Smuts Memorial Lecture Series 2017
Series Title: The Uninhabitable: Afterlives of the Urban South
Lecture II: 'Looking out for the Dark: Navigating contemporary complexities in Jakarta and Hyderabad'
Speaker: Professor AbdouMaliq Simone (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity)
This lecture takes up the manufacturing of darkness as relationality spiraling out of control. Here, the capacity to render any experience as a piece of interoperable data intersects with the inability of any infrastructure to hold the sheer panoply of heterogeneous actions, recursions, and feedback loops that run up and down discernible scales. All of the devices and regimens capable of demonstrating exactly how things relate to each other, in their very implementation, unleash an excess of unscalable details and an aesthetics that renders the tropes of overarching organizational logics inoperable.
I explore some of the ways in which residents in Jakarta and Hyderabad, India, deal with this darkness, this situation where many countervailing realities all seem to be equally possible and appearing; where the accelerated, haphazard, and brazenly opportunistic expansions of built environments that seek to get far away from what a given city was before reaffirm or cultivate interiorities of care, of people looking out for each other.