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PLAT 12: Divine. Gathering Home: a conversation with Sumayya Vally

To divine is a vehicle whereby the field of architecture can manifest diverse places of difference and reconstruct narratives of the past, present, and future. From the most religious to the most secular, from the mystical to the ordinary, from the individual to the collective, the intertextual links in this volume orchestrate a journey that unfolds in three acts: divinings, divinations, and divinizations.

In the first act, the diviners dissect the meaning of the word “divine” itself. Their meditations on ethereal concepts reveal parallelisms with the practice of architecture. These ruminations eventually wrestle with the realization of ghastly profanities—even the divine cannot escape commodification. Against this disconcert arises a collective desire for the reclamation of meaning. The search for resolve in our material and tectonic cultures vis-à-vis this capitalistic milieu immerses us into a journey within.

In the second chapter, diviners excavate meanings and processes for architectural futures and worldbuilding from various sources: faith, pop culture, traditions, and shit. Building into this interface to divinize the profane and to profane the divine, they yield fertile ground for cultural critiques on the deceptive desires we have come to uphold as sacralities.

The third act explores the calcification of humanity’s derailed priorities into the absolutist religion of global capital, and the subversive determinations to recover virtues worth celebrating. They show that the delight of meaning may coexist in spite of, within, and around mounds of commodification. Throughout these acts, encounters with spaces, words, and bodies reveal new parts of an infinite waiting to be divined