«The forests destroyed by Bulldozers: An Affective Geometry of the Argentine Soy Boom»
Eilert Sundt-lecture 2016: Gastón Gordillo, University of British Colombia.
In the Gran Chaco plains of northern Argentina, agribusinesses operate soy fields whose creation demanded, and continue demanding, the destruction of the forests that once covered this region.
This paper examines this destruction and its traces in the terrain through an affective geometry: that is, an analysis of how bulldozers form physical vectors that negatively affect local people and the forested terrain in which they live, made up the entanglement of trees with multiple other life forms.
I analyze how affects shape this process in a twofold sense: in the disregard of the business and political elites who see those forests as blank, available space and in the emotional and bodily response of residents unsettled by this destruction and by the traces its leaves in space.
Locals and activists have opposed deforestation through geometries of interruption that seek, first, to intercept with their bodies the advance of the machines and, second, to affect those who disregard the high environmental and social cost of the soy boom in northern Argentina.
Read more about Gordillo and his work on his blog.
Gordillo will also participate at the workshop "Traces of the future - living in the aftertime" at Litteraturhuset in Oslo, Friday October 21st.