HACKING CONCRETE picks up material instability by making concrete ‘open’. Something that is ‘open’ is that which has not yet hardened, and is materially still permeable with smells, flows, liquids, or other sorts of passing throughs. Taking up crip technoscience’s notion of hacking, we hack concrete to intervene in systems that don’t suit us. We resist the literal consolidation (or curing and hardening) of worlds, pathways, lumps and other so called ‘stable’ things by working with an ontologically ‘stable’ material like concrete and experimenting with how it can resist hardening, closing or foreclosing. We hold in mind our disabled ancestors and trans*cestors who have hacked systems away from bigotry, ableism, queerphobia and inaccessible realities towards otherwise presents.

When making concrete, a powder is mixed with water and poured into structures in which it hardens into curbs, sidewalks, stairs, walls, streets and foundations. We work with the moment of formlessness on the way to the hardening to discover access potentials within something that is ontologically, metaphorically and physically not yet stable. By keeping concrete "open" by adding more water or other materials to interrupt the "curing" (the process of hardening), and by churning/stirring this mixture, we uphold possibilities of reformation and keep different pathways available. By caring for the slowness of concrete’s curing we resist a consolidation or solidification into a uniform unwavering smooth surface.


A project by MELT, Loren Britton & Isabel Paehr 2021