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Wahala Palava

ADS2 is otherwise known as Wahala Palava and led by Dele Adeyemo, Ibiye Camp and Dámaso Randulfe. It is a gathering of voices that think and discuss the architectures of racial capitalism, their historical emergence and their contemporary expressions. The studio explores the ways in which the racialising violence of the extractive world-making project of capital inscribes black, indigenous and other-than-human lives. Like the palavas of old, Wahala Palava gathers to speak into existence and shape designs for worlds, which can contend with the imminence of environmental collapse and our premature deaths. The studio mobilises indeterminacy and alterity as means to foster strategies for worlding within racial capitalism’s ruins, and in the midst of the violence of extractive architectures. By spanning the entangled migratory and trade routes between the Global South and the Global North, the logics of development in indigenous land, or the global cycles of production, distribution and consumption, ADS2 seeks to develop spaces of care, restitution, rest and rebirth.


Shifting Earths

Today, humans are responsible for the unprecedented volume of earthly matter in circulation. Disappearing islands in Indonesia, retreating coastlines in West Africa, landslides in Pakistan, or loss of biodiversity in Singapore, are all symptoms of human intervention into natural geological processes. The Anthropocene not only spells a new age of ever more unpredictable climate change driven by human activity, but also, as climatic, biological, and geochemical signatures of human activity in sediments and ice cores confirm, humans are the primary modifiers of sedimentary processes. In the words of geologist and stratigrapher Professor Jan Zalasiewicz, “we have become a stratigraphic event that will be preserved through into the far future”.

In a world organised around the logistical infrastructures of the supply chain, the movement and distribution of rocks and sediments are vital to its operations. As the trends in the population growth of cities and urban expansion continue, the process of urbanisation requires ever more infrastructural development to maintain logistical circulations. This year ADS2 will explore the implications of adopting a critical position towards these earth-shifting cycles from the perspective of architectural practice. How might we begin to design within – and adjacent to – the infrastructural life of logistical circulations? How would this reduce our dependence on extractive production and consumption cycles?


The Black Infra-Structural Life of Circulation

In its first year, ADS2 investigated the origins of logistical capitalism out of the transatlantic slave trade, contrasting the violent world-making project of European cartography with the worlding potentials of black, indigenous and other worldviews. In its second year, the studio explored design strategies for worlding within the landscapes, bodies and architectures ruined by racial capitalism.

In 2022/23, ADS2 will initiate an investigation about the agents, scales, materials and technologies involved in shaping our earth today. The studio will focus on the natural and human driven processes of shifting earths required by the infrastructures of planetary circulations. We will situate our design strategies within the framework of black infra-structural life – the hidden, multi–scalar practices of everyday life on which these mega–developments depend.


Since the emergence of transatlantic slavery, the infrastructures of the logistical circulations of racial capitalism might have seemed totalising, but they have always depended on hidden networks of life within the machine. From the climatic phenomenon of the trade winds to the secret garden plots of the slave plantations, racial capitalism has always relied on – and coerced into its infrastructures – forms of life that it never understood and could never fully control.

By understanding the infrastructures of logistical circulations as a complex set of processes, we can shift our perspective from a technoscientific fetishisation of infrastructure space, to an emphasis on the experience of the everyday. Echoing Graham and McFarlane’s demand for “a shared sense of infrastructure not just as a ‘thing’, a ‘system’, or an ‘output’, but as a complex social and technological process that enables – or disables – particular kinds of action in the city,” the studio will examine how geographies, rhythms, politics, economies, cultures, natures, and power relations constitute everyday life in the production and reproduction of urban infrastructures.


Expanding out from the notion of infrastructural life, the imperative to engage with hidden and dark infra-structural lives will open an examination of the everyday social and ecological processes that remain sheltered from the full gaze of racial capitalism. This, in turn, allows us to explore how shifting earths contain the racial ideologies of Black diasporic practices of restitution. When the transportation of people, ownership of land, and colonisation appear inscribed in the soil, the practices of turning, cooking, burning and shifting earths become a way of asserting ownership over the materials and systems of industrial production.

ADS2 will also consider the genealogies, contemporary expressions and possible futures of different modes of sensing the earth. Students will examine the crucial roles that spatial and computational operations – such as measuring, mapping, navigating or modelling – play in sustaining extractivist regimes. We will then produce designs that engage with the geophysics, geopolitics and racializing technological mediations of shifting earthly matter.

PendletonDM, Aerial point cloud showing drone photo positions, 2016.

Strategies of Making and Field Work

Centring material culture and crossing the borders between design, art, and craft, students will conduct research through site visits, lidar scanning, photogrammetry and ground-penetrating radar, as well as using digital models to work with and synchronise source materials in space and time. The studio will work with experimental fabrication processes, such as 3D additive printing, to reconsider the role of architecture in relation to material research, circularity, reparation and the design of worlding strategies within planetary-scale ecologies of extraction.


Continuing its engagement with the study of the megaport as a critical infrastructure of logistical circulations, this year ADS2 will visit the port city of Rotterdam. The geography of the Netherlands is one of the most highly engineered spaces in the world, where dredging and sand filling enable a steady urban expansion. In dialogue with local architects and designers, students will explore the everyday life that underpins this infrastructural geography. We will examine the world view that enables the Dutch “mastery of water”, tracing how these practices and expertise were exported to other parts of the world such as Lagos, Nigeria, where they came into conflict with indigenous and natural processes of sedimentary circulations and water management. We will visit Dele Adeyemo’s exhibition Wey Dey Move at Het Nieuwe Instituut, a durational film installation that explores some of these contradictions, and also collaborate with invited guests to conduct a Wahala Palava at the innovative anti-gentrification store The Niteshop run by the design studio Concrete Blossom.



Dele Adeyemo is an architect, creative director and critical urban theorist. His creative and research practices interrogate the underlying drivers of architectural development and urbanisation, locating them in racialising logistical processes that orchestrate planetary patterns of life. Positioning slavery as the ghost in the machine of logistics, Dele explores how the circulations established in transatlantic slavery, at the foundation of modernity, live on in the contemporary production of space. By mobilising a trans-disciplinary black aesthetics, through the use of writing; film; movement; and aural sensations, Dele’s projects rupture the imaginary of logistical forms of power to uncover the indeterminate imaginaries of black life in Africa and the diaspora. Most recently Dele has presented at the 2nd Edition of the Lagos Biennial with Black Horizon (2019), and the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial with The Cosmogony of (Racial) Capitalism (2020). Dele is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Ibiye Camp is a multi-disciplinary artist, her work investigates technology, and the built environment. Ibiye’s practice uses architectural tools to create video, augmented reality and 3D objects. Her past projects in Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Ethiopia investigated the dynamics of technology as a means to explore the glitches and tensions between digital infrastructure and the landscape. Ibiye’s artwork has been presented at the Victoria and Albert Museum (2016), the Porto Design Biennale (2019) Sharjah Architecture Triennial (2019), Triennale Milano (2020), 5th Istanbul Design Biennial (2020) and 13th Shanghai Biennale (2021). Ibiye is a member of the all-female design collective Xcessive Aesthetics. XA investigates data networks, digital infrastructure, spatial design and digital technologies in unconventional and playful ways.

Dámaso Randulfe works across architecture, image-making, writing and installation. Their practice investigates the ecologies, territories, and technologies of contemporary regimes of circulation and visuality. Dámaso teaches ADS2 at the School of Architecture, Royal College of Art since 2020. They are also a senior lecturer in critical theory and cultural studies at The School of Art, Architecture and Design, London Met, and a lecturer at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. Their work and various collaborative projects have been presented at the Oslo Architecture Triennale (2016), Venice Art Biennale (2017), Triennale Milano (2020), Design Museum and Tate Modern. Dámaso is an editor of Migrant Journal, a publication series on the spatial politics of human and non-human migrations.