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Capitalithos mined in Quartier Nord, Brussels, 2020

Capitalithothèque[edit]

The Capitalithothèque is a collection of stones that can be sourced from capital-buildings with descriptions of methods and the area in the city where they can be found.

Collection of capitalitho-bijoux

Bijouterie[edit]

The Bijouterie contains pictures of some of the rings, chains, and other jewelry ornaments that were made using Capitalitho stones.

Nibbling away at the symbols of capitalism.[edit]

This wiki explains a specific type of perfora-lithic anti-capitalist practice. By bringing together texts and images of this example, it also is an invitation to continue the work and put into practice copy-pastes, versions, variations in different situations, places and circumstances.

Perforalithic practice[edit]

Anyone who has had mice or other rodents living around, probably experienced that nibbling makes holes. Holes that start small but give enough passage to move on to nibble elsewere. Modest tools (teeth) plus time, energy and perseverance cuts through a lot. Plus: nibbling makes noise. It disturbs, it is irritating, it keeps people from sleeping. It is annoying. And nibbling is an urge. it is not to be deliberated, there is no holding back. It is routineus. It asks for training. But once you have it, it is difficult not to. Do, do, do some more. Keep up the paste.

Perforalithic nibbling is the making of holes in the shallow facades of buildings that stand symbol for turbo-capitalism, power, dominance, oppression. The perforalithic nibbling nerves are triggered by mega-corp appropriation of urban space. While anything can be a sign of capitalist society, some symbols are stronger then others. So we are not nibbling away at just any building, we bite into those that embody predatory capitalism. We chip off what we do not need until we are left with that which we do need. But maybe we don't need any of it.

The practice can be seen in two ways: firstly as a form of urban mining, harvesting material, collecting crumbs and stones as a practice of counter-extractivism. You cut and tear to collect. And secondly as a way to augment public space. Any scratching away of material, each hole that appears is filled with the breath of public space.

What is going on behind those gleaming glass walls ? You want to pierce the facades. What politics, materials, structures and realities will emerge ? And also: how to do it ?

Capitalithographical Methods and Findings[edit]

Use your nails, a pen, your keys,
or a screwdriver.
Find a weak spot, a dent, a scratch. Wreck it.
Collect the crumbs, the pebbles, the dirt.
Use it to express your dissent with capitalism.

Fluo sticker
Another fluo sticker

Drawing attention[edit]

Nibbled off bottom right corner of a service door in the facade of the SEVS building.

Although a mouse is tiny, it's presence is easily felt. It spreads shit around the room. Small drops, but with a big effect. In a similar way, I guess that a tactics of the Capita-lithographical work is to produce visibility through non-niceness, the holes that one punches are not going to be neat. They are drawing attention by interrupting the language of straight architectural lines that dominates these quarters.

How to make sure that this erosion is understood as deliberate act? One thing I thought about was to organise guided tours. That is quite a common medium in Brussels. Instead of marveling the marble of this or that institute we could stand next to a capitalithographical hole, discussing it in relation to anti-capitalist strategies. A PDF print-out guide leading passed sticker-marked trail, will also work. But maybe you do not always want the nibbles to be authored moments.

Act in sight[edit]

The street that houses the institute for state security is always going to be watched. You can count on it. There are camera's, there is security personal, there might be some less visible, less obvious more advanced tools put in place. These devices are calibrated to predictable patterns and will notice behaviour or appearances that are out of the ordinary. You might want to train to behave non suspiciously. Not moving out of sight is part of that.

Speed up[edit]

I go by bike. It has the right speed. It allows me to be slow to observe and fast to move in and out. Walking is to slow, you start lingering around. A bike can carry lots of stuff in its bags. It provides shelter: you can park it on the pavement in front of you while you work.

Find beginnings[edit]

Ok, so you are not taking a hammer and a chissel to bluntly start hitting the middle of a plate of marble. That would be pushing your luck. Growing a small beginning seems like a better option. Browse streetview, or walk the neighborhood before you start cracking. One tip: plates are connected with metal pins. Because the plates are generally speaking quite thin, the connection points often break very easily. Knock on the plates following the joints and listen. When the sound starts to resonate less, you are bound to reach a pin.

Crack showing connector pin

Some experiences[edit]

It is interesting that once you start working, the act of doing leads to a better understanding of the material, the structure, the building, how it was put up and what it is for. One general conclusion from the first days of Capitalithographist action, was that the facades that were knocked upon where really crappily build. The materials used often look slick, but are not made to touch, not made to last a long while and not to be looked at from a short distance. That makes them great candidates for this work. High-rise aesthetics are to be appreciated from afar, as part of a skyline, a cityscape. But many people are using Streetview to navigate, and when you zoom into a building to find its street number, or to lookup the name of a company, photographic images of the plinths of buildings are actually much in sight. Streetview has no corrective beautification filters for buildings (yet).

Links[edit]

Two irregular-shaped stones, with rough and smooth surfaces. Each with a gummed paper label relating to the Suffragette movement. The label on the first stone reads, 'IF A CONSTITUTIONAL / DEPUTATION IS REFUSED / WE MUST PRESENT / A "STONE MESSAGE"'. The label on the second stone reads, 'CONSTITUTIONAL / METHODS BEING / IGNORED, DRIVE / US TO WINDOW / SMASHING'.

Thrown through the railings of Buckingham Palace during a Suffragette protest, 27 May 1914.

https://www.rct.uk/collection/71068/two-stones-with-suffragette-labels


Capitalithographical methods are a loose continuation of the lived through collective practice of removing the word 'arab' from the sandstone colonial statue in the cinquantenaire park in Brussels

http://westenberg.constantvzw.org/?cat=11


Geographic líthotheques:

https://lithotheque.ac-montpellier.fr/

https://lithotheque.ens-lyon.fr/


What is a rock ?

https://geology.com/rocks/


Article motivating why capitalism is for the dustbin.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/01/capitalism-excesses-dustbin-history


Guided tour passing the natural stone that is used in the construction of the museum of natural histories in Brussels. Document is in Dutch.

http://biblio.naturalsciences.be/pdf/papers/2012/natuursteen-in-het-museum


Stone stacking destroys habitats:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/17/stone-stacking-instagram-environment-adventure-tourism