Building Black Against Architecture

Elliot C. Mason | Poet, Writer, and PhD Researcher, Uppsala University, Sweden

In this talk, Elliot C. Mason presents the spatial force of capital as an expansive and homogenizing Sea, intent on turning everything into a single reproducible form. Through readings of architect Pier Vittorio Aureli and philosophers Neferti Tadiar and Fred Moten, Mason proposes a theory of the archipelago in resistance to the expansion of the Sea. Archipelagic islands of otherwise thinking endure the encroachment of similitude, creating private modes of communication between islands that are unregisterable in the logistics of the Sea. The Elephant and Castle in south London is presented as the case study of these dynamics, revealing how the developers attempt to subsume the social practices of difference into a form that can be coded in the individuating mechanisms of capital, but, somehow, resistance continues. Life in the Elephant cannot be fully captured, and that mode of life beyond capture—its spatial planning, the architectonics of its sociality—is what is studied here.