Library of Land & Sea
The Cosmogony of (Racial) Capitalism
Dele Adeyemo
Project description

Supported by Het Nieuwe Instituut.

The Cosmogony of (Racial) Capitalism is a design-led investigation into the material cultures present at the birth of capitalism and its emergence out of the relations of power forged in the integrated network of the sugar-cane plantation. Prototyping practices of colonisation, industrial agricultural production and Atlantic slavery, Europe's sugar cane plantations would propel the expansion of capitalism across the planet, transforming notions of race in the process. Taking as its point of departure the meeting between the Portuguese and the Edo people in the Kingdom of Benin, a leading society in West Africa among the Yoruba, Dele Adeyemo recovers long-neglected histories that narrate the extension of the Mediterranean world to the Guinea Coast. By revisiting the cartographic practices of these European and African societies, he explores the initial conditions in which global capitalism came into being.


Dele Adeyemo (UK) is an architect, creative director and urban theorist. His creative practice and research interrogate the underlying drivers in the production of space, locating them in the racialising logic of processes that orchestrate planetary patterns of living.

Adeyemo’s projects have been presented internationally, including at the Venice Architecture Biennale and World Design Capital. In 2019, as part of the 2nd Edition of the Lagos Biennial, he curated and produced Black Horizon with the artist Hermes Chibueze Iyele, a short film and performance documenting rhythms of endurance within the precariously situated community of Oworonshoki on the edge of Lagos Lagoon. Most recently his oral piece, Black Ubiquity-Ubiquitous Black, commemorating the mutual experience of Black diasporic life, was performed as part of the opening ritual to Ummah Chroma’s exhibition GD Thyself: Spirit Strategy on Raising Free Black Children during the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Adeyemo is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, a fellow of the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam and a current recipient of the Canadian Centre for Architecture and Andrew Mellon research grant. He leads an architecture design studio at the Royal College of Art in London. Project collaborator, Christopher Oliver is co-writer and producer of the film The Cosmogony of (Racial) Capitalism, directed by Adeyemo. Oliver is a writer, filmmaker and art director.

ARK Kültür
More Library of Land & Sea