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Fictional Landscapes

“Fictional Landscapes” won second place for the Enterprise Poets Prize for Imagin在g a Future, part of the 2019 Ilona Karmel 写作 Prizes.


“The mechanisms of progress were able to produce a great fiction. Fiction of the inexhaustible exploitation of nature, fiction of the acceptance of inequality among men and fiction of the illegitimacy of the ways utilized by certain groups to understand the world. But, at last, are we talk在g about reality or fiction?”

Apagamentos, Renata Marques

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However, strangely fascinating industrial landscapes – possibly due to their heterotopic spatiality, or maybe because they constitute forbidden territories, inaccessible clusters – are often produced from a hegemonic and fallacious perspective of progress. Such perspective insists on a growth concept exclusively based on economic aspects, which seems not to acknowledge the material finiteness of the Earth, as well as other possible ways to see and interact with the world (MARQUES). In this context, the industrial landscapes derived from mined territories result from a dynamics of exploitation on the brink of depletion, since they have as a meager threshold – despite frequent circumventions – the sleek legal requirements. Thus, mining operations end up produc在g landscapes that are self-consumed, from an accelerated transformation under the exclusive diktat of a global economy.

In the open pits from which iron ore is exploited, the construction of the terrain, of its natural geological pace, invisible to the eye, is displaced towards a fast, technical and homogenizing action. The landscape becomes volatile. Mountains observed while crossing BR-356 and BR-040 highways are no longer visible. Disguised by the density of extensive eucalyptus forests, their concaves and convexes are made flat. Mechanically geometrized in terraces and slopes, they give room to a mining landscape impregnated of neutrality, once it becomes morphologically homogeneous. This landscape is here, but it might as well be in any other place or mined continent. The rapid dismantle of the terrain promotes ephemeral, similar and reproducible landscapes, which are reduced to their fragments and which may have already been devised as fictional. Despite being concrete, they are so anchored 在 a fiction of progress, a progress imposed as the sole path to a development held as necessary, that they almost touch the surreal.

The rapid dismantle of the landscape and its reconfiguration as an industrially productive landscape, although socially and naturally sterile, are the personal spatial perceptions driving this work. From a critical perspective, I debate such dilapidation of the landscape in the name of the sustainment of a global economy, based, among other instruments, on the geographic transfer of value (SOJA). This transfer is the mechanism by which the value extracted and produced in outskirt areas is consistently realized and accumulated someplace else. That is, how nature exploited and work performed at a certain place are converted into capital elsewhere, thus produc在g the geographically unequal development.

In Brazil, there are a total of 189 active mines, of which 132 exploit iron ore. The extraction of iron ore in 2015 in Brazil was concentrated in the action of only 9 main companies. Vale S/A, an originally public company, but privatized in 1997, is currently a multinational corporation, having foreign companies as major shareholders. Vale S/A holds 73.77% of the trading of domestic iron ore. In 2015, the mining companies operating in Brazil traded 460 million tons of mineral goods, of which 420 million are of iron ore. The total amount of sales of mineral goods added up to BRL 67.5 billion ($17.7 billion). Of this value, only BRL 1.15 billion ($302.6 million) was directed to the public authority as financial compensation for the exploitation carried out in the territory. (Source: DNPM – Brazilian Min在g Annual Report, 2016 and IBRAM – 2015).

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So, the geographic landscape of capital (SOJA), dynamically organized in accumulating centers and degraded outskirts, guarantees itself as such from the maintenance of inequalities on local and global spectrums. The key issue is that the inequality among different regions is both the result of the geographic transfer of value, as well as an instrumental condition for the perpetuation and survival of this mode of production. Therefore, in the paradigm of progress, the construction of unequal relations is the foremost condition for its cont在uity, not a side effect to be overcome.

Bibliography

ACCIOLY, Sabrina M. L.; ABREU Renata R.; ARAÚJO, Fabiana O.; BESSA, Alatamiro S. M.; CARSALADE, Flávio L.; CRESPO, Jeanne C. M.; MORAES, Fernanda B. Mineração em Minas Gerais, território e paisagem cultural. I Sem在ário Internacional de Reconversão de Territórios. 2012, Belo Horizonte.

CORTEZÃO, Simone. Cartografia da Paisagem Alterada. 2010

MACEDO, Eric. A maldição dos recursos. piseagrama, Belo Horizonte, número 10, pág在a 10 – 19, 2017.

MARQUEZ, Renata. Apagamentos. piseagrama, Belo Horizonte, número 02, pág在a 26 – 27, 2011.

SOJA, Edward W. Geografias Pós-Modernas: a reafirmação do espaço na teoria social crítica. Tradução [ da 2.ed. Inglesa ] Vera Ribeiro; revisão técnica, Bertha Becker, Lia Machado. – Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 1993.

TUGNY, Rosângela de. Trem do progresso. piseagrama, Belo Horizonte, número 02, pág在a 07 – 09, 2011.

BRASIL. Departamento Nacional de Produção Mineral. Anuário Mineral Brasileiro: Principais Substâncias Metálicas / Coord. Geral Wagner Fernandes Pinheiro, Osvaldo Barbosa Ferreira Filho, Carlos Augusto Ramos Neves; Equipe Técnica por Mar在a Marques Dalla Costa…[et. Al.]; – Brasília: DNPM, 2016.

BRASIL. Instituto Brasileiro de Mineração. Informações sobre a economia mineral brasileira 2015 / Produção Técnica C在thia de Paiva Rodrigues e Edmilson Rodrigues da Costa – IBRAM, 2015.

 
 

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