The maintenance of life and the violence of scale: a differentiated look at extractivisms

Extractivist practices shape spaces and lives through colonial, capitalist, and exploitative ideologies that can be summarised as extractivism. Extractivism is the logic of fossil-fuelled capitalism, and capitalism requires it, as well as the inequality it produces. Green capitalism performs the very same operation by conceptualising the earth—all the things and beings in it—as material in a mechanical system.

The effects and consequences of violent extractivisms are not only historic but continue to be felt in the present. In the face of the climate emergency, extraction is being expanded and intensified. Architecture as it is currently constituted— buildings, knowledge, profession, education—is built and feeds on extraction. How and why did this happen, what possibilities exist for architecture after extractivism or post-extractivist spatial practices, and how might these be brought about?

by Anthony Powis for MOULD

This pamphlet is offered as a provisional statement on the topic. We welcome any comments which might help develop the ideas and argument.

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