I am walking in a Wardian Case. Above the historic West India docks, above the newly opened Elizabeth line, yet dwarfed by the skyscrapers that crowd the dockland horizon of east London.
When Saidiya Hartman visits the slave fort for the first time, she confronts the sight and smell of waste and dirt in the dungeon cells. She travels to Ghana to experience a diasporic connection with her ancestors, but there is no sign of the enslaved within the grimy walls of the fort. Considering the emptiness of this archive, the slave fort is a site of heritage tourism that fails in its purpose of commemorating the dead.
We inhabit an epoch of planetary unraveling marked by industrial capitalist processes that are undermining conditions of life at a global scale.