Ola Hassanain & Egbert Alejandro Martina

Over the past months we have been thinking together about architecture, spatiality, poetics, inhabitation, liveability in extensive ways. We wanted to take this opportunity to write something together.

The question of un/inhabitability is becoming more and more pressing amidst increasing extreme weather events that threaten human and non-human life. African nations and small island nations in the Pacific and Caribbean, in particular, are vulnerable to becoming uninhabitable due to global warming, rising sea levels, coastal erosion, failing potable water supplies. Architects and urban planners are at the forefront of imagining what a sustainable future might look like. Architectural drawings and the plans drawn up by urban designers make a future potential as already real and provide pathways to bring it into physical being However, architecture, as an exercise of power in concrete form, is far from an innocent and virtuous practice. The idea that it can offer a cure for the global ecological crisis asks us to consider the specific and unspoken techno-utopian imaginaries that animate and shape (the visions of) the proposed better future(s). In the search for solutions, an important question seems to remain unasked: what exactly is being sustained with sustainable architecture?

Sustainability sustains a certain aesthetic sensibility or climate: meaning, it often ends up sustaining the (re)production of existing social relations. Sustainability’s power works through its promise of turning everything green and, as such, fit to support life. The rise of “green prisons,” that is prisons that comply with green construction industry standards, complicates an easy equation between green and habitable. The greening of the site of carceral power par excellence tells us that what is propagated as sustainable cannot be separated from the creation and the continuation of the uninhabitable. Lance Hosey  notes that the very concepts of ecology and sustainability carry within them “an aesthetic mandate.”1 The sustainable—and by extension the habitable—is, apart from green, ‘clean’, ‘efficient’, ‘smart’ and ‘intelligent’, and each of these descriptors perpetuates an ableist norm. A sustainable future, it seems, has been set up with what is already in place. Whose future/worldview, exactly, is being sustained? Hosey asks us to consider whether “smarter tools merely make us better at making things worse.” We agree with Hosey’s assertion that “we have yet to face the underlying social and cultural circumstances that caused the crisis.”

We are not particularly interested in offering descriptions of crises, but rather in analysing how catastrophe (the onset and continuation of uninhabitable conditions) and architecture’s quest for newness are interrelated, and possibly inseparable. We offer this analysis as a record of a conversation in progress that might offer us ways to imagine how we can live otherwise.i We became interested in newness because the descriptor new is being attached to spatial arrangements, e.g. the New Urban Agenda and the New Sudan, that are perceived as breaking with what has been done before. Yet, despite their claims to “newness,” what was being offered as new was essentially rehearsals of well-worn policies and practices. We witness these rehearsals with the same level of exhaustion and frustration that seems to pervade David Satterthwaite’s discussion of the latest New Urban Agenda. Satterthwaite asks,

How new will the urban agenda coming out of Habitat III actually be? UN-Habitat’s “vision document” on the New Urban Agenda and Habitat III contains very little that is new – much of what it says was also said at Habitat I or II. Perhaps more to the point, will Habitat III be any more effective than Habitat I and II in actually generating the needed action? There are still many “old” urban agendas that urgently need attention.2

What else is there when one is tired of both the old and the new? The newness in the New Urban Agenda follows the well-beaten track of not addressing how petro-modernity’s spatial rationalisations across multiple scales made black geographies and people particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

The “New Urban Agenda” evokes a sense of optimism and promise in its depiction of changing constellations of labour and mobility in global capitalism. The New Urban Agenda champions endless formal innovation and obsessively seeks technical sustainability, while still presupposing ‘development’ and perennial economic growth. Its Sustainable Development Goals intended to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” must be situated within the long geopolitical processes, driven by “the anti-blackness of global capital,” that enabled land theft and ecological emptying of space The New Urban Agenda engendering ownership to foster social cohesion they envisage cities and human settlements as capital situated in ownership only.

New, here, allows for a circumvention of accountability that leads to an apolitical approach to vulnerability: climate change makes our lives vulnerable. However, climate change is but one among several causes of vulnerability for African and small island nations. Climate change compounds existing vulnerabilities that are being produced by a continual interaction of political, economic and social processes. African nations and small island nations are bearing the brunt of climatic shocks and projects of development in their lands as well as their bodies. The fact that there is nothing new in the New Urban Agenda—the old problems remain unresolved—made us come to the realisation that “bearing the brunt” is a condition of the new. To put it otherwise, the cost of responsibility towards the environment is the slow devastation of black geographies.

We are not so much interested in what is new in these propositions that make an appeal to novelty, there is nothing new about them. Rather, we are interested in the work that new does in the process of space-making.

Space-making is - generally speaking - a practice foreclosed by Architecture and Urban Planning and their investment in permanency, which has extended that foreclosure onto the future. As a result, both the ‘new’ in New Urban Agenda and the New Sudan attest to (different) views of a foreclosed future.  By contrast, we suggest that the narratives of the New Sudan and the New Urban Agenda stress the ways in which people have to face injurious conditions when they are forced to endure, bear, and sustain the impact of sociocultural discursive ideals and processes that further the narrative of economic growth yet render its citizens precarious. That is, they are coerced into becoming participants in a world governed by capital whose options are however limited to low-wage shift work.

For instance, the term ‘New Sudan’ originates from a concept for restructuring the Sudanese state, which was proposed by the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement during the Second Sudanese Civil War. The vision of 'New Sudan' was developed by Dr. John Garang, who advocated the ‘New Sudan’ as a democratic and pluralistic state in 1994. It was a clear reflection of people’s aspiration to exit the catastrophe of war. In 2019 the term resurfaced sphere morphing into We shall ‘build’ a ‘New Sudan’. Clearly fused with poetics from Mahgoub Sharief’s song: “We shall build it, that which we dream of daily”. ‘Building a new Sudan’ here is what we identify the tensions where space-making facilitates holding catastrophe in place, rather than holding space for human ecology or life.  And so an idea of building that comes attached to newness, suggests a restructuring of the urbanscape that is presumed to bring about a cultural and political reset as the only way by which we as Sudanese people get to move on from catastrophes. Ironically as we chant, repost and share and at times, even believe the promise of a new Sudan, the inflation steadily rises making the money one makes hourly depleted, and thus life on a day to day basis impossible for a majority. This marks that catastrophe which hides behind a ‘New’ Sudan has not- by any definition-‘ended’. This story of recurring economic brokenness that happens in the wake of predictions of the booming of African cities is the idea of the following: each time newness is invoked it repeats and consolidates racial regulatory formations on land and life.

Every time we hear about building a New Sudan there is an implied dangerous proposition/argument that more ‘building’ will deliver comfort (since it is an architectural speciality and priority) for the most vulnerable of society. Investment in comfortable housing would provide those without property a stake in society. This sends a message to just wait till we finish building the rest of the people who are enduring crushing poverty are supposed to wait till they “get property” for any radical change to happen. New Architecture can only deliver repetition of the conditions that brought people into poverty in the first place and by default can never give change. Things are always changing - for the worst. We are always asked to wait until building finishes before we address issues people face. We are asked to wait while the building process continues. Our problems are never urgent enough to halt the new objects creating our surroundings. Shahram Khosravi argues that “prolonged waiting not only engenders new vulnerabilities but also aggravates vulnerabilities that are already present, revealing socio-political regulations that result in an unequal distribution of risk and hope.”3

Waiting seems to capture this obscurity that the term ‘endurance’ seems to impose on situations that are continuously catastrophic. Waiting suggests a notion of time. This also reflects the process of architectural building; the status quo is to keep building and we wait until building is finished. The structures are being built despite. Here, waiting does not refer to delays in building construction, but as an imposed state of suspension in which one is forced to wait for things to get better. Charles Davis “much of black life has always had to “make do” with what was leftover by industrial modernism, a black existential orientation toward architectural practice might resuscitate the strategic value of populations so often overlooked by postmodern theorists who struggle to maintain the pan-European character of Western architecture in an increasingly global society.” Moreover, it harnesses and exploits

the forms of unwaged work through which individuals meet their daily needs for food, shelter, and care, and raise a new generation to take their place. Today social reproduction must be understood in a much broader sense than reproductive or domestic labor. It denotes the production of all the forms of social cooperation on which capitalist accumulation depends as capital continually seeks to harness all of life to “its times, spaces, rhythms, purposes, and values.4

The scenes of survival serve as dramatic testaments to the physical and psychological endurance of black people and is the primary means by which the narrative advances. However, endurance is not simply about survival, but about a circuit of values that shore up endurance and ability/capacity as a moral category.

I can’t help but be  reminded of a speech by the fallen President Omar Al Bashir said in response public’s dismay (one of many voiced throughout his reign)  about the conditions of Khartoum city’s failing system:

The Sudanese ‘human’ spends most of his ‘life’ building a house. You all did not know how to live and that is why you aren’t grateful now.

The current climate of devastation in the city of Khartoum is not new. Devastation has been the norm but also what the population is sometimes asked to expect. Devastation was systemic in Sudan’s territories for decades but has taken different forms: direct wars in some places and in other places it took the form of imposed financial (economic sanctions), state-sanctioned violence continue unabated (ethnic-based violence in Darfur is still ongoing), mass displacement from the rural into the urban is at an all-time high, and the pandemic has been grossly mismanaged. Basic needs are not met, governmental formations have maintained this machine that keeps everyone in place as it feeds the global market. This provokes the question: why is it- for the Sudanese- that Sudan is continuously rendered uninhabitable?

To attempt to answer we must try to think about what endurance means in what Fred Moten names a “durational field rather than event” in a socio-political order that is premised on values of endurance, fitness, and mastery? We read endurance in relation to what Julius B. Fleming Jr. has theorised as “black patience,” that is “an analytical framework for understanding those “entanglements” that congeal around the historical logic and practice of forcing black people to wait.5 This violent, transhistorical experiment in duration has fostered an indeterminate sense of time—one that renders black time in particular something “lived, not synchronically or diachronically, but in its multiplicity and simultaneities”. Alcinda Honwana, too, stresses the spatial and temporal arrangements of anti-blackness.6 Honwana argues that “young Africans are living in waithood, a prolonged period of suspension between childhood and adulthood.” She describes waithood as a “stalemate,” a type of temporal uncertainty that forces “a growing number of young men and women [to] improvise livelihoods and conduct their personal relations outside of dominant economic and familial frameworks.” Enforced waiting is one of the colonial tactics.

Did you hear this podcast? 
They are discussing if Africa’s ‘youth boom’ will be a blessing or a curse…

Catastrophe is a climate of waiting. There are interesting connections to be revisited, between the ‘new’ and ‘building’ that positions itself as a new beginning, as if what came prior has ended or was never there. We read this as a conscious recasting of the act of building as also metaphorical, as yet another ahistorical, ‘universal’, progression of catastrophe. Because of building, we will now deal with the material layered manifestation that camouflages catastrophe. However, living otherwise outside of catastrophic time does not entail more building from scratch (the modernist tabula rasa). We thus strive rather to acknowledge that there have been methods of entangling the process of building (making buildings and urban life) with so many other aspects of black life. This way of being amidst catastrophe has utilised imagination, to anticipate political moves and carved out temporary spaces across many built sites. One such example would be the concessions of the Sudanese revolution, which carved out the space of the sit-in. It was a site that was built to host a moment of refusal. A historical example would be colonisation in African settings, which has worked to isolate things from each other and create archipelagoes yet have them continue to work together as an operative network that feeds global capital. We are interested in how the links between sites of catastrophe can be reconfigured to put forth relationality that imprints Black livingness in sites ontologically and epistemologically marked as unliveable/uninhabitable.

To us, newness seems to reinforce and secure the continuance of the inhabitable. What makes newness interesting, then, is its use as a signifier that camouflages the spatial allocation of uninhabitability, a matter of where and when a catastrophe happens next.

We want to take a moment to consider the relationship between newness and architecture.  Any exploration of newness in architecture requires that we consider the question of time. Architecture is not simply a matter of space—the most fundamental problem in architectural practice is the “complex problems of time and historicity.” Spatial matters are inherently temporal matters. The word space comes from the Latin word spatium meaning an interval of time.7 We might think of architecture as the spatialisation of time—a writing of time in space. The discourse of new was central to modernist spatial projects.

Modernist architects, like Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, insisted upon “the idea that architecture is to start all over again, that one should make tabula rasa of the existing and construct a completely new world.”8 For modernists, a blank space emptied of the debris of history—that is, time emptied of its lived concreteness—was considered necessary to usher in  (supposedly) new forms, or as Le Corbusier put it: “an architecture in which the old codes have been overturned.” A new future would be built in the clearing opened up by a complete rejection of a past. The tabula rasa—newness—represented the promise of progressive future rather than destruction and erasure. In modernist spatial theory, “newness” served not only as an indicator of a temporal break (a marker of sequential progression), it was also fundamental to envisioning the inhabitation of a time and space that is yet to come. Architectural discourse has remained fascinated and excited by a creative newness decoupled from tradition; a temporal continuity with the past is perceived, to cite Juhani Pallasmaa, as “reactionism and a source of boredom.”9 Yet, as Pallasmaa notes, architecture’s obsession with newness has reached a turning point where “a distinct repetitiousness and monotony” has set in. It comes as a surprise, to Pallasmaa, that “the quest for uniqueness seems to result in sameness, repetition and boredom.”

Contrary to the proclamations of modernist architects, architectural ‘newness’ was never originary, that is it was not ‘new’ in the sense that it was not “the manifestation of some pure element never seen before,”10 rather “newness emerged as a reinscription, a cross-inscription, a writing over,” that dismissed and/or ignored the embodied practices of place-making present in the socio-cultural environment.11 We might consider modernist architecture, riffing off of Diana Taylor, “as a different form of storage of what’s already here. Its iterative, recurrent quality functions through repeats, yet breaks out of them.” Modernist architecture retained perceived old or pre-new condition whilst embodying a grammar of renewal. Modernist architecture is, in that sense, (re)iterative.

We can find the precursor of the modernist insistence on the emptying of space as a necessary precondition to new development in the settler-colonial “logic of elimination.” The Settler-Master discourse of newness, as Anthony Moran notes, proclaimed that the societies built on conquered lands were “new societies free of the problems, the traditions and the class distinctions that bedevilled the ‘old world’. The ‘absence’ of history and tradition meant that settlers could build their own utopias without hindrances.”12 Whitney Bauman offers a poignant observation that connects spatial conquest to an act of divine creation. Bauman argues that a key underpinning of the legal fiction of terra nullius was the Christian doctrine of creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing).13 This doctrine of a divinely mandated human dominion over nature—a theology in which “humans mimic the power of the Creator God”—provided “a justification for the colonial concept of individual property,” and the underlying cause of the present ecological crises.

Architecture, it seems, is, at its core, informed by this “monological epistemology,” that is “in part based in the desire to realize the ideal unification of will and act found in the God who creates ex nihilo.”14 Modernist apologists championed the architect, Adnan Morshed argues, as “a sort of secularized God”15 one who creates order out of chaos. Architectural publications, as Jonathan Hill notes, have helped to maintain the status of the architect as a “creative and skilful environmental manager,” a “problem solver and moderator of climatic performance.” Modernist architects, much like Settler-Masters, understood themselves as divinely ordained, “as those first conditioning their world rather than being conditioned by it.”16 Willie James Jennings notes that,

What is decisive here is that a creative authority, a creative regime, gets channeled through white presence. That creative regime activates simply by the performance of whiteness. All peoples touched by the machinations of colonialist operations get caught up in that creative regime.17

Jennings’ concept of the creative regime of conquest provides a conceptual bridge that allows us to think of architecture’s quest for new forms as a reiteration of the creative regime of conquest that turned abstract blank space into inhabitable places. This transformation required that a habitable place become “a site of racial-sexual regulation.”18 Practices of space-making rest upon the fungibility of blackness. Tiffany Lethabo King notes that “colonial conceptions of Blackness mediated the ways the natural world could be imagined as manipulable and an open landscape of flux.” Settler-Masters imagined black flesh “as forms of flux of space,” which enabled them to discover through experimentation the spatial possibilities of their environment. The productive and reproductive capacities of the enslaved—as forms of fungible property—provided a conceptual and discursive currency that enabled the Settler-Master to settle space as well as imagine spatial expansion.19 Relatedly, Zakiyyah Iman Jackson theorises the creative regimes of conquest have produced “blackness as a plastic way of being.” Plasticity, Jackson writes, is “a mode of transmogrification whereby the fleshy being of blackness is experimented with as if it were infinitely malleable lexical and biological matter, such that blackness is produced as sub/super/human at once, a form where form shall not hold: potentially “everything and nothing’ at the register of ontology.” Both black fungibility and black plasticity are ways of “articulating blackness as function—black being as pure function, metaphysical utility, nothing more.” Blackness as an idle and available resource awaiting use is “the function of bearing the nothing of metaphysics, black as formless form, that is unbearable and also the crux of black suffering.”20

Black fungibility and the plasticization of blackness, as  spatial praxes,  provide “the basis of the very notion of space.” Settler-Masters manipulated abstract space through the manipulation, dispersal, arrangements, concentration, and removal of the formless form of fungible black flesh. Blackness and abstract space are isomorphic in that they share categorical malleability, mutability, fungibility, and plasticity. Both possess an endless potential that can be twisted, stretched, distorted, or compressed by the demands of the political and libidinal economy of anti-blackness. 

The transformation of abstract space into a profitable liveable space well-suited to capital accumulation does not, as Katherine McKittrick explains, “fully erase the category of “uninhabitable,” but rather re-presents it through spatial processes as a sign of social difference.”21 Habitable place emerges as a structure of value in relation to uninhabitable abstract space, that is blackness as a formless form is that which can generate value, but cannot embody/hold value in itself. Rinaldo Walcott, building on Katherine McKittrick’s insights argues that “the time of Black death” in the space of the uninhabitable provides “the force of life possibilities for others.”22 The consistent quotidian negation of black life sets up black livingness “both as waste and simultaneously as one of the sources for the production of value for others.”23

If what is considered fit for human habitation is produced according to spatial and temporal structures that systemically negate black life, then what are we to make of life lived in African cities—the life that is continuously and consistently being championed with terms like: survival and endurance? What is considered ‘liveable’ or ‘inhabitable’ is in an uneasy, if not violent, relationship to black life. Liveability, as it is now understood, does not account for black livingness.

Black livingness is not lived in modernity’s linear time but in a folded temporal field—“we are coeval with the dead.” The repetitive and durative temporalities of plantation modernity which position “the Black as a void of historical movement” foreclose the possibility of actualising black futures within the horizon of modernist space-making.24 The European “creative regime” arranged spaces and peoples into a temporal sequence that fixed black life as a remnant of a past that lingers in the present. Black livingness manifests as a “historical stillness,”25 as being frozen in time, in which black life is continuously “made to reoccupy the signifying place of medieval/Latin-Christian Europe’s fallen, degraded, and thereby nonmoving Earth.”26 The temporality of modernity is the time of “temporal domination” of blackness that  situates black people “outside the time of man and in the abyss of black time.” Black livingness lives “outside of metaphysical time, without a future, without an accessible past (natal alienation), and in a present overwhelmed with the immediacy of bodily pain, psychic torment, and routine humiliation. Time is terror.” Frantz Fanon described this condition of stuckness in space and time as being “walled in.”

Thinking the time of (Vitruvian) Man—the time of capital, modernity, and architecture—alongside the recursivity of black time allows us to rethink the uninhabitable in ways that situates architecture’s visionary, forward-looking, propositional qualities in relation to what we call its strophic time, that is its constitutive anti-black temporalities of duration and simultaneity.27 We employ this term, which derives from musical theory, to point to the repetitive quality of catastrophic events. In music analysis, “a strophe is a span of music which is subject to repetition or varied repetition.”28 A strophe may be repeated, with or without variation, and its duration and frequency may vary substantially. The strophe as a poetic device leads Sonya Posmentier to conclude that “catastrophe, then, is always involved with art making. It contains not only the finality of death and displacement but the making of form in the first place.”29 And the making and manipulation of form is the “real and effective necessary program of architecture.”30 Architecture and catastrophe are, thus, not opposed but paired through poetics of displacement and making that drive each other’s production. They are, as Jason Herbeck argues, “near-inseparable codeterminants of a cyclical struggle of necessarily conditional survival.”31 Death and displacement are as much a part of architectural function as is its creativity. Architecture seems to both create disasters and repeat them anew. Yet for architects, the ‘goal’ is to design ‘habitable’ environments that support their occupants physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually.

We wonder, when did comfort become a built thing?

The complexities of space-making amidst catastrophe; especially how to make sense of catastrophe, that is how to narrate the onset, unfolding, duration, and the lived time of catastrophe, provoke us to ask a perhaps deceptively straightforward question: what does building mean in the context of catastrophic space-making practices? Can we, as architecture suggests, build our way out of catastrophe? Can architectural discourse account for embodied space-making practices that do not “leave any marks of human habitation,” that is that do not centre building? How is it that the solution is more building and never dismantling/demolishing? Can the question of “catastrophic time” be solved through the creation of new forms, when form, as architectural historian Carol Willis argues, follows finance?

Mabel Wilson draws a distinction between architecture and building, and as such separates the architecture from the engineer, the aesthetic from the technical.32 Wilson offers a down-to-earth characterisation of the architect as “someone who thinks, who designs, who draws, but who does not build. He is an intellectual, in other words, who works very abstractly, through reason, and is distanced from the physical labour of construction.” Our interest in the distinction between architecture and building is not reducible to internal disputes regarding ‘the architect’, ‘the discipline’, ‘form and function’. We wonder what such a distinction between architecture and building accomplishes. We suggest that it maintains a linearity. Paulette Singley argues that “what constitutes architecture” is  “the production of an enclosure that carries surplus meaning.” In contrast, building is “an enclosure whose purpose remains purely utilitarian.” What makes an enclosure architecture is “the added and often ineffable aesthetic value an architect may bring to the design process.”33 Architecture, according to Singley, delivers “a message regarding its own compositional logic.”34

The design and construction (that is the aesthetic and the technical) are part of the same temporal and ordinal structure. The construction of a building is but one action in the time of architecture. It separates form and function, aesthetics and engineering. The aesthetic and technical are mutually constitutive. What makes this separation possible in the first place is the sequentiality that architecture imposes on events..However, this separation is part of the time of architecture.  Architecture imposes its own sequentiality. In the building process, the construction is divided into phases, professionals involved in erecting a building do not necessarily do it together, the scope of work keeps them relatively separated. Buildings officially have programs, which are the sequential functions in a scenario where the building has started operating.

If we consider this genealogy (one of separating and sequential-izing) that positions space-making as void of genealogy, as a practice that requires the removal and erasure of black livingness from the scene, then the desire for newness is a project of ‘building’ negation. Put differently, the production of (architectural) space reinforces a certain sequential logic that seems to secure the continuance of the inhabitable. Any instantiation or invocation of the ‘new’ is, therefore, irreducible to an emergence of a ‘new’ stage within a great chain of sequential events. Rather, new repeats a prior erasure. Newness does not present a radical departure from what already is but instead preserves the continual formation of anti-black orders over time. The brutal logic of slavery and conquest is still at work. The question then is: will there be a place for black people in the future that is not already carved out?

Thinking through Disembodied Territories, the analysis that we have presented from our respective contexts is crucial to generating work that keeps reminding us of how the urban is a site of continuous reconfiguration of what Patricia Hill Collins argues “a flattened theoretical space” which fails to divulge real structural differentiation?35 Or is it both—a hemmed in, empty, black body/theory: these bodies are demanded to ‘wait out’ the reconfiguration process, waiting while more buildings are erected? We should be talking about what we do while waiting.

There is something black about waiting. And there is something queer, Latino, and transgender about waiting. Furthermore, there is something about disabled, Indigenous, Asian, poor, and so forth about waiting. Those who wait are those of us who are out of time in at least two ways. We have been cast out of straight time’s rhythm, and we have made worlds in our temporal and spatial configurations. Certainly, this would be the time of postcoloniality, but it is also crip time or, like the old joke we still use, CPT (colored people time). It seems the other’s time is always off. Often we are the first ones there and the last to leave. The essential point here is that our temporalities are different and outside. They are practiced failure and virtuosic.36 ,37

Themes: Wounds of Ruptures, Spatial Claims

Methods: Fragments, Uninhabitable as Method

[1] Hosey, Lance. The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design. Island Press. 2012.

[2] Satterthwaite, David.“Editorial: A New Urban Agenda?” Environment and Urbanization 28 (March 2016).

[3] Khosravi, Shahram. Waiting - A Project in Conversation. transcript Verlag.  2021.P. 13.

[4] Oksala, Johanna. “Affective Labor and Feminist Politics.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 41 (2) 2016. : 287.

[5] Fleming Jr, Julius B. Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Unfinished Project of Emancipation. NYU Press, 2022.

[6] “Enough is enough!”: Youth Protests and Political Change in Africa, Alcinda Honwana in Collective

[7] “Space | Search Online Etymology Dictionary.” n.d. Accessed April 26, 2022.

[8] Heynen, Hilde. 1998. “Transitoriness of Modern Architecture.” In Modern Movement Heritage. Taylor & Francis.

[9] Pallasmaa, Juhani. “Newness, Tradition and Identity: Existential Content and Meaning in Architecture.” Architectural Design 82, no. 6 (2012): 14–21.

[10] Baucom, Ian. “Out of Place.” In Out of Place. Princeton University Press, 1999, p. 212.

[11] Baucom, Ian. “Out of Place.” In Out of Place. Princeton University Press, 1999, p. 215.

[12] Anthony Moran (2002) As Australia decolonizes: indigenizing settler nationalism and the challenges of settler/ indigenous relations, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 25:6, 1013-1042, DOI: 10.1080/0141987022000009412

[13] Bauman, Whitney. "Creatio ex nihilo, terra nullius, and the erasure of presence." (2007), p. 356.

[14] Bauman, Whitney. "Creatio ex nihilo, terra nullius, and the erasure of presence." (2007), p. 356.

[15] The Aesthetics of Ascension in Norman Bel Geddes's Futurama Author(s): Adnan Morshed Source: Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 63, No. 1 (Mar., 2004), pp. 74-99.

[16] Jennings, Willie James. The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 60.

[17] Jennings, Willie James. The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 60.

[18] McKittrick, Katherine. Demonic grounds: Black women and the cartographies of struggle. U of Minnesota Press, 2006, p. 131.

[19] King, Tiffany Lethabo. “Labor’s Aphasia: Toward Antiblackness as Constitutive to Settler Colonialism.” Decolonization (blog), June 10, 2014.

[20] Warren, Calvin L. Ontological terror: Blackness, nihilism, and emancipation. Duke University Press, 2018, 35.

[21] McKittrick, Katherine. Demonic grounds: Black women and the cartographies of struggle. U of Minnesota Press, 2006, p. 131.

[22] Walcott, R., 2021. 1. Moving Toward Black Freedom. In The Long Emancipation (pp. 1-8). Duke University Press.

[23] Bourdieu, Pierre. "Physical space, social space and habitus." Vilhelm Aubert Memorial lecture, Report 10 (1996): 11.

[24] Wilderson III, Frank B. "Red, white & black." In Red, White & Black. Duke University Press, 2010, p.38.

[25] Wilderson III, Frank B. "Red, white & black." In Red, White & Black. Duke University Press, 2010, p.299.

[26] Sylvia Wynter, “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation – An Argument,” CR: The New Centennial Review, 3 (3), 2003, 319.

[27] Hartman, Saidiya V. “The Time of Slavery.” The South Atlantic Quarterly 101, no. 4 (2002): 757–77.

[28] Foundation, Poetry. “Strophe.” Text/html. Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, April 26, 2022. Https://

[29] Posmentier, Sonya. Cultivation and Catastrophe: The Lyric Ecology of Modern Black Literature. JHU Press, 2017.

[30] Toward the Archipelago. Author(s): Pier Vittorio Aureli. Source: Log, No. 11 (Winter 2008), pp. 91-120
Published by: Anyone Corporation. Stable URL:, p. 91

[31] Herbeck, Jason. Architextual authenticity: constructing literature and literary identity in the French Caribbean. Vol. 47. Oxford University Press, 2017, p. 202.

[32] Rose, Julian and Wilson, Mabel. “Changing the Subject: Race and Public Space - Artforum International.” Accessed April 26, 2022.

[33] Singley, Paulette. How to Read Architecture: An Introduction to Interpreting the Built Environment. Routledge, 2019, 6.

Singley, Paulette. How to Read Architecture: An Introduction to Interpreting the Built Environment. Routledge, 2019, 6.

[35] Collins, Patricia Hill. “What’s Going on? Black Feminist Thought and the Politics of Postmodernism.”
Working the Ruins: Feminist Poststructural Theory and Methods in Education, 2000, 45.

[36] Muñoz, José Esteban. “Cruising Utopia.” In Cruising Utopia, 10th Anniversary Edition. New York University Press, 2019.

[37] Pallasmaa, Juhani. “Newness, Tradition and Identity: Existential Content and Meaning in Architecture.” Architectural Design 82, no. 6 (2012): 15.

[i] Also see Dele's slum part and the black resistance to conditions of inhabitabiity: BLACK HORIZON: PRACTICES OF WORLDING ON THE EDGE OF LAGOS LAGOON IN THE COMMUNITY OF OWORONSHOKI by Dele Adeyemo

Ola Hassanain trained her focus on the subtle politics of space—namely, how built spaces react to and reinforce violence from state entities, which in turn, creates a built environment that reflects, responds to, regulates the lives of those who inhabit it. Her most recent work explores an idea of “space as discourse,” an expanded notion of space that encompasses political and environmental questions. Her work tries to develop a spatial vocabulary that follows how ruptures presented by 'political events', make it possible to aspire to new kind of ecologies. Ola's development of critical spatial practice is party informed by her post-academic training which includes an ongoing Ph.D. in Practice candidacy at the Academy of Fine Art, a BAK fellowship 2017-2018, and teaching in HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and Sandberg Institute amongst others.

︎ @olahassanain

Egbert Alejandro Martina