Concrete as Scenography of Modernity



Herman Hjorth Berge, Emma Dominguez, Ann Mirjam Vaikla, Hannah Wiker Wikström

Concrete surrounds and shapes us in myriad ways; it produces our material reality. With concrete as a catalyst, we have begun to dig into collective practices and processes.

We use concrete as material, to actively practice and speculate on possible tools for creating connected histories; and work around perceptions, aesthetics and logics relating to modernity and coloniality from multiple positions.

Our three hosted sessions are grounded in a polyphonic format connecting the political, ecological and personal, as a way to challenge the logics of divided knowledge production. This is informed by invited guests, collaborators and practices from specific socio-political contexts.

Session I: Extracting
Location: Värmeverket, Bredäng
With Felix Exner Lenzing, Petras Kruopys, Nicole Charro, Nachla Libre, Erik Stenberg.
This session took its starting point in a collective sound piece gathering a multitude of voices to share their experience or research on concrete. It was accompanied by associative exercises moving between internal and external processes, amplifying different senses (including touch, smell, imagination) to create a personal relation to the material. The exercises were partly inspired by Valentina Desideris practice of “political therapy”, as well as workshops led by the artist Jesper Alvaer.

Session II: Toxicity
Location: Decolonizing Architecture classroom, Royal Institute of Art
With Barış Can Sever and Tuba Kolat Lidén.
Collapsing buildings and infrastructure in war zones and in earthquake stricken areas (most recently Turkey, Kurdistan and Syria) produce toxic smoke and dust, posing considerable risk to the people affected. Buildings often collapse due to poor construction, itself a result of corruption. The buildings kill, not the earthquake. We also have a toxic relationship with concrete as both provider and abuser. Concrete provides welfare, housing and a degree of comfort, while extracting, polluting and exploiting.

Session III: Resourcification
Location: Medborgarhuset, Hägerstensåsen
With Asia Bazdyreva and Olive Bieringa.
This session focused on the process of “resourcification” in the context of Ukraine, which has been rendered as a territory through dual colonization by Western Europe and the Russian Empire.[1] “Weather writing” and an eco-somatic experience of “collective dying” were exercized to prepare and support the body, thereby investigating our relatedness and entanglement in the planetary crisis. References for the session included: Astrida Neimanis and Jennifer Mae Hamilton, Karen Barad, Emilija Skarnulyte, Sondra Perry, Geocinema

[1] Asia Bazdyreva, “No Milk, No Love”, e-flux, journal #127 (2022): 5.