The Anthropocene Museum
Cave Ltd - Kenya
Drawings, plans, elevations
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We live in a world where urbanisation contributes to the largest proportion of pollution, and consumption of the planet’s resources. This project analyses an innocuous structure and space of resistance, the Mbai Cave network in Paradise Lost, used by the Mau Mau freedom fighters to overcome the colonial project in Kenya. Its significance when analysing how colonisation has contributed to the birth of the proposed geological age we live in, known as “The Anthropocene”, cannot be underestimated; especially when charting the future of architecture itself.
As part of an independent submission to the National Museums of Kenya, this survey thereby curates a (re)reading and (re)representation of architecture from a geological perspective. Architecture not obsessed with the act of building itself, but with what buildings allow us to enact in nature. We used 3D scanning technology to survey this first trunk of the Mbai cave network that you can experience here.
We further dissected the three-dimensional scan of the site in plan, section and elevation, communicating the intimate scale of this architectural masterpiece, addressing the new opportunities in program/ use, for such an ancient space.
The Mbai lava tube caves are dated 2.5 million years old, with recently discovered obsidian rock tools used by our early ancestors. In this protected site, we propose careful nonpermanent but restorative insertions of contemporary cultural works in the arts, from theater performances, independent film screenings, to open poetry sessions, separately curated to ignite the place beyond its current state of disrepair.
Assimilated here within the Mbai Caves will be reticulated oxygen masks to deal with the humid air, transportation rigs to bring in the elderly and disabled, among other devices and appendages to open up the experience to a broader audience.
A space as artefact that could be used to interrogate society in all its natures as it was once used by the Mau Mau. We suggest here as with other parts of the city like the Dandora dump site, and a web of locations connecting evidence sites around the globe, that the museum need not be solely constrained to one site and or a “manmade” structure, but that it be formally logged as part of an architectural network of resistance where societal and cultural action can flourish.
The Museum in its broadest geographical sense will be interconnected in space and time exploiting rich cultural works of local communities, geared towards a broader consciousness to produce self-preserving, responsive ideas about the built and natural environment; after all the earth is resilient and independent enough to sustain itself with or without our presence.
This project humbly references the vast body of work, past and present, prepared by scientists and a broad range of other supporting professionals from around the globe to name but a few, Paul Jozef Crutzen, the Dutch, Nobel Prize-winning, atmospheric chemist, Professor Jan Zalasiewicz, Christian Schwägerl among many other drivers of the subject.
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