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November 2020

Dilip da Cunha: The Invention of Rivers

Recasting Water Worlds

Dilip da Cunha questions the naturalization of infrastructure and the role of design and spatial practices in reinscribing forms of partition in natural systems. Stemming from his work with long-term partner Anuradha Mathur, da Cunha calls for new kinds of river literacy and guides us through proposals of artistic representation, scientific inquiry, and infrastructural engineering, rethinking the role and mutations of the coastline, the riverbank, and the water’s edge at a time when sea-level rise and resource management necessitate the construction of levees and land retirement schemes. The author sees these spaces as sites for insurgent volatility and elemental indeterminacy, vis-à-vis the human desire to hold, separate, and contain.

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