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Torkwase Dyson

In built and natural environments, each object helps define our conditions of movement. The design of our physical world informs the methods in which motion emerges and spatial strategy is organized. For black people, moving through a given environment comes with questions of belonging and a self-determination of visibility and semi-autonomy. This means for the systemically disenfranchised, compositional movement (ways in which the body unifies, balances, and arranges itself to move through space) is a skill used in the service of self-emancipation within hostile geographies. Further, the brain deciphers, measures, categorizes, and understands both immediate and distant physical forms in relationship to the spatial structures defined by the conditions of power. 

This relationship of interior and exterior—black mind/body geographic experiences—is inextricably tied to lands and waters riddled with architectural and infrastructural histories designed to isolate control over clean natural resources within white conservative and corporate hyper-capitalist systems. Disenfranchised people of color have inherited this geographic isolation and can name it environmental racism. In this moment of accelerated globalization due to technology, environmental racism is exacerbated by human-induced climate change, or what is being declared the Anthropocene. The legacy of environmental racism and the current traumas of global climate change make spatial planning—architectural and infrastructural representation and design—an urgent concern for me in contemporary abstract drawing.


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