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Oceanic Humanities postdoctoral fellow Jonathan Cane presented a conference paper ‘Permeability, Ocean, Concrete’ at the third MONASS symposium and exhibition, Monsoon [+other] Grounds took place at the University of Westminster on the 21 and 22 March, 2019. The paper was an extension of his current research on concrete and the notion of permeability. He proposed examining the ‘dolos’ which since the 1960s has become an international standard form of breakwater. Made of unreinforced concrete, these interlocking components are part of a ‘hard coastal stabilization’ and work by attenuating the force of waves. These energy dissipating blocks are conceptually understood to be ‘armour’, working ’against’ water, to ‘protect’ coastlines. Apart from the brutal beauty of tetrapod structures, they are generative for shifting thinking towards assemblages, processes and connection rather than binary terms. How might we think of waves as not ‘against’ land? What could the tetrapod and its relation to the tide open up in our consideration of the monsoon?

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