matt martin

a barrel of rum is winched up to the loophole door in a warehouse’s top storey      beyond the fug uttered by steamships there towers the pyramid-capped obelisk of one canada square      at east london’s west india docks two hundred years of history is compressed to one moment in accordance with the speed of high frequency trading      the docklands light railway viaduct across the dock basin has bascules to let west indiaman ships’ masts pass through      commuters on the trains grumble about “catching a bridger” as cockneys would call it when their route was interrupted by the open lock at a dock entrance      the sailing ships are from the earliest days of this complex      arriving laden with rum and sugar from the caribbean      before loading manufactured goods for export      tools and weapons and chains      that they’ll take to west africa      there to fill holds with captive africans      for shipment via the middle passage to the west indies      selling the enslaved and taking more sugar on board      riding the north atlantic turbine around and around a triangular circuit      accruing more and more wealth for merchants controlling the ghastly trade      this triangle is represented in each face of the pyramid on one canada square      but this is not what the tower’s architect césar pelli was thinking about      what else might he have had in mind

     •    a reference to egyptian tomb pyramids
     •    a hypertime structure that encodes the form of the cosmos