I was really happy to contribute a photo essay called Mud Marine: The Rise and Fall of Mangalore Tiles to Sharpening the Haze: Visual Essays on Imperial History and Memory edited by Giulia Carabelli, Miloš Jovanović, Annika Kirbis, Jeremy F. Walton.
In it, through the photo essay, I argue that:
A visual analysis of colonial and post-colonial buildings reveals how the lines that serve as real barriers of exclusion intersect with the in-between material and representational structures of the built form; how cultural and spatial histories can be traced through buildings as they reference both global urban forms and local urbanisms; and, more specifically, how layers of overlapping, crumbling, moss-ridden tiles speak to the overlapping, crumbling and nature-reclaiming temporal and spatial frameworks of coloniality, global capitalism, post-coloniality and indigeneity. This photo essay explores a style of roofing tile associated with a smaller city in coastal southwest India: Mangalore Tiles. Though roof tiles were produced for centuries utilising the clay found on the banks of the rivers than conjoin at the city, Mangalore Tiles rose to prominence after the production process was industrialised by the Basel Evangelical Missionary Society from 1865 onwards. Once tiles of international renown, the production process has slowed to a trickle in recent decades. Using both archival and my own photographs all taken from within a few hundred square metres around the original tile factory, I argue it is possible to see the straight lines of a ‘civilising’ empire; neoliberalism’s desire to produce global representations of sameness; land’s material, economic and poetic instability; ghostly hauntings from the past and future; insecure masculine militaristic language; and the scattered remains left by the transmogrifications of empires.
You can download the photo essay here and here: Cook_2020_Mud Marine.
The rest of the open access book is brilliant, and you can read all the chapters here: Sharpening the Haze: Visual Essays on Imperial History and Memory.