Site-Writing

Agency at the threshold, (2017)
  • Kirti Durelle | La Réunion

  • Author unknown, Isle de Bourbon, Paris (c.1708). Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France (public domain) Kirti Durelle, Geomorphology or Réunion, London (2017). Kirti Durelle, Sites of marronage, maroon hunts and early road infrastructures, London (2017)
  • Agency at the threshold, (2017)
  • Kirti Durelle | La Réunion
  • ‘The ‘Leguat’ island map acknowledges the mysterious immensity that lies beyond its authors’ geographic grasp, and does so with disconcerting subtlety. Hiding in plain sight, it is as if the large void at the centre of the image was too large to register as a source of ambiguity.’


    This work looks at the competing forces that contributed to the formation of geographic knowledge about the island of Bourbon (now La Réunion, Indian Ocean), during the governance of the French East India Company (1670–1767). Charting the colonisation strategies of early European settlers, a critical reading of the island’s cartographic representation suggests that subaltern epistemologies were also shaping this early modern context. In particular, practices of marronage – the subversive self-displacement of fugitive slaves – produced geo-political boundaries between areas of white supremacy, and areas of black emancipation, refuge, and survival. Woven through the study of these competing spatial regimes, Bourbon’s volcanic landscape becomes a key protagonist in the emergence of geographic knowledge, an agency obstructing and enabling human intentions. 


    Biography

    Kirti Durelle is a PhD candidate in architectural history at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. His doctoral research looks at historical practices of marronage and the emergence of landscape knowledge on the island of La Réunion (Indian Ocean). He is a visiting lecturer in architectural design (Studio DS[2]06), in history and theory, and in critical practice at the School of Architecture and Cities, University of Westminster, and a post-graduate teaching assistant and thesis tutor at UCL. He is a registered architect (ARB, Architectenregister) and a graduate of the Bartlett’s MA Architectural History (2017). Previously, he studied Architecture and Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield (2008, 2012).


    Practices

    To attempt a landscape history of this Indian Ocean island requires the layering of three analytic strata – the geologic, the historical, and the biographical, each with their preferred timescales. As such, the historiography of the site emerges not only in spatial terms, but also as a particular chronology: a series of events located at the intersection of disparate timelines. 


    Keywords
    accumulation, early capitalism, landscape, marronage, racialised labour, resistance.

    References

    Marcus Rediker, Titas Chakraborty, and Matthias van Rossum (eds), A Global History of Runaways: Workers, Mobility, and Capitalism 1600–1850, (Oakland: University of California Press, 2019).

    Jonah Textor, ‘A Marxist critique of the “postmodern identity left” and identity-political anti-racism’, 30 July 2020, Kommunistische Organisation (https://kommunistische.org/diskussion/eine-marxistische-kritik-der-postmodernen-identitaetslinken-und-des-identitaetspolitischen-antirassismus/) 

    Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery, (Chapel Hill: The University of California Press, [1944] 1994).


    Other projects
  • Signal/Noise: Ambient Text in the Urban Landscape (ongoing project)
  •  Acanthus, (March 2022)
  • Unter der Hohen Brücke. 
digging in a ditch, writing for a place 
(2021)
  • ‘Reading-writing alongside HALL08,’ HALL08 (2021)
  • Nothingness Beyond Blossom (2021)
  • Angelo Ciccaglione, ‘The back of the dust-machine, where the visitors pour the dust in,’ Rotterdam (2021)
    The Deposition of Dust (July 2021)
  • Skye Edge (April 2021)
  • Corvid-19 (15 March 2021)
  • 1_5
    Glòries_(Eixample). A dispositive for very slow aesthetic observation, (January 2021 –)
  • As Lightning to the Children Eased (January 2021)
  • Station F (October 2020)
  • It’s Just a Matter of Time (2020)
  • 1
    Inscription: the Journal of Material Text – Theory, Practice, History,
    issue # 1: ‘beginnings,’ (2020)
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    Homekeeping (2020)
  • City Embers (2020)
  • Between Our Words I will Trace Your Presence (February 2020)
  • What Remains (2019)
  • Situated Writing as Theory and Method (2019)
  • Parts Apart Read Together (2019)
  • Fields of Awareness, (2019, 3min 18 secs)
  • A Non-Aligned Narrative in and Around KSEVT, (2019)
  • 21 Orientations: An Atlas of Geographic Promiscuity (2019)
  • The Windowless Hotel Room (2018)
  • Spaces of Grief (2018)
  • Soft Landing (2018)
  • Shared Remains (April 2018)
  • Metropolitan Salem, Liuerpul (9 June – 18 August 2018)
  • Things Come Apart (21 – 24 March 2018)
  • Learn to Read Differently (2018)
  • Il Balcone. A site-writing performance (2018)
  • History begins with the vanity of kings (2018)
  • Dear Mr. Jung: Inhabiting Carl Jung’s ‘The Red Book’ (May 2018)
  • A Lunar Perspective, (2018-2020)
  • Heaton Hall: A Palimpsest (2017)
  • Location (+) (2017)
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  • Talking Quilts (April 2017)
  • fifteen ways to cross the desert (2017)
  • Between Landscape and Confinement: Situating the Writings of Mary Wollstonecraft (2017)
  • Agency at the threshold, (2017)
  • A Ficto-Historical Theory of the London Underground (2017)
  • The Glorious Tomb to the Memory of Nothing (2016)
  • The Arrival’s Reader; A Visual Literary Criticism on The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2016)
  • Reading as Art (27 August-19 November 2016)
  • Re: development (London: Silent Grid, 2016)
  • Kjemikerens død [The Death of the Chemist] (23 – 26 May 2016)
  • Kingsland High Street (2016)
  • Foray in a Modern Reserve: An Impounding Portrait of Landuse (2016 – 2018)
  • Fall of the Derwent (2016)
  • Away from Home – Home from Away (April 2016)
  • Penguin Pool (2015)
  • Geography Lessons: Liberian Landmarks 1953-2013 (2015)
  • Women’s Anarchist Nuisance Café (2014)
  • The Writing on the Wall (after Rembrandt) (2014)
  • The Italic I (2014)
  • Designing Architecture as a Performing-Ground (2014)
  • Urban Literacy (2013/2014/2016)
  • The Disappearance: Manfredo Tafuri’s The Sphere and the Labyrinth (April 2013)
  • Folded Ground: Escape from Cape Town (2013)
  • Phantom Railings (2012 – 2017)
  • In The Emptiness Between Them (2012)
  • 10/08/12 (multispecies event) (2012)
  • An Arcades Project (2011)
  • Tideline (2010-2012)
  • The Museum of Breath (2010)
  • Slab (2010)
  • One wound. Two wounds. The body as site for writing (2010)
  • The Fluid Pavement and Other Stories on Growing Old (2006)
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