12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

Malcom Ferdinand: The Double Toxicity of Imperialism. Perspectives from the French Overseas Territories

Keynote held within the framework of the conference Imperial Ecologies as part of the 12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art on June 22, 2022 at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum der Gegenwart – Berlin.

In his presentation, Malcom Ferdinand argues for a departure from what one could call “the double fracture of modernity” which separates environmental and colonial history, reasserting imperialism’s central role in the making of the modern world. Taking as its starting point a number of specific French Imperial practices, including the banana plantations of Martinique and Guadeloupe, nuclear testing in Polynesia, and mineral mining in French Guiana, Ferdinand examines the contemporary sociopolitical and environmental movements that struggle against these enduring colonial modalities of inhabiting the planet, arguing that these struggles point to the horizon of a coming common world.

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