Talk at Bartlett School of Architecture

5 Feb. 2020

On Planetary Localisation: Respatialising the Site, 5 February 2020, London, UK. Details here.

It is an ethical and conceptual misstep to presuppose ‘planetarity’, with its scalar dimensionality, eclipses the local. Yet it is of equal negligence to presuppose that what is commonly inferred by the ‘local’ persists, unmodulated by planetary dimensionality. Where are the boundaries of location within a planetary condition, and from what perspective are they adjudicated? If the idea of ‘planetarity’ (as an epistemic proposition), is to transform configurations of co-existence in discontinuous ways from the frameworks of asymmetric globalisation, new models of spatiality must be constructed to situate this co-existence. Globalisation and planetarity both delineate conditions of increased complexity, however planetarity introduces distinctions through (at least) two important claims: the integration of geophysical/biospherical codependencies, as well as a resultant decentred human self-conception. These significant differences require experimental ramification beyond rhetorics if they are to operate as orienting frames of reference for possible worlds detached from systematic inequality. As a discipline concerned with the organisation of space, how can architecture participate in such remodeling in order to materialise the practicable localisation of said concepts?

At stake with planetarity is learning how to co-exist in an ‘environment in common’ (Sylvia Wynter); a notion that is not interchangeable with a ‘common environment’. This demand is where ethics (manners of doing) and geometry (genres of relation) meet; a demand resonating with the long-standing aporia concerning the negotiation of the discrete and the continuous. How does planetarity mutate intuitive conceptions of human-centred space, and how can those denaturalised mutations be put into practice as new frames of reference that undergird a different sensorium of spatial intuition?