Dele Adeyemo is one of three researchers awarded a Research Fellowship at Het Nieuwe Instituut in 2019. He will develop the project Alien Possession during his residency from September 2019 to February 2020.
Dele Adeyemo is an architect and urban theorist conducting a Chase/AHRC funded PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research intersects Black studies with urban studies to question how the rise of logistics is driving processes of urbanisation. Positioning slavery as the ghost in the machine of logistics, Dele explores how circulations established in transatlantic slavery, at the foundation of modernity, live on in the contemporary production of space. His work mobilises a Black aesthetics through writing, film, and attention to movement and aural sensation in order to unsettle the machinic fantasies of logistics to reveal its fleshy underpinnings.
“Even as we exhaust ourselves in battles to save the planet, the circulations foundational to modernity, established in transatlantic slavery, live on in the contemporary production of space. Planetary circulations are leading to planetary burnout; the world as we know it is ending. But what if we shifted to a philosophy that could sustain an alternate world view beyond opposition and resistance? Among the Africans shipped during transatlantic slavery and their descendants, existed a set of spiritual practices that fuelled revolt and sustained their communities even after the world as they knew it had ended. Syncretising with other beliefs, these systems took on many names in the diaspora, but at their root was the Yorùbá philosophy of Ifá.
The encroachment of European modernity created a division within the human. Animistic spiritual possession and collective ways of being such as in Yorùbá society and mysticism were displaced and the new self-possessed property owning individual emerged colonised with ideas of autonomy and rationality. The encroachment of this colonial division is what I am calling Alien Possession.
I will interrogate architecture as a production of this Alien Possession, and working with Ifá philosophy I will explore animistic beliefs, geological time and more-than-human existence to ask how the production of space might be reorganised according to this world view. What frequencies and movements inspired by Ifá might help us channel designs for remaking the world?”