Traces of Colonial Spaces
Design is not apolitical. Throughout history, architecture and urban planning have been tools that manifest the visions of those in power. But what happens when a political regime is overthrown, renounced, reformed? The built environment's capacity to outlive its designers means that systems of injustice that were strategically inscribed into it also live long and prosper, and are upheld for many generations. When we don't place a critical lens on theoretical and historical readings of architecture, these systems often get reproduced by new designers as objective norms.
Many of the norms that are globally adopted today are actually Eurocentric, deriving from a specifically European, hetero-male, capital-driven historical experience. These, in architecture like in other realms of knowledge, were spread across the globe during the European colonial enterprise, effectively dominating non-western epistemologies in most sectors.
This Projektwerkstatt, organized by the student initiative ifa_diaspora, attempts to understand various impacts of the colonial enterprise that construct our everyday surroundings in the city of Berlin - in public, private and digital space. We will visit exhibitions, read postcolonial, queer-feminist, and critical race theory and produce individual projects (interviews, mappings, texts, podcasts, videos, installations etc.) that reflect upon and highlight the traces of colonialism in our respective fields.
In an attempt to create a space of collective, transdisciplinary and intersectional inquiry into the colonial systems of knowledge, we encourage students of all faculties and identities to join us in co-producing this Projektwerkstatt, even if informally.
Photo: © Cover design: Rowaa Ibrahim
3D model source: "BUST OF NEFERTITI, FOIA Results" by CosmoWenman