All posts by “Ignacio_Admin

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High Rise (2012)

Until the 1970s, Iquique was a small port town characterised by low level urbanisation. After the 1980s, however, there was a dramatic acceleration in the urban sprawl beyond the city limits due to the impact of neo-liberal policies imposed by General Augusto Pinochet.

Due of these policies, new free trade agreements with the Latin American region and the opening of three large copper bodies by transnational corporations, the city became a magnet for investment, and as such, its social fabric was heavily impacted. The flow of capital brought new geographies of inequality to this inhospitable desert territory. While slums spread chaotically throughout the Atacama, serving as an unplanned solution to a huge displaced population, gated communities and high-rise buildings close to the Pacific secured ‘sea views’ and flourished as symbols of status.

These urban developments are tied to the ‘boom and bust’ of base metals, such as copper. In the 2000s, during the commodities boom, when prices rose by demand from emerging markets, particularly China, urban growth in Iquique accelerated rapidly. Most recently, with the slowdown of copper consumption from emerging markets, the city has experienced a dramatic fall in demand for housing, which has led to a stagnation of the local economy as a whole.

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Coquimbo & Swansea (2014)

The copper ore extracted in the remote geographies of Coquimbo, Chile, were shipped mainly to Wales and smelted in the Lower Swansea Valley between 1840 and 1880.

One of the most important industrial capitalists of the time was Charles Lambert (1793–1876), an Anglo-French man who travelled to Chile to work for a British company before developing his own mining enterprises with remarkable success, particularly in his refining and export enterprises, and, most importantly, Las Compañias. The copper ore was extracted from the extraction sites of Brillador, Panucillo, Huamalata and Totoralillo. Some were controlled by Lambert himself, with the copper brought by mule to Las Compañias where it was crushed and smelted at around seventy percent purity. However, Las Compañias did not last long, as the overexploitation of trees surrounding it produced a drop in the supply of fuel for the smelting processes.

The copper was taken by clippers around Cape Horn to Swansea and refined at around ninety-nine percent. Merchants, such as Henry Bath and Sons, the Pacific Steam Navigation Company and Balfour, Williamson and Co. were actively engaged in the transport and trade of copper during the nineteenth century. As a result of the copper industry, the Lower Swansea Valley was heavily contaminated for more than two centuries. It was described as one of the most polluted landscapes in the world until the 1960s and 1970s, when the Lower Swansea Valley Project was established as conservation effort to reclaim the toxic landscape from the pollution caused by the smelting industries.

Today, in Coquimbo, the symbols of marginality, such as discarded vehicles, prefabricated housing structures and improvised workshops, form part of the landscape. Additionally, the site is populated with symbols of British economic imperialism from the nineteenth century, such as bricks and corrugated iron cladding panels. In contrast to the dry and neglected landscape of Coquimbo, in Swansea, a result of the process of decontamination, housing developments, shopping centres, and stadiums have replaced the industrial facilities of the past.

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Metallic Threads (2010-2016)

There are two main types of copper deposit: sulphide (suchas as those mined for centuries in Cyprus) and porphyry (such as those are prevalent in Chile). Sulphide deposits are normally of relatively high grade (4 to 20 percent copper), but restricted in volume, whereas the relatively lower grade (0.4 to 1 percent copper) porphyry deposits are extremely voluminous. Both can be mined underground or in open pits and may yield other metals as by-products, such as gold, molybdenum and silver in the case of porphyry deposits.

Chile produces mainly copper concentrate, a powder produced by means of a flotation system (crushing, milling and concentrating the primary material), which typically contains 30 percent of copper. Chile produces 1,400,000 tons of waste daily as a result of copper production. Whilst these toxic residues remain in the landscape where copper is being extracted, the primary material is shipped to industrial centres where it is transformed into blisters, a more concentrated intermediate material.

Copper blisters are stored in warehouses around the world, where they can be exchanged up to forty times before their final delivery. These intangible transactions take place through centres for metal trading, such as the London Metal Exchange, through future contracts, agreements made to buy or sell a fixed amount of metal on a fixed future date at a price agreed today. The ‘blisters’ are melted down and mixed with other sources of copper, including recycled materials, forming ‘anodes’ that are transformed into cathodes and then into rods – the basic component for the production of cables for the energy and telecommunications industries. Smelted copper returns to Chile hidden within manufactured goods, perpetuating a circle of mobility that began with the extraction of the ore.

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Sulphuric Acid Route (2012)

Due to its unique geological configuration in the Andean subduction zone, Chile contains the world’s largest deposits of copper – 27.5 per cent of global reserves, mainly located in the Atacama Desert.

After the War of the Pacific (1879–1883), the basis for the contemporary Chilean economic system was established with the annexation from Peru and Bolivia of the vast territories of the Atacama, rich in copper and nitrate. Since then, the management of these resources has been mainly in hands of foreign interests. British capital played a key role in the development of the Chilean economy as a whole, and particularly in the management of its copper and nitrate resources in the nineteenth century. In the early twentieth century, U.S. investors, such as the Guggenheim brothers, took over the extraction of Chilean minerals. In the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries a mix of multinational corporations together with the state-owned mining corporation Codelco have been responsible for roughly one third of global copper production.

The resulting ecology of extraction in the Atacama has come to be at the centre of a series of political and

environmental disputes. Amongst the many conflicts that have arisen are protracted legal battles involving, on the one hand, the big multinational corporations that control 70 per cent of Chilean copper output, and on the other the indigenous agricultural communities struggling with growing desertification, water contamination and land expropriation.

 

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Miss Chuquicamata, The Slag (2012)

The corporate town of Chuquicamata, which has the same name as the mine, was designed in the New York offices of the Guggenheim bothers in the early decades of the twentieth century, as a model town. More than thirty architects were hired to work out its urban plan.7 The town was established next to the mine, following the pattern of mining settlements in the U.S. such as Butte, Bisbee and Tyrone.

The brothers financed the investment needed to plan and build the urban settlement of Chuquicamata, including public services and a complete welfare, social and housing association system for the workers and their families. Within the confined zone of the town everything was subsidised by the company, including a modern hospital, primary and secondary educational institutions for the children and housing schemes.

The production of copper at Chuquicamata increased over time and it grew to become the world’s biggest open-cast copper mine. The subsidised settlement also grew, to fulfil the housing demands of the workforce. Despite its expansion, however, the town remained isolated, due partly to the tough geographical conditions of the Atacama Desert, and partly to corporate policies that established a new legal regime running parallel to state sovereignty. A bounded territory within a territory was created – an autonomous enclave controlled by foreign interests and governed by an international corporate legal framework.

The town was evacuated in 2007. High levels of pollution, caused by the relentless expansion of the mine, threatened public health. At the time of closure, the 25,000 workers were relocated to the nearby city of Calama where new neighbourhoods were built, following the same corporate strategies of social segmentation and urban fragmentation.

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On the Verge: Epiphanies on the Commuter Belt (2010)

<em>On the Verge</em> is a collaborative project with writer John Douglas Millar. It imagines a psychogeography of the financial district of London to suggest the possible effects of the architecture of power upon the individual human psyche. As Susan Sontag remarked, in the contemporary city where we are over-stimulated to the point of hysteria, two options seem to remain: the schizoid fracturing of our mental processes or a cold impenetrable cynicism. <em>On the Verge</em> longs for transcendence, a moment of wholeness, or a moment of divine madness in a world in which, as Eliot wrote in <em>The Waste Land</em>, the best we can hope for is to shore ourselves “against these ruins.”

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Mapping the Zone: Reflections on Global Capital (2007-2010)

This project offers an insight into one of the world’s most largest financial districts: Canary Wharf. It operates as a cartography of the corporate enclave and consists of a series of large format photographs taken from rooftops, from reception areas and at street level. The images can be seen as typologies of the expression of an ideology of power as it is embedded in the modern institution.

However, they resist giving any indication of the banks and multinational conglomerates which operate there. The systematic approach to documentation draws attention to the power of photography to reveal the mechanisms of corporations designed to banish any obstacles to profit and, moreover, highlights the influence of corporate power in shaping the global city.

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Installation

  • Copper Geographies 2

  • Copper Geographies 1

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus. Vivamus elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim. Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum. Aenean imperdiet. Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiam rhoncus. Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem. Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus. Donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus. Nullam quis ante. Etiam sit amet orci eget eros faucibus tincidunt. Duis leo. Sed fringilla mauris sit amet nibh. Donec sodales sagittis magna. Sed consequat, leo eget bibendum sodales, augue velit cursus nunc,

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus. Vivamus elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim. Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum. Aenean imperdiet. Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiam rhoncus. Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem. Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus. Donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus. Nullam quis ante. Etiam sit amet orci eget eros faucibus tincidunt. Duis leo. Sed fringilla mauris sit amet nibh. Donec sodales sagittis magna. Sed consequat, leo eget bibendum sodales, augue velit cursus nunc,

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus. Vivamus elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim. Aliquam lorem ante, dapibus in, viverra quis, feugiat a, tellus. Phasellus viverra nulla ut metus varius laoreet. Quisque rutrum. Aenean imperdiet. Etiam ultricies nisi vel augue. Curabitur ullamcorper ultricies nisi. Nam eget dui. Etiam rhoncus. Maecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, luctus pulvinar, hendrerit id, lorem. Maecenas nec odio et ante tincidunt tempus. Donec vitae sapien ut libero venenatis faucibus. Nullam quis ante. Etiam sit amet orci eget eros faucibus tincidunt. Duis leo. Sed fringilla mauris sit amet nibh. Donec sodales sagittis magna. Sed consequat, leo eget bibendum sodales, augue velit cursus nunc,

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White City (2007)

This project looks at the differences between imagined possibilities and reality through the eyes of a migrant. Lunar House is perceived as the front line of Britain’s immigration service and is, for many people, the first step in a quest to be accepted into a carefully-regulated ‘inside State.’

The building which houses the UK Border Agency, a fearfully drab concrete slab of bureaucracy in East Croydon, is placed in relation to two almost symmetrical portraits of Leon, a blonde British child.