School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Public Lecture Series 2015-16
Thursday 3 December 5.30pm
Fine Art Lecture Theatre, Newcastle University
Since the 1970’s, the archipelago has been used by a number of architectural theorists as a metaphoric trope for portraying architecture’s autonomy from the urban conditions that surround it. This is based on a binary conception of the relation between land and sea that is arguably Eurocentric or at least Mediterranean: of solid, stable, rocky outcrops pitted against the dynamic forces of the sea.
This presentation will undertake a critique of this from an Indian Ocean perspective by thinking with one of its central island formations, the Maldives archipelago. The Maldives was the central fold line in the cartographic device with which I started my project on the Indian Ocean, Folded Ocean, but, more importantly, because it is a territory whose area is comprised 99.66% of water, it provides an apt place to reconsider or even overturn the idea of the world as human and terra-centric and to reconsider what it means to live on a terraqueous globe. The presentation will lay out a new epistemology of the archipelago as a hybrid assemblage of dynamic socio-ecological relations. This will serve as a template for thinking about a world characterised by radical fluidity, uncertainty and flux and lay out an alternative role for design within it.