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International Lecture Series: Infinity Minus Infinity

21 November 2019 | 6pm – 8pm

Kensington, Lecture Theatre 1


The third session of the Earthbound Lecture Series will be organised around the screening off the Otolith Group’s new video work Infinity minus Infinity, followed by a discussion of their research and practice over the past 18 years and a Q&A with the audience.

Infinity minus Infinity, 2019, the new work by The Otolith Group, commissioned for the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, draws on several inspirations: the modernist verse of the Jamaican poet Una Marson, the alluvial invocations  of the Martiniquan philosopher and poet Edouard Glissant, the black feminist poetics of the Brazilian philosopher Denise Ferreira da Silva and the racial formation of geology theorised by British geographer Kathryn Yusoff to dramatise an audio-visual experiment in choreo-poetics.

Infinity minus Infinity brings together dance, music, recital and digital animation to compose a transhistorical zone in which the unpayable debts of racial capitalism cannot be separated from the ongoing crimes of capitalogenic climate catastrophe. Infinity minus Infinity enacts the durational timelines of past distress, present duress and future dread through the assembly of a chorus of trans-temporal deities whose utterances, expressions, gestures and movements personify the compounded, accumulated, irreparable times and spaces of the hostile environment. 

The phrase ‘hostile environment’ invokes the covert policy of targeting migrants enacted by the Conservative government since 2014. It stands for the criminalisation of the Afro-Caribbean women and men that migrated to Britain in the 1950s to help reconstruct its industrial infrastructure. The effort to detain and deport these women and men of the Windrush generation – so called because they followed in the wake of the men that emigrated to Britain from the Caribbean on board the SS Empire Windrush in 1948 – reveals the British state’s commitment to disarticulating the forms of attachment and belonging of Afro-Caribbean settlement that helped decolonize the British empire from within. 

Infinity minus Infinity extends the policy of the ongoing hostile environment backward and forward in an inter-scalar movement between times and spaces that dramatises Saidiya V. Hartman’s formulation of the afterlife of slavery within a choreography of what Christina Sharpe calls anti-blackness as total climate.

Guests from outside the RCA are required to book a place.