University of Cambridge > > Infrastructural Geographies - Department of Geography > THIS SEMINAR WILL BE RESCHEDULED DUE TO UCU STRIKE ACTION When the future hits the ground: navigating logistical ruins on the Black Sea.

THIS SEMINAR WILL BE RESCHEDULED DUE TO UCU STRIKE ACTION When the future hits the ground: navigating logistical ruins on the Black Sea.

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In the past decade, the coastal village of Anaklia in West Georgia has been at the centre of different waves of investment intended to turn it into a logistics hub, envisaged as the key to a future of global connections for the entire country. To this day, none of these projects have materialised, leaving the village and its inhabitants to deal with the consequences of these multiple failures. During my first visit in Anaklia in 2017, I found the village filled with the ruins of a failed attempt to build a futuristic city named Lazika. At that time, a new project was about to begin, which included the construction of a deep sea port, a free industrial zone and a privately-owned smart city. In 2020, these latest developments were halted and, while Anaklia’s future remains out of sight, the ruins dotting the village have multiplied. The unfinished infrastructural efforts that have invested the village have left longstanding marks not only on its landscape but on the socio-economic relations amongst those who inhabit it. In the wake of the these failed projects, I figure Anaklia as simultaneously an index and a product of the various processes that are brought together in the reproduction of what I call the “logistical future”. By interrogating ethnographically the promises attached to Anaklia’s development, in this presentation I show how, rather than a smooth horizon of prosperity the logistical future is instead a much murkier and multilayered temporal orientation, one that is sustained by copious amounts of reproductive labour performed by all manners of actors. Crucially, what I show is that the logistical future is constantly brokering different forms of failure. Extending far beyond Georgia, this temporal horizon is enveloping increasingly more locations on the route of the New Silk Road. This presentation, thus, advances a situated perspective to the study of global logistics aimed at showing the awkward and often violent ways in which developmental promises of logistics hit the diverse grounds they cross.

This talk is part of the Infrastructural Geographies - Department of Geography series.

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