︎︎︎ Riotous Folds: Possibilities for the Document
“Riotous Folds: Possibilities for the Document” is a growing series of photographs that visualizes critical interventions with archival documents that work to rethink the terms of engagement with the archive. The work addresses the document as an object so as to push both its physical and contextual possibilities. This approach for me is how blackness dismantles hegemonic histories: via material and conceptual unruliness. With this iteration in particular, I am interested in unsettling the romance of glass (in) architecture by positing the riot and shattered glass as its necessary redress/critique. The opacity of the radical document allows it to fold, while the capitalist transparency of the glass means that it must break.
By this I mean to say that the radical claims from and after moments of historical rupture articulated within blackness, possess a mutable refusal that unsettles any liberal sense of progress (here, glass as an aesthetic of progress, acts as a stand-in for it) to the point of breaking. The riot and its archival artifacts come into space and relation as aporia with past, present, and future spatial productions of racial-capitalism demanding that we be (repeatedly) reminded that these frameworks of power are unreconcilable and so whose final form must be in ash or shard.
Riotous Arrangement 1, 2020
Bottom Center: Quote from Jeffery T. Schnapp’s “A Cultural History of Glass” that reads “The fourth given is surely the most self-evident: namely, that glass is extremely brittle. Until the era of shatterproof glass, the perception of glass has been shaped by the certainty that, at any moment, a glass object can undergo sudden, unexpected, and catastrophic failure. The surface flaws that contribute to shattering are often invisible to the naked eye. No visible plastic deformation of a glass object warns of the imminence of disaster. Metals bend; glass shatters, and irreparably so.”
Layered underneath: Highlighted excerpt from Detlef Mertins’ “Walter Benjamin and the Utopia of Glass” that highlights “the anthropologically transformative potential of glass walls”, followed by the highlighted line that reads, “glass architecture, “which lets in the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars, not merely through a few windows, but through every possible wall”. This was a quote that reinforced glass as the means by which we “rise to a higher level” as a culture.
Middle Right: Image of Giroux’s CEO Nataline Lomedico, whose glazier company is responsible for the voluntary repair and protection of glass during both recent riots and Rodney King riots.
Quote from article about Giroux workers that reads “Out in the field, Giroux workers faced some harrowing challenges. According to Lomedico, one worker putting up plywood at a store in Santa Monica on Sunday night was taunted by a potential looter brandishing a golf club.
“Our worker took his hammer and taunted the looter right back,” she said. The looter turned around and fled, she said.
At another client, a Mercedes-Benz dealership on Beverly Boulevard in east Beverly Hills, Lomedico said the scene was “very rowdy. People were telling our glaziers: ‘If you keep boarding up, we’ll keep breaking glass.’ Our glaziers did not back down. They didn’t wait for additional security to arrive; they just kept on working.”
Recurring image of fiery aftermath of Rodney King Riots folded beneath.
Upper Right: Image of boarded up Dior store on Rodeo Drive.
Upper Left: The wooden beams used for Angela Davis’ glass barrier used as a frame for images of Los Angeles Riots (Center: image of palm tree set fire during Rodney King riots, bottom Left: Police car set fire during riots following George Floyd’s murder in LA)
Riotous Arrangement 2, 2020.
Upper Left: Quote from Saidiya Hartman’s “Anarchy of Colored Girls Assembled in a Riotous Manner” that reads “Could they ever understand the dreams of another world which didn’t trouble the distinction between man, settler, and master? Or recounted the struggle against servitude, captivity, property, and enclosure that began in the barracoon and continued on the ship, where some fought, some jumped, some refused to eat. Others set the plantation and the fields on fire, poisoned the master.”Center: Suspended piece of burnt woood.
Bottom Center: Collection of images from Daniel Paul’s lecture on the glass architecture of Anthony Lumsden and Cesar Pelli and its popularization in Southern California.
Note that reads “Glass as an architectural skin of a globalized capitalist future”.
Upper Right: Image of people reclaiming an Apple Store in Los Angeles in the demonstrations following George Floyd’s murder.
Helicopter footage/still from the incendiary aftermath of Rodney King Riots in ’92.
Image from Angela Davis’ speech in New York delivered behind/within bulletproof glass cage.