ADS3: Refuse Trespassing Our Bodies – The Right to Breathe
In 2020, the phrase ‘I Can’t Breathe’ galvanised a political movement. After the killing of George Floyd the phrase led to calls for the end of deadly chokehold arrests and systemic racism. It mobilised resistance, exposing extreme violence against racialised bodies and behind residential segregation, exposure to polluted environments, the Covid-19 pandemic and related diseases. This asphyxiating condition is repeated across geographies and landscapes shaped by the consequences of extractivism and nature’s encroachment. They manifest in respiratory problems, bodies overexposed to light, off-gassing buildings, antibiotic resistance, iron deficiencies, hypoxia in water bodies and devastating algal blooms detonated by hyper-fertile soils. ADS3 incorporates metabolic thinking into architectural discourse, generating critical spatial interventions addressing how we are forced to live with refuse. Each project is submerged into its own specific substance and the ways in which it shapes material flows and bodies on a planetary scale. Projects trace the metabolic pathways of: botulinum toxins through chronic pain, squalene through anti-ageing cosmetics, cadmium in textile pigments, mercury in artisanal mines, waste brine from horticultural production, melatonin in greenhouse labourers, and hydroquinone in bleaching creams. ADS3 generates critical spatial typologies and responses from the point of view of ‘refuse’, those who are refused and that which is ‘refused.’ Substances build political systems, exposing violent environmental racism in places where it is most present. Metabolised through our bodies, the studio asks ‘how do we live with refuse?’ while refusing to live with the structures, spaces and processes that we now inhale, absorb, lick and digest.