Arts & Culture
Abolition: In Defence of Translation
- 8:15 pm
09 September 2021
Somerset House Studios | Free
Strand, London WC2R 1LA
A series of presentations, organising workshops, conversations and performances reflecting on the many dimensions of abolition, curated, and programmed by Lola Olufemi and Imani Robinson.
Across a weekly programme of in person and online events throughout September, Abolition: In Defence of Translation looks to explore how people might, following the critical texts of prison abolitionist and scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore, live in “antagonistic contradiction” to spaces and practices of incarceration.
The series aims to utilise radical imagining as a tool to help inform this antagonism whilst grappling with abolition as an urgent materialist demand; creating a space to reflect and to leave attendees with practical skills that might be used to make critical interventions against carcerality (raids, deportation, prisons) in their own contexts.
Abolition, as theory and practice, is not an exported product from the United States. It is not a static phenomenon that emanates outwards from centre to periphery, rather it eschews boundaries and borders to enable us to make critical and living-saving interventions everywhere.
Abolition: In Defence of Translation poses several questions:
- How might we conceive of and enact resistance against landscapes of entrapment birthed by racial capitalism in our everyday lives, no matter who we are and where we are situated?
- Why is Abolition a recurrent concept and how can we understand it as more than just an exported product?
- How do we escape the trap of ownership of this concept and practice whilst remaining critical of its unspecific application across the world?
- What would it mean if we refused to assume that carcerality looks and functions the same in every context?
- What about the prison in our local area and community, if we focused our attention there – what histories, echoes and repetitive cycles of extraction and exploitation might be revealed? What can the local tell us about the global?
** In Defence of Translation – Thursday 9th September 6.45pm – 8.15pm – Online
A series of guest presentations and a panel discussion exploring the concept of abolition. When a word or concept travels, its meaning and applicability begin to shapeshift. We have seen how abolitionist practices and processes morph depending on geographic location: how the concept has been adapted to the shape of carcerality across the world.
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** Antagonistic Contradiction – Thursday 16th September 6.45pm – 8.15pm – Online
Dr. Gail Lewis explores Black radicalism, anti-capitalist place-making and abolitionist geography. Our understanding of space and place are informed by the psychogeographical contours of our environments, of carcerality, enclosure, surveillance. This conversation will explore Black radicalism, anti-capitalist place-making and abolition geographies, the antagonistic contradiction of carceral geographies.
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** Carceral Geographies – Sunday 26th September 12pm – 4.30pm – Lanacster Rooms – Pay What You Can (PWYC)
Members of the Carceral Time Working Group, a collective of Goldsmith’s Architecture MA students who have conducted a critical research appraisal of Holloway Prison, formerly the largest women’s prison in Europe. The students have sought to understand how prisons and other carceral systems seize time as a form of punishment. As a result of their research, Undoing Time, an abolitionist planner, and website was born.
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** Labour, Sweat, Criminality – Thursday 30th September 6.45pm – 8.30pm – Lancaster Rooms – PWYC
Thinking through the evolution of different forms of punishment and their intended purposes, this night of readings from Lola Olufemi, Samra Mayanja, and Ebun Sodipo and live performance by Imani Robinson will make connections between labour, sweat and criminality.
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Header Image: Book cover ‘Abolition for The People: The Movement for A Future Without Policing & Prisons’ due for release October 12, 2021. Credit: Kaerpernick Publishing.