In this paper, I perform an approach for a material and affective geography of the postcolonial city that is developed from within the spaces of Cairo and its archives. I propose storytelling the city through its geopoetics, where geopoetics emphasizes the elemental materiality of space. Taking inspiration from Angela Last, the geopoetics in this essay denotes disruptive aesthetics: intersection between word, aesthetics, and the geophysical materiality. This essay proceeds with a series of personal vignettes based on fieldwork in Cairo, Egypt. What if the narrative of downtown Cairo as a paradigmatic starting point in its history was explored through its consumption in fire? What could dust—the banal and irritating feature of the city is made central in probing its affective making and breaking? The essay is concerned with the ways we narrate and make meaning of this megacity of the Middle East.
- Elemental Geography