VIDEO: Caribbean Architecture Explored Through its Own Material History
How do aesthetics act as material evidence of history? What does an architecture of leisure look like outside of the western canon? How has colonialism reinforced the idea that ornamentation and function are opposing forces? These are some of the questions examined in a new video essay directed by Sucking Salt, a collective focused on archiving Caribbean architecture and aesthetics. The poetic short film is a collaboration with artist Akeem Smith and was produced in concert with Smith’s exhibition No Gyal Can Test, which archives the dancehall scene Smith grew up around, showcasing photos and videos but also the architectural spaces where the parties took place. Many of the same typologies which Sucking Salt examine the sociopolitical histories of in the video above were on full display in Smith’s show, which saw the artist shipping from Jamaica walls, doors, concrete blocks, and window grills and then transforming them into walk-in sculptures. The architectural exhibition first debuted in 2020 at Red Bull Arts New York in 2020 before traveling in 2021 to Red Bull Arts Detroit where it recently closed.