Abstract

Based on research into the spatial practices of protest, resistance and repression within the city of Khartoum, the built environment is disclosed as a sanctioning process, whereby state terror manifests as walls—both literal and bureaucratic—enclosing every aspect of  life. This leads to a practical questioning of what role architecture can play in imagining futures otherwise, and through a reframing of the established dichotomies of inside/outside. The space of exhibition is proposed as a contest that can stage shifting geographies and enact different poetics that interrupt or counter the traditional geo-spatial arrangements of the state and of state terror.

“Where do we go? It feels like they want to kill us all.”[1]

The claim to place should not be naturally followed by material ownership and black repossession but rather by a grammar of liberation, through which ethical human-geographies can be recognized and expressed. Arguably, then, while the displacement of difference outlines processes of human and inhuman classification, it also draws attention to subaltern spatial practices, which are written into and expressed through the poetics of landscape connected to his selfhood and a local community history. I need to bring in acts of expressing place and relationship between the writer/speaker and the landscape in fact makes history and brings the subject into being.[2]

For several years now, I have been pursuing an enquiry into the built environment in the city of Khartoum. This research is underpinned by a determination to understand the walls around us, the geographic territories and political terrains that witness and host our lives. I examine paradigms of public/private and question the multilayered significance of terminology such as “urbanisation”—not only in relation to architectural practice and urban planning, but also in relation to the practical implications that such concepts have on the lives lived in the city.

This research has brought me to conclude that the built environment emerges as a sanctioning process, whereby state terror manifests as walls—both literal and bureaucratic—enclosing every aspect of one’s life, dictating the quality of the life one may pursue. This has led me to question what role architecture can play in imagining futures otherwise. Where can this question lead us, amidst the ongoing internationalisation and standardisation of the discipline of architecture itself? Can architecture’s production of space operate as an extension of human ecology, rather than of simply autonomous forms that produce space as mere property, as output? Can these spaces serve to amass counter-narratives and facilitate assembling? Can they be provisional, in stark contrast to the notions of continuity, longevity and monumentalisation that have long been defining architectural practice? Can they protect us from state terror? Ultimately, can architecture—its buildings, open spaces and cities—open the possibility to envision alternative modalities of living outside of state terror and, in turn, entertain predications that emerge from elsewhere? To set the tone of this essay, I would like you to watch the following video closely.

Figure 1: Video of people gathering in protest and being dispersed by policeFacebook post/September 2013

The mobile phone recording is of the 2013 September uprising in Khartoum. The video clearly shows a group of people gathering in a public space, Siteen Street, making their political demands heard. The clip demonstrates how a threshold conjured by the demonstration—the act of people gathering, making audible demands and asking for political action, followed by the state representatives, the police, restoring “order” in the street. This enforced return to “order” is a state of “silence and non-event”. Public space that is restored to order equates a space that cannot host audible demands and political action. This leads one to believe that we exist in space so long as how we exist is aligned with what the state envisions us doing inside a constellation of protocols and procedures. We live inside the state’s imaginary, partaking in a reality coded by state apparatuses.

Why, should we, as an African population, as a Black geography, focus on space specifically? Why not focus on organising or other political processes that we deem “eligible” for engaging in political dialogue? My response it that by living inside the state’s imaginary, our bodies are rendered sites and carriers of state terror. Our sense of space as generated by the time that we physically occupy it, sees us become the place itself. Blackness brings place onto the body. Where you are in two places at once, you are in a state of terror. When we reach the threshold of its imagination—when we attempt to step outside—we risk facing state terror.

What is beyond these thresholds? How do we exist together outside of state terror? Here, I would like to posit the concept of the Black outdoors, which carries an intriguing spatial connotation in relation to being “outside”.[3] “The Black Outdoors: Humanities’ future after property and possession” (2016) was a series of conversations at Duke Franklin University, including a conversation between Saidiya Hartman and Fred Moten.[4] This particular conversation became what I can only describe as a conceptual companion to my enquiries, in conjunction with the earlier outlined concerns I have about architecture and its spatial outputs. I shall pick up threads from the concepts and thoughts uttered during this exchange between Hartman and Moten throughout this essay.

The outside intrigues me, as it implies a dichotomous relation between what is not outside as being inside of something. Dichotomies are the epistemological dilemma of spatial training, and yet architects retain an intriguing position in the distinction between inside and outside, for they create enclosures by predicating their designs on it. Architects materialise existing property relations, perpetuating forms of life—most of which exist outside of these enclosures—that conform to an imaginary of possession, of ownership. Every urban space is either private property or public and thus controlled by the state. I yearn to see architects design beyond this paradigm, to see, in realistic three-dimensional renderings, what our surroundings could look like if buildings operated beyond property and were also geared towards imagining existence outside of state terror. In order to see this vision become reality, it is crucial to examine how space regulates and contains our lives,[5] to learn to closely observe—as Hartman describes—the shifting and transformed relations of power brought about through the continuous re-subordination of the emancipated. Such re-subordinations manifests as a persistent controlling and dominance of a Black population—the persistent framing of our collective subjectivities and aspirations for life outside of state terror as irrational, marked as dangerous.[6] In most cases, this framing entails the obliteration of the very embodiments of those calling for change from within the established enclosures—the walls.

The position of creating and thinking through the outdoors or the outside from within an enclosure leaves us peering at something with which we have no point of contact. In this sense, the idea of thinking towards an outside is a helpful approach, for it becomes a way of seeing and doing, which can encompass other ways that are less easily defined. If we further focus on architecture as a chief reflector of the state’s imagination on people’s everyday reality, we can understand how its spaces will always remain implicated in processes of state terror. The outdoors exists in relation to architecture, but does not need architecture to exist, while architecture needs the outdoors for it to be able to exist.[7] Because of this, space can become an analytics of intervention; only when envisioned as such can the field of architecture develop methods to evolve into a rebellious discipline.

We typically associate the outside with public space—our streets and everything that grows within, ideas, practices, meanings, all the floating constellations of existing[8]—using space and making space—geographies that have historically led with (albeit momentary) agency in rebellion against all forms of state domination. How do we carve out routes that can lead us towards an outside where we can remain away from state terror? What if we as artists and architects were to invest ourselves in work of dissensus and commit to practices of re-examining the boundaries between what is taken as normal and what is supposed to be subversive, between what is supposed to be active and therefore political, and what is supposed to be inactive and therefore apolitical? What if we were to take time and focus on what takes place outside, following the political events that engender ruptures, helping us to imagine different ecologies? In such a process, it is vital to bear in mind that the sites of these events should be treated as loci of spatial dissensus, and that the political event itself is not the pivotal point for change, but rather an “emergence of being”.[9]

Having touched upon the outside as being bound to state violence, and the fact that public space is not really owned by us, neither in terms of property nor ontology, despite what Western, liberal democratic notions would have us believe—namely, that public space is supposedly an inclusive space—the outside we have now is explicitly not ours. If what is deemed for the public is not actually ours, how are we as users of that space being framed in our call for rights—our right to life, our right to live in peace, our rights to housing? Where are we positioned by the state in the bigger picture, and how, in response to that bigger picture, can we reflect our aspirations for better futures onto processes of space production?

Figure 2: Map of Khartoum, Sudan, made in March 1952 by M. Layton for The Sudan Survey Department, then under Anglo-Egyptian administration[10]

Poem by Nudjha Ka

The architect is indoors

The outside begins to exist

The world is disciplined

Black tries to hold on

Through the creation of a thingv

That which is unlike it becomes new

Freedom is to get out

By going in[11]

When looking at these images, we should ask ourselves whether without these road system enclosures would naturally exist. Or is an enclosure a preconceived idea? What comes first? We must think of these enclosures, which are normally demarcated as sites on which to erect buildings, as no longer singularly crafted enclosures—uniquely imagined by an architect—but as reproducible products set within specific logistics frameworks. They constitute an infrastructural technology with elaborate routines and schedules for organising mass consumption.[12] When peering through a window in any city, you will see streets, lamp posts, electricity cabinets, all of which are classified as infrastructure. To unpack this further, the word infrastructure conjures connotations of transportation, connectivity, communication and services. We sometimes fail to see that we simultaneously live life amidst all this—in these forms that Sylvia Wynter calls floating archipelagos[13]—places that contain the geographies of those of us who live at the edges of a shifting political world, in the same space as standards and ideas that control everything, from technical objects to management styles. These too constitute infrastructure. Far from hidden, infrastructure is now an overt point of contact and access between us, the rules of which governing how the space of everyday life flows through us.

But what is really happening outside? I propose a pause here to just think about it. I want to insist on a deeply local framing of these questions and to argue for a finely pointed scholarly interest—not particularly in movement, as implied by the infrastructure of our urban landscapes today, but in the spaces of our lives—in our tea drinking, gatherings by the river, in our backyards and homes, and the yet to be designated houses and their emplacement in this urban scape.

Architects, as chief space-makers, follow rules—rules intended to make designs more “efficient”. Such wording is always assigned to modernised architecture—the more modernised it becomes, the better it creates buildings as vessels to contain irrational fictions of branding, monumentalised ideologies of state power and individuation, and thus the charting of the state imaginary as the default way of life.[14] Modernist design and organisation biases persistently draw ambitions towards exemplars of consumerist modernism, which serve to symbolise progression. As a result, spaces are determined by their integration in, and expulsion from, primary circuits of capital accumulation.[15] These buildings are constructed according to infrastructural layouts, generic patterns of building that follow the shifts of the global market. Architecture therefore manifests infrastructure, and infrastructure is the built environment. Infrastructural space is the physical space in which we reside—it is, quite literally, these walls.

From this perspective, when engaging with physical space we must accept that our geographies of struggle are inscribed into and bound up with practices of the state’s spatial domination, coalesced in modern state forms, hierarchies of organisation and workflows. This domination is interlocked with vested interests—compatible with rent-seeking political practices and patronage cultures. As a consequence, our aspirations for better futures are interlocked with constraints of professional, institutional knowledge. Such constraints can render us inert in sectoral assumptions, underpinned by biases against other practices and knowledges.[16]

This raises the question whether a physical space can be activated to go beyond the discipline of its architecture. Can it escape the “affilial formations” of political intervention, allyship, social work and NGOs—the primary modes of amassing counter-narratives and assembling, which seem to always be provisional, while the physical, architecturally designed space remains and continues to be state regulated? This leads me to wonder if efforts to organise protests and gain self-determination can, at the very least, exist with and sit in the revelation that what appears outside, in public space, is, in fact, already inside physical space—even when its architecture suggests otherwise—and is therefore jeopardised, contaminated and rooted in the state’s language of terror.[17]

This leads us towards the understanding that most political shifts are happening under the guise of non-event scenarios, and therefore engagement in political discourse must cease to be conceptualised solely through the language of mass protests or routine organising. Such language usually leaves the landscape for co-production void, as it requires people to follow certain formalised, limited channels.[18] There is therefore an urgency to analyse that which we see as matter of fact, static, or background—the way people perceive their physical environment, that which is just there—and to recognise that these walls exist in isolation from our subjectivities and the kind of ecologies we develop inside of them.

Hartman mentions that even in the non-event of emancipation, we observe the re-emergence of servitude—our servitude towards the state vis-à-vis our labour. This is due to the genealogy of the universalist discourse of freedom and rights and liberty under state apparatuses, which generates an imposition of the subject that is defined by property and enclosures. Although this implies that we are confined within these walls and not to be considered as liberated subjects, it still positions our bodies and geographies as part and parcel of what becomes spatially manifest. We therefore have a claim on space as a consequence of being part of it. This draws attention to the direction of looking towards an outside—looking directly at what is in our surroundings, articulating ways of how to see what we see, and speaking of new possibilities for reinventing the properties of space production.

Figure 3: Workshop in Khartoum at SORD—a membership-based, Sudanese NGO dedicated to human rights and gender equality in Sudan— with a group of almost 30 women who occupy a variety of leadership, intellectual and activist positions within their communities

A new potential property of space production could be to think of space as unfinished—of a poetics of continuous questioning, a continuous critique of the boundaries of the urbanscape that have chartered architecture as a relation that indexes people’s proximity to the state, thereby erasing any expressions of collective dissensus. Proximity brings us to the implication of distances and estimates, which draw out a spatiality that goes even deeper than human catastrophe. I seek to utilise the idea of an outdoor as a counter-concept,[19] because it gives emphasis to the dilemma Hartman highlights—about how we all, those of us in the cultural fields and intellectual others, are creating an outdoors from within enclosures. Ultimately, we are all of the enclosure, as an oppositional community in our inevitable, albeit sometimes vexed, connection we have with the outer world.

Speaking of communities, I wish to zoom in on the case of the revolution inside Khartoum. The very first slogans uttered when the protests began in Attbarra in December 2018 were “Cities of Sudan revolt”. The words “city” and “revolt” implicated the urban space in the process of revolution; they framed the geography of uprising at the physical centre of power—the same power that arranges territories through dichotomies of urban/rural and peripheral/central. I followed the events of the protests as they escalated. They emerged as a floating cluster through the city, building momentum, incorporating and appropriating an entire ontology of rebellion that culminated as a sit-in in an open (public) space in front of the army headquarters. The sit-in grew to become, on the one hand, a space and territory that emulated the characteristics of the nation-state, featuring checkpoints and other services established to sustain its operation as a constructed enclosure with limited accessibility.[20] On the other hand, it was also a space that transformed the conception of what public space is by interrogating the functions and activities of the sit-in space as a territory of political exercise.[21]

It is worth noting, however, that arguing for the necessity to rethink urban planning and design practices that restrict dissensus activities in public space is a contested act. It risks extending the urgent, critical view on contemporary modes of space production to a baseline of public space being the urban planners’ problem to solve, situating it as part of specialised planning, disconnected from the politics of creating zones that perpetuate state preservation. Public space has never been authored by ontologies of struggle and state resistance; its creation is a process that did not need the public’s engagement to come into being and thus exists despite us. The channels it uses to manifest as space on our behalf has made it a site for performing protest. James C. Scott’s argues that to interrogate space would require us to expand space across its bounds, for most political life of subordinated groups is to be found neither in overt collective defiance of those in power, nor in complete hegemonic compliance, but in the vast territory between these two polar opposites.[22]

Figure 4: A map of the site of the June 3 Khartoum massacre. Sudanese professional’s Association official Facebook page/2019[23]

Figure 5: Ola Hassainan, Hear me out: Audible Demands and Political Action, 2018, video and performance, 7 min.

What about critical spatial practices that seek to forge conceptual links with the outside, building on spatial critiques and developing methods to bring back the notion of the outside yet again, and questioning what we expect to find when we are looking for openings, stray desires that will unsettle and instantaneously release information? What about this idea of performativity and ontology in relation to space? What does that relationship look like, what role is space playing there? This brings us to the question of ontology as a property of space production. But we must tread lightly here, because the notion of ontology, specifically in regards how African bodies continue to be entangled in the canon of African American studies, which seems to persistently deliver an abstraction—outside of the Black body—in the form of generic myths of slave narratives, especially in connection to state structure and its manifestations in the continent. This produces what Ronald A.T. Judy calls “Generic and Authenticating Narratives”.[24] Even though this may appear to be in opposition to my call for looking for the “outside”, the key point is in the emphasis on our “surroundings”. Once we disconnect space from ideals of possession, we avoid setting up spatial form as something subordinate to meaning. Any generic or procreative aspects entailed in the (pre)generic myth will come to find expression in the uncompleted dialectic of form and meaning.[25]

Witnessing the ineffectuality of protest against state force across multiple African countries—in this case Sudan—over the course of two decades, I cannot help but evoke Frank B. Wilderson’s question: does performativity trump ontology in how we have been looking at the urbanscape? Is the positionality of Blacks in the world shaped more by performance of state administration than by “the fact of Blackness”? Is there an ontology of space production as political discourse of resistance or is our current architectural typology of cities a matter of non-Europeans not having access to the performance of power within civil and political society? Black people attempt to disrupt their continuous repositioning as objects by creating their own subjective relationality or cultural identities—behaviours that may have value in the performative register and may help Black people make it through the day, but that always fail to reposition Blacks in the ontological register. This latter register is a legitimation of the global racial order, which posits that state terror will be resolved in due time with enough hard work and faith in the state system on everyone’s part, a hidden request to just wait.[26]

The investment we have made in how state terror is viewed, analysed, perceived and represented has always been through the zooming in on the event of protest, but seldom do we invite physical space location as an active participant but rather we see it as a backstage container that holds political analysis. We look at a gathering of bodies as for example, shown in World Press Photo 2020, a photo taken of the Sudanese Revolution by Yasuyoshi Chiba: a young man chanting his desires for better life. The photo was taken in the space of the sit-in, which earlier on 3 June 2019 was the site of State eradication of 500+ lives of Sudanese citizens.

Figure 6: Top left, Yasuyochi Chiba, Straight Voice, World Press Photo of the Year 2020, among the selection for 2020s winners[27]

We get to see a composition of performance in the frame of the photograph in the place of the catastrophe. I think I should note too that all the winners of the World Press Photo award are showing people of colour in situations of catastrophe. This does not reposition the African or even suggest that the Black is actually part of the symbolic dialectic after all, for it is only the belated connection—the register of a global racial order—that draws a connection between the African and the geographically recognisable—in other words, civil society and the spaces inside a state imaginary “zone”.In my project titled “A Thought of the Outside, which looks at the ongoing revolution in Sudan, I consider the demonstrations and how they have interacted with a formal political body called the SPA.[28] The SPA is an entity that aligned itself with the December 2018 protests and gradually grew to become the main entity managing and guiding the demonstrations. During the revolution, the SPA continued to call for demonstrations to take place in central parts of Khartoum. This evokes an association with what Wynter calls the binary Man/Other, whereby she refers to a singular mode of knowing; in this case, this singular mode pertains to the SPA’s limited semiotics of protest. Wynter theorises that the inclusive human, as being the genealogy of “Man”, has created a space of otherness, mirrored in what we can identify in the built environment in our current day as colour lines, poverty lines and class divisions in urbanscapes.[29]People challenged the SPA’s instructions with a call to demonstrate from wherever one is standing —that this land is everyone’s. This challenge resulted in demonstrations that spread like wildfire, without attribution to SPA orders. On the one hand, this challenge drew a territory that reflected the scale of state terror in Khartoum, for all these locations became sites of conflict with police authorities and later the RSF.[30] The force of the state mirrored the parameters of the urbanscape. On the other hand, it made clear how the locality of the demonstrators demanded a divorce from protesting as symbolism—the image of gatherings with landmarks and parliamentary buildings behind them, serving nothing but journalistic articles and representations.

Figure 7: Protesters in front of the army headquarters in Quiyada street, Khartoum[31]

As the state imaginary takes its form as our surroundings, our surroundings—anywhere in the city—becomes a space for protest. Instead of being limited to the symbolism of the gathering in front of the state’s monumental buildings, it was a refusal transpiring in the same places in which we chat with grandmothers and drink tea, the same places we weep for our dead, the same places we joyfully celebrate unions. It became clear that the state and its meaning was in these walls—that it will always come after us, come for us, no matter where we are.

Figure 8: An outline of the Bahri plan, Khartoum. Sudanese Professional’s Association official Facebook page/2019

These moments of collective thinking and instantaneous strategising have given rise to an imagining of a revised urbanscape of Khartoum’s public spaces, predicated on urgencies determined by people’s direct engagement with public space, fused with what they have learned as appropriate life inside their neighbourhood. This creates a space I can confidently classify as an Outside. I believe this is where my position as artistic researcher/architect, working towards the moment of exhibition becomes utilitarian. The space of exhibitions can assist us to stage shifting geographies, capturing poetics that cut through traditional geo-spatial arrangements, such as the SPA’s maps, for example. Through the exhibition space, we can show new concepts and visions of “human”, of the user, and, to continue with Wynter’s terminology, “Man’s geographies”. Our landscape is our only monument—its meaning can only be traced on the underside.[32] We can safely assume here that staging a poetic landscaping of said spaces in exhibitionary formats, such as social media, will be derived from something beyond property and possession. As such, any claim to the making of physical space will not necessarily be followed by material ownership. This is very much aligned with the desire for creating the Black outdoors.[33]

The claim to place should not be followed naturally by material ownership and Black repossession but rather by a grammar of liberation, through which ethical human-geographies can be recognised and expressed. Wynter’s Man1, for example, is the rational political subject—i.e. those who have had access at close proximities to the institution and its epistemological frameworks. The concept of Man1 is very much aligned with the architectural understanding of the “user”. The user is a presumption of human bodies entering space, premised on principles of heterogeneity carrying biocentric, descriptive statements of the “human”. The user is therefore perceived as a European representation of the human, which would epistemologically foreclose ways of being human otherwise, and as such the human in the architectural canon can only be a singular vantage point.[34] Sudanese citizens now occupy a space that is itself derived from a European geography of “use”. So too is the case for the ongoing uprising aligned with the Black outdoors, on account of how entities like the technocratic SPA, trained professionals, remain invested in the formalised language of politics, with little regard for the actual desire of people to all gather and exist outside of the state’s terror. The SPA embodies what Wynter refers to as an encroachment of Man1.

Figure 9: Outline of Bhari plan 2, Khartoum. Sudanese professional’s Association official Facebook page/2019

Figure 10: Building barricades from pavement dumbbell blocks, video sample filmed by Ahmed Mahmoud. Location: Adjacent to St Matthew’s Catholic Cathedral, Khartoum Sudan, 2019

This complex sense of place, the poetics of the topography of that space, creates a way to enter into and challenge traditional geographic formulations—without the familiar tools of maps, charts, official records and figures. One enters through their voice-language—a poetic politics. When this perspective is centred, we allow for space to be “said”—to be composed of theory, poems, dramatic plays and historical narratives, which could disclose space as a discursive series of creative grammars of liberation as discourse. What is striking here, and very useful in terms of the protestors’ geographies, is that the poetics of landscape are not derived from the desire for socioeconomic possession. Nor are they derived from a unitary vantage point. What would the property of our spatial production deliver if we detached from notions of ownership, property and exclusionary state apparatus that tells us as people that we can only participate in civil society through property? Ultimately, we can only participate in life via owning and reproducing enclosures. We should look at what is directly around us in our cities as our ground for action.

Figure 11: Ola Hassanain, A thought of the Outside, 2019, video, 16 min., Sharjah Architecture Triennale.

We can conclude by asking: how do we develop spatial literacy that takes us beyond how deficient our spatial comprehension as architects is in connection to what people want the future to become? How can we merge and posit spatial literacy not as a tool for materialising globalisation of possession? Our future should always be a collective spatial production that incorporates people’s present lives, so that “becoming” is distinguishable from merely existing in preconceived notions of space. We should push a line of enquiry into space in relation to political events of resistance to state terror, as an opportunity to bring architecture to bear what is happening in public spaces.

Footnotes

 

  1. A protester’s mother after she came out of detention for demanding to know the whereabouts of her son, only to find out he was shot dead.
  2. McKittrick, Katherine. Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 2006.
  3. Carter, J. Kameron and Cernvenak, Sarah Jane. “The Black Outdoors: Humanities Futures After Property and Possession”. 206. Available at https://humanitiesfutures.org/papers/the-black-outdoors-humanities-futures-after-property-and-possession/ (accessed 20210-10-11).
  4. Moten, Fred and Hartmand, Saidiya, “The Black Outdoors”. 5 October 2016. Available athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_tUZ6dybrc (accessed 2021-10-11).
  5. McKittrick, Demonic Grounds, p. xi.
  6. Moten and Hartman, “The Black Outdoors”.
  7. See https://www.matri-archi.ch/ (accessed 20210-10-11).
  8. Easterling, Extrastatecraft, p.
  9. Reference needed
  10. Derived from Wilderson, Frank B. III. “Grammar & Ghosts: The Performative Limits of African Freedom”. Theatre Survey. Vol. 50. No. 1. May 2009. pp. 119-125. doi:10.1017/S004055740900009X.
  11. See https://www.matri-archi.ch/.
  12. Easterling, Extrastatecraft.
  13. Wynter, Sylvia. “Unsettling the Coloniality ofBeing/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, after Man, Its Overrepresentation—An Argument”. CR: The New Centennial Review. Vol. 3. No. 3. Fall 2003. pp. 257-337. https://doi.org/10.1353/ncr.2004.0015
  14. Ibid.
  15. Werner, M. Global Displacements: The making of uneven development in the Caribbean. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 2016.
  16. Sassen, Saskia. Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press. 2014.
  17. Moten and Hartman, “The Black Outdoors”.
  18. Amoo-Adare, Epifania Akosua. Spatial Literacy: Contemporary Asante Women’s Place-Making. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 2016.
  19. Wynter, Sylvia. “Beyond the Word of Man: Glissant and the New Discourse of the Antilles”. World Literature Today. Vol. 63. No. 4. 1989. pp. 637–648. Available at https://doi.org/10.2307/40145557. Wynter argues against the universal generalisation of the word Man (and its variants, proletarian and woman). The central counter theme that is enacted again and again in Glissant’s work is that of the anti-universal, the claim to specificity, the claim to “rester au lieu” (remaining-in-place) in the specific oecumene of the Antilles, in the specificity of its “mode of the imaginary”.
  20. The space of the sit-in was conceived in April and gradually an infrastructure evolved that comprised a school, a clinic, toilets, a kitchen, a theatre stage and a media outlet. The area was read by many as a symbolic representation of what they would like their futures to be. I read it as a derivative of the modes of imaginary that the people were aspiring to without actually possessing any public space.
  21. Bahreldin, Ibrahim Z. “Beyond the Sit-In: Public Space Production and Appropriation in Sudan’s December Revolution, 2018”. Sustainability. Vol. 12. No. 12. 2020. p. 5194. Available at https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125194.
  22. Scott, James C. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009.
  23. See “Massacre in Ramadan: The June 3 military assault on Sudan’s largest protest site”. 2019. Available at https://3ayin.com/en/june-3-massacre/ (accessed 20210-10-11).
  24. Judy, Ronald A.T. (Dis)forming the American Canon: African-arabic Slave Narratives and the Vernacular. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 1993. p. 63.
  25. Ibid., pp. 64-67.
  26. Wilderson, F. “Grammar & Ghosts: The Performative Limits of African Freedom”. Theatre Survey. Vol. 50. No. 1. 2009. pp. 119-125.
  27. See https://www.worldpressphoto.org/news/2020/contests-winners-announced (accessed 2021-10-21).
  28. The SPA traces its roots to October 2016, when an alliance charter was drafted and approved by three of Sudan’s largest professional groups, namely, The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, The Sudanese Journalists Network and The Democratic Lawyers Association. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) is a continuation of the long history of Sudanese professionals’ persistent attempts to form independent trade unions and bodies to defend their rights and seek to improve their working conditions. Several attempts to form such bodies were made in the past, most notably the attempts to form a professional alliance in 2012 and 2014. Both failed to achieve their goal because of the regime’s opposition, which extended to the persecution and arrest of key founding members. The SPA is currently composed of many bodies united under an agreed charter and common goals. These were announced in June 2018. A large number of professional bodies declared their backing of the SPA, while they await to formally join. It is worth noting that architects were never part of nor officially backed the SPA body. I believe this says a lot about the investment the discipline and its trainees have in political upheaval. They have managed to remain neutral and I believe that is partially because they work for and are commissioned by elites and government personnel.
  29. McKittrick, Katherine (ed.). Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2015.
  30. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are a paramilitary force operated by the government of Sudan, administered by the National Intelligence and Security Services but also receiving direct orders from the Sudan Armed Forces during the Darfur conflict.
  31. Photo AFP, from BBC news https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47987962 (accessed 2021-10-11).
  32. McKittrick, Demonic Grounds.
  33. McKittrick, Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis.
  34. Wynter, Sylvia. “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation—An Argument”. CR: The New Centennial Review. Vol. 3. No. 3. 2003. pp. 257-337.