Copper Geographies (2010-2016)Ignacio Acosta
Extractivism as a form of capital introduces two changes in matter: it turns it into something more informative than substantial, and more circulatory than fixed. The world is fleeing towards this transformation of matter. Copper is the very metal of this transformation, because it is characterized by high electrical and thermal circulation. Copper is everywhere in all technical devices. As Ignacio Acosta says, copper plays a key role in information and communication technologies, that is, in the dynamics of capital, but rarely seen. It is necessary to approach to the heart of this transformation of the matter that sustains the informative and circulatory form of capital.
Copper Geographies explores the global flow of mined copper. It presents a series of fieldwork explorations of geographically disparate landscapes historically connected by copper. It maps sites of transformation along the production network and commodity chain, documenting the mutation and transformation of copper from raw material to capital; through ore, smelted commodity, stock market exchanged value, assembled material and waste. It discloses the uneven spatial conditions in which the material circulates by connecting the ecologies of resource exploitation in the Atacama Desert with the global centres of consumption and trade in Britain, and by making visible its return, hidden in manufactured goods, to the territories it originated from. Copper Geographies documents spaces of circulation, environmental disruption, protest and trade, and makes visible the return of the copper hidden within technological devices to its geographical origins.
Copper Geographies is part of Traces of Nitrate: Mining history and photography between Britain and Chile, a research project developed in collaboration with Art and Design historian Louise Purbrick, photographer Xavier Ribas, based at the University of Brighton and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The book Copper Geographies (2018) is composed of eight series, which are organised along three axes: ‘Global mobility of copper’; ‘Post-industrial landscapes’; and ‘Contemporary mining industry and its relation to London’. The project presents documentary research in the form of maps, photographs and analytical texts and offers a critical spatial imaginary for re-thinking the geographies of copper. It includes six written contributions by curators, historians and poets; Andrés Anwandter, Marta Dahó, Tehmina Goskar, Tony Lopez, Louise Purbrick and Frank Vicencio López.
Diaries of Porn and Extraction (2017-2021)CENEx (Center for the Study of Extractive Nature). Isabel Torres, Juana Guerrero, Lucía Egaña
Founded in 2020 by artists and researchers Lucía Egaña, Isabel Torres and Juana Guerrero, aims to address from an interdisciplinary practice a series of issues and consequences of extractivism, understanding it as a constitutive element of certain epistemologies that reproduce and configure the distribution of life forms and “resources” throughout the length and breadth of planet Earth.
For our research we make use of theoretical and thought production, creative experimentation and social processes that trigger critical reflections on extraction. For this we engage through workshops, audiovisual and performative production, exhibitions and poetic and theoretical writing.
CENEx’s work is carried out in a situated way, having offices in Iquique, Santiago and Barcelona, these locations allow us to dimension the extractive nature from three different and complementary spaces that account for global traffic of resources, thoughts, materials and processed, and that allow us to embrace these movements in an incarnated way.
Initially articulated by the need to continue and expand a poetic-visual investigation around the eroticism of extraction through three natural resources and minerals exploited in the Chilean territory –oil, copper and lithium–, this project, still unfinished, has been in development since 2017 and has materialized in a trilogy of visual tests: PetroPorn, CuPorn and LiPorn.
San Pedro River, A Landscape in Resistance (2021)Cristian Ochoa and Felipe González
The San Pedro River is located in the Los Lagos commune, Province of Valdivia, in the Los Rios Region, in southern Chile. It drains water from Lake Riñihue, the last of the “Seven Lakes”, and flows into the Calle-Calle River, which in turn flows into the Valdivia River that reaches Corral Bay, emptying into the Pacific Ocean. “San Pedro River, A Landscape in Resistance”, is a documentary directed by Cristian Ochoa and Felipe González that reconstructs the history of this river, also remember “the feat of the Riñihuazo“, but above all it vindicates the historical fight against the Matte family’s dam project.
The fight against the dam on the San Pedro River is part of other struggles in the Puelwillimapu Territorial Alliance.
Visual Record: Adrian Silva Pino, Coordinator of the Visual Anthropology Laboratory (Universidad Austral de Chile), collaborator in the communications area of the Pilmaiken River Without Dams Movement, led by Machi Millaray Huichalaf.Rio San Pedro Sin Represas
My body is a museum (2019)Paula Baeza Pailamilla
Extractivism as part of the neoliberal economic and political model pervades the entire understanding of territory, which includes not only the diversity of ecosystems, but also culture, ancestral knowledge, and the bodies of peoples. Academy, hegemonic cultural and educational institutions are also part of the extractivist machinery, what the Mapuche poet Daniela Catrileo calls extractivism of kimün (knowledge). This practice, in which research on indigenous peoples has been sustained for decades, has paradoxically made visible certain problems. Nevertheless, it has produced exoticization, fetishization and forced interpretations at the expense of the study of our corporeality and wisdom.
In Chile there are museums that to this day exhibit jewelry, textiles, everyday utensils and a myriad of objects (including bodies) that have been obtained through looting of graves and houses, some of which often come from private collections. The acquisition and exhibition of traditional Mapuche elements by museum institutions generate a silent gaze fragmentation, which does nothing more than highlight the colonial way in which museography has been traditionally thought. In many of them, it is possible to see black or white mannequins displaying traditional clothes and jewels in an aesthetic of faceless silhouettes, a shadow that seems to erase lives that still exist and the fact that we continue to give daily and ceremonial use to these elements. The institutional gaze focuses on extracting only some layers of cultural, political and spiritual expressions: aesthetics, visual language, materialities and techniques. Living identity is suppressed in all its forms, trying to exalt an extravagant and at the same time indigenous value: this is the case of the lien-tukuluwün, the traditional Mapuche silver jewelry.
Inside a mobile display case, dressed completely in black with my whole body covered, I stand static wearing lien-tukuluwün (Mapuche jewelry). This action stresses an appearance/disappearance of the Mapuche bodies that are still alive, while the State and private institutions try to erase our existence, exalting only some elements of our culture, leaving out the context and the living history of the territory.
Every year there will be fewer words (2020)TRIMEX. Andrés Terrisse, Jota Aldunce, Bernardita Pérez
A few days after the start of the uprising in Chile, a video began to circulate on the networks that had the following epigraph: “The biggest difference between 1973 and now is that people has cameras in their pockets.” This epigraph summarize the feeling that the revolt was taking place in a scopic regime of digital screens. In fact, one of the most repeated ideas in those days was that the success of the revolt responded to the subversive appropriation of new technologies. Now, there is no appropriation that does not imply an expropriation.
Like Videogramme einer Revolution by Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica, Every year there will be fewer words by Trimex, an audiovisual work that compiled visual records from the political revolt in Santiago, explores the technological determination of political intervals: not only the subversive appropriation of new technologies, but also the use of object and person recognition technology, showing data extraction as an invisible event inside the event. A software based on YOLO technology was used for the recognition of objects, animals and people, the same one used for surveillance. Every year there will be fewer words reflects on technological advances and their filtration between bodies, cities and public spaces, and how this filtration has the potential to modify the future of society.trimex.cl
The Neoliberal Dream (2015)Felipe Rivas San Martin
The same image. Thousands of times the same image. But what do we see in this image? The image, wrote Ronald Kay in V.I.S.U.A.L (1976), is not experienced in the captured event. It is experienced in the “temporality of the mediations that are exercised in the image”. This temporality of mediations, however, is invisible on the scale of the present human gaze; it is, said Kay, the virtual power of the image determined by the performativity of the technologies in progress.
We have seen the bombing of La Moneda Palace in 1973 thousands of times. We have seen it thousands of times with our eyes through television or photographs. Felipe Rivas San Martin does not miss its importance as a figure of the paradigmatic mutation of the social diagram within the abstract machine of capital. But his understanding of the image is permeated by the understanding of the differentiation between an epoch of technical reproducibility and another. The image of the bombing of La Moneda Palace not only captures the event of the first project to form a neoliberal State; due to its intrinsic virtuality, it promises the experience and analysis of this event as the indication of the subsumption of the modern political project in algorithmic calculability. The photographic image seen thousands of times by human eyes is intervened by the algorithmic gaze of Deep Dream, an artificial intelligence algorithm created by computer engineers from Google. This differentiation between the photographic imaginary of the captured fact and the algorithmic imaginary of the intervened image, opens within the same image not only a temporary abyss in terms of the political forms of power. It opens a gulf between political forms of imagination and visuality.
Coal. Dirty Energy in Chile (2011)Claudia Pool
Coal. Dirty Energy in Chile, is a project that occupies the photographic image with the aim of bringing to light problems that live small towns in our country that are located near industrial areas. This project reveals, through photographic images that travel along the coast, the damages and consequences environmental and social issues that have caused the Coal Thermoelectric Plants. The book project compiles a photographic record of the most affected places in Chile: Tocopilla, Mejillones, Huasco, Las Ventanas and Coronel.
Planetary Mine. Territories of Extraction under Late Capitalism (2020)Martin Arboleda
The investigation of Martin Arboleda interrogates the political life of infrastructures of extraction, especially at a time when new generations of machines and integrated industrial technologies actively reweave the textures and environments of everyday life. This fact it holds one of the most fundamental world-historical shifts in late modern society: the staggering acceleration of automation and the concomitant replacement of human laborers with intelligent machines. In Planetary Mine. Territories of Extraction under Late Capitalism, Martín Arboleda argues that the mining industry’s recent technological and organizational modernization transcends mere shifts in the intensity and scale of mineral extraction. The planetary mine is the geography of extraction that emerges as the most genuine product of two distinct yet overlapping world-historical transformations: first, a new geography of late industrialization that is no longer circumscribed to the traditional heartland of capitalism (i.e., the West), and second, a quantum leap in the robotization and computerization of the labor process brought about by what I will term the fourth machine age. The geographies of extraction have become entangled in a global apparatus of production and exchange that supersedes the premises and internal dynamics of a proverbial world system of cores and peripheries defined exclusively by national borders. Mazen Labban’s notion of the planetary mine implies that the mine is not a discrete sociotechnical object but a dense network of territorial infrastructures and spatial technologies vastly dispersed across space and wholly blends into the circulatory system of capital, which now transverses the entire geography of the earth.Interview with Martin Arboleda
A story never told from below (2016)Regina de Miguel
A Story Never Told from Below takes as its starting point one of the most unusual and radical in the history of communication technologies recent cases: Cybersyn or Synco project. This project, led by the visionary cybernetic Stafford Beer, took place in Chile between 1971 and 1973 during the government of President Salvador Allende. It can be considered as one of the first attempts to establish an interconnected information network, the prehistory of the internet, but as a utopia where the extraction of data would be at the service of the people. From the history of this machine of Liberty, which proposed “deliver the tools of science to the people,” and other paradigmatic scenarios linked to the notion of disappearance and underground knowledge, a filmic narrative, divided into acts arises between the historical documentary, science / political fiction and psychological portrait. Utopias, even the most revolutionary, always show the systematic failures of when they were made; this audiovisual essay is at this junction trying to think what is behind the positivists and widespread uses of technologies, showing the conditions in this case propitiated and later canceled. As a timeless narrative machine it places us in the dissolution of the distance between humanity and technology deep into the cracks it produces.www.reginademiguel.net
Data Extractivism. Machinic imagination Project (2020-2021)Claudio Celis / María Jesús Schultz
Hand in hand with the development of information technologies (wireless technologies, social media, big data tools, machine-learning algorithms, etc.), “data” seem to become the new “oil” of contemporary capitalism. This phenomenon has resulted in new categories to explain the production and accumulation of value in capitalism, such as those of “attention economy”, “surveillance capitalism” or “computational capitalism”. All of them have in common the role that “data mining” plays (as well known as “data extractivism”), where it is possible to verify an analogy between information and commodities in contemporary capitalism. The objective of this text is to examine the link between “data extractivism” and the capitalist valorization process. Specifically, we will reflect on whether or not the new developments in machine-learning algorithms require a redefinition of Marx’s labor theory of value in order to think about contemporary capitalism.
Machinic imagination is a web platform created by Claudio Celis and Maria Jesus Schultz as a result of the Fondecyt Project 11170065 (2017-2020). Sponsored by the Institute of Humanities of the University Academy of Christian Humanism.http://imaginacionmaquinica.cl/data-extractivism
Aridity Exercises 2017-2021Celeste Rojas Mugica
In 2011, a woman received information about the existence of a gigantic curved knife measuring 2,000 meters in length, traced with lime on the Atacama Desert soil, a few kilometers from her home. The anonymous petrified giant on the driest land in the world, which can only be completely seen from the sky, represents the emblem weapon of the history of violence in Chile and it is placed in the same territory in which that violence has been deployed.
What conditions enable the production of certain images?
What technologies determine their forms and understanding?
What landscapes host them?
What systems organize them?
What imagination makes them possible and what imaginaries do they set up?
Extractivisms: operations and practices is a virtual device that introduces the idea of “expanded extractivism” to approach extractivism as a set of transversal operations and practices on the horizon of the contemporary capitalism. Lines, works and concepts traced on devasted landscape, the virtual device of Galería Réplica finds convergences between artistics and theoreticals research by Ignacio Acosta, CENEx (Lucía Egaña, Isabel Torres, Juana Guerrero), TRIMEX (Andrés Terrisse, Jota Aldunce, Bernardita Pérez), Celeste Rojas, María Jesús Schultz, Paula Baeza, Cristian Ochoa, Felipe González, Claudia Pool, Claudio Celis, Martín Arboleda, Regina de Miguel and Felipe Rivas San Martín, in order to politically intervene in a present convulsed both by the constituent process in Chile and by the mutation of global forms of extractivism.
Idea and text: Ivan Flores Arancibia
Curatorial Team: Ivan Flores, Jesús Román, María José Bello and Gabriela Urrutia
Artists: CENEx (Lucía Egaña, Isabel Torres, Juana Guerrero), TRIMEX (Andrés Terrisse, Jota Aldunce, Bernardita Pérez), Imaginación Maquínica (María Jesús Schultz), Ignacio Acosta, Felipe Rivas San Martin, Regina de Miguel, Celeste Rojas, Paula Baeza Pailamilla, Claudia Pool, Cristian Ochoa and Felipe González
With the participation of Claudio Celis and Martín Arboleda
Diseño web: medialogic solutions
Translations Catalina Büchner