism.
A speculative invocation of awkward spectres, inspired in part by Dante, peeks at the haunted underside of perfect digital utopias, as the capture of land and resources, still shapes today's economic disparities and fantasies of interplanetary colonisation. Accompanied by slowly building subterranean sound, an unknown narrator offers poetic musings throughout the film, drawing our attention to the negative spaces of extraction typically ignored by official records.
Created almost entirely in Unity 3D, the game engine software, this film conceptually engages the legacies of time, labour, psychological, material and climate decimation in the after-lives of colonialism. The poetic interludes scattered throughout the film, draw attention to the negative spaces of extraction neglected by official records, examining how one's cultural history and current reality is embedded within these legacies.DAOCFILM.ORG
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