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The Planetary Portals project examines the colonial afterlife of gold and diamond mining in South Africa by drawing attention to the social and environmental costs of extractive industries. Together with Kathryn Yusoff and Kerry Holden, and in collaboration with the artist, Michael Salu, we examine how colonial dreams of Empire have been and still are sustained through ‘changes of states’ – that is, turning clay into bricks, bricks into speculative real estate, real estate into capital, capital into a speculative mining, and diamonds and gold into racialised dreams of Empire. From gleaming skyscrapers in the City of London and the Rhodes estate in London’s East End to the gold and diamond mines in South Africa, the colonial legacy of the extractive industries create an uneven geography where the vertical city can be mirror massed in networks of shadow architectures that stretch through quarries, shafts and mines. We develop the portal as a speculative archival method for examining geo-social inequities that were necessary in sustaining spatial imaginaries and dreams of Empire through these shadow architectures of vertical expansion in the emergence and maintenance of extractive planetary futures. 

You can read more about the project in the following publications:

Michael Salu, Ever in Abeokuta, Red Earth Project, 2020.jpeg

Ever in Abeokuta, Red Earth Project, 2020. Courtesy: Michael Salu

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