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A Programme of Events by Monsoon Assemblages
March 04 – March 29, 2021

Bookings for all events here.
Attendance is free but requires booking

In March 2021, Monsoon Assemblages will host a programme of online events and an artists’ residency in London. The programme will coincide with the opening of the online exhibition Monsoonal Multiplicities, a platform that presents the project’s five-year long research engagement with the monsoon in Bangladesh, India, London and Myanmar. The exhibition offers visitors a virtual experience of this work, inviting them to follow the stories of entangled beings, energies, infrastructures, life-worlds, matters, technologies, knowledge practices and their encounters with colonial and neo-colonial agendas.

The monsoon is an atmospheric force that organises territory and seeps into almost every aspect of life in South and Southeast Asia – its politics, economics, cultural rituals and daily life. Colonial science mobilised it as a resource by casting its temporalities as risk, by radically reorganising its territories for profit and by projecting colonial authority and racialised discourse across its life-worlds. London was the nerve centre of this colonial project and its legacies are still palpable – in the India Office Records in the British Library, in the edifices of empire on Exhibition Road, in the Maritime Museum in Greenwich and the Palm House in Kew Gardens, in the city’s cuisine, in the clothes its citizens wear, in financialised commodity markets, in the rise of India’s elites to positions of power in British politics, in the south Asian communities living across London’s boroughs. And, not to forget, as the UK’s leaders renew their interest in South and Southeast Asia, Brexit too is a monsoonal affair.

Behind the programme of events lies the question, ‘What does it mean to research the monsoon from the nerve centre of this ongoing, racialised colonial project?’ It was a question that troubled Monsoon Assemblages from the start, pointing to the project’s unavoidable complicity in the colonial encounter, while underscoring its attempts to undermine its complicity from within. As we come to the end of the project, audiences are invited to debate the questions the project raises with us, and to think through its implications for future architectural, artistic, ethnographic and spatial research practice.

Monsoonal Multiplicities Exhibition:

Monsoonal Multiplicities Exhibition Opening
March 04, 13.00-14.00 UTC (08.00-09.00 EST, 18.30-19.30 IST)
Speakers: Sunil Amrith, Dilip da Cunha
Chair: Lindsay Bremner

Monsoonal Multiplicities, the online exhibition by Monsoon Assemblages will be opened with remarks by historian Sunil Amrith, author of Unruly Waters: How Mountain Rivers and Monsoons have Shaped South Asia’s History and landscape architect Dilip da Cunha, author of The Invention of Rivers: Alexander’s Eye and Ganga’s Descent. The event will introduce an artists’ residency programme, in which artists have been asked to take up residence in the online exhibition and respond to the question ‘How is London a Monsoonal City?’

Practicing Architecture Otherwise
March 11, 13.00-15.00 UTC (08.00-10.00 EST, 18.30-20.30 IST)
Speakers: Alison Killing, killingarchitects; Alfredo Ramirez, GroundLab; Evelyn Choy, Architects Climate Action Network UK; and Jonathan Cane, University of Pretoria, Rufus Maculuve, Kaleidoscopio and Ben Pollock, 4d island, Sounding the Monsoon.
Chair: Lindsay Bremner

In our climate-changing, virus infected, ecocidal, financialised times, does architecture have any special privilege to remain the same? This panel discussion will invite the audience to discuss this question with a panel of architects and spatial practitioners who have moved with the immigrant, the policy maker, the carbon and the weather and made them part of their spatial and architectural imaginaries and practices.

East India Company Walking Tour
March 13, 13.00-14.00 UTC (08.00-09.00 EST, 18.30-20.30 IST)
Tour by: Leila Redpath

In this one-hour virtual tour, Leila Redpath will give participants a flavour of how the East India Company grew from a modest fleet of spice traders in 1600 to become the most powerful multinational corporation the world has ever known. But what ever happened to it? Why is it so hidden? And what is its legacy on the ground today? The tour will convey both the ingenuity and ruthlessness of the EIC and the ways it shapes our world today.

How is London a Monsoonal City?
March 18, 13.00-15.00 UTC (09.00 – 11.00 EST, 18.30-20.30 IST)
Participants: Feedback Theatre (Nina Feldman, Debora Mina, Mita Pujara); Hydar Dewachi; Sheila Ghelani and Naiza Khan.
Chair: Corinna Dean

An online openhouse workshop when artists participating in the Monsoonal Multiplicities artist residency will present the work produced during the residency and open it for discussion with each other and members of the audience.

Cultures of Climate Change Workshop
March 25, 13.00-15.00 UTC (09.00-11.00 EST, 18.30-20.30 IST)
Collaborators: Bengal Institute of Architecture Landscapes and Settlements, Dhaka; Blue Temple, Yangon; Care Earth Trust, Chennai; Research Initiatives Bangladesh; Urban Design Collective, Chennai.
Chairs: Lindsay Bremner and Beth Cullen

An online event facilitated by the MONASS researchers and project partners in Chennai, Dhaka and Yangon to open questions raised by the Monsoon Assemblages project for debate.

Monsoonal Multiplicities Online Exhibition Closure
March 29 13.00-14.00 UTC +1 (08.00-09.00 EST, 17.30-18.30 IST)
Speaker: Harry Charrington
Chair: Lindsay Bremner

This event will end the live period of the Monsoonal Multiplicities online exhibition. It will premier a video of the Monsoonal Multiplicities artist residency and launch an Instagram series of the work the artists produced. The Head of the School of Architecture and Cities at the University of Westminster will close the event with remarks about the potential impact of the Monsoon Assemblages project on architectural teaching and practice.

Lindsay Bremner or Corinna Dean or
School of Architecture and Cities
University of Westminster
56 Marylebone Road

Monsoon Assemblages
Monsoon Assemblages is a research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No. 679873)