Mo27Sep(Sep 27)13:30Di28(Sep 28)21:00LatexCritical Inflections on (Neo-)Extractivism in Latin AmericaVeranstaltungsartSymposium

Latex Symposium ICI Berlin


‘The things that white people work so hard to extract from the depths of the earth, minerals and oil, are not foods’, as shaman and Yanomami spokesperson Davi Kopenawa pointedly observes in The Falling Sky. Extraction has been historically associated with the removal of underground materials, whereas extractivism is a broader notion connoting a primarily white, colonial mode of accumulation of the West. For most Latin American countries, their natural wealth became their curse, permeating both the material and the symbolic realms. The extractive regime binds the environment and rules the lives of those subjugated to it by transforming them into mere commodities.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, rubber exemplified particularly well the devastating consequences of extractivism. Latex fulfilled the industrial dream of an ‘extraordinary substance’, the first material whose plasticity made it suitable to become everything else: waterproof garments, automobiles, communication infrastructure, mechanized warfare. Throughout its extraction boom, the Amazon Rainforest supplied around 60% of the world’s rubber demand. This hunger for rubber reflected the expanding omnipotence of global capitalism with ruinous consequences for the environment as well as for the local populations. During the overlooked genocide along the Putomayo River, according to John Tully, for every ton of rubber extracted and dispatched to the Global North, seven indigenous lives were lost.

The removal of large quantities of natural resources from the Global South has been foundational for meeting the increasing demand for goods of the centers of nascent capitalism. This logic never ceased and what one calls today neo-extractivism reproduces the colonial and subordinated condition of the so-called peripheral countries. Yet, this extractive rationality does not only secure the production of goods but extends itself to the production of knowledge and to the import of epistemic frameworks that explain local realities. Cognitive extractivism, claims Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, privileges the ‘center’ as the producer of theoretical and interpretative models whereas the ‘periphery’ remains relegated to the status of the illustrative case. Exported raw material are subsequently converted into concepts and shipped back to their places of provenance with added value.

The symposium seeks to examine and question the different modes of extractivism that have marred and marked the histories of Latin America and the Caribbean. The distinctive qualities of rubber (plasticity, isolation, expansivity, erasure) are the starting point for a contemporary inquiry of (neo)extractivism. Its political, environmental, cultural and social facets are to be analyzed, in particular as they are critically undertaken by literature and the visual arts. Artists and scholars will explore this mode of accumulation in its intimate relationship to the production and circulation of theory and cultural capital; to epistemicide and necropolitics; and to a restrictive worldview of ‘nature’ as an inert reservoir for economic exploitation.


Monday, 27 September 2021, 13:30

13:30 Introduction
Delfina Cabrera, Ariadne Y. Collins, Marlon Miguel

14:00 – 14:40 Keynote
Alberto Acosta
Followed by a Q&A

15:00 Break

15:15 – 17:00 Panel I
Extractivism and Social Inequalities

Ariadne Collins (ICI Berlin / University of St Andrews)
Xenia Chiaramonte (ICI Berlin)
Barbara Göbel (Instituto Ibero-Americano)

17:00 Coffee Break

17:30 – 19:00 Panel II
Counter extractive Narratives

Luiza Novaes (PUC-Rio)/Lucas Maia (UDK)
Gabriel Giorgi (NYU)
Mariana Simoni (FU Berlin)
Moderation: Delfina Cabrera

19:00 Break

19:30 Artist Talk
‘Ciné-Cipó: Cine-Liana at Amazon Tall Tower Observatory’
Barbara Marcel (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar)
In Conversation with Delfina Cabrera, Ariadne Y. Collins, Marlon Miguel

Tuesday, 28 September 2021, 14:00

14:00 – 15:45 Panel III
Latex and Materialities

Hector Hoyos (Stanford University)
Delfina Cabrera (ICI Berlin)
Graciela Goldchluk (UNLP)

15:45 Coffee Break

16.30 – 18.15 Panel IV
Politics of Extraction

Marlon Miguel (ICI Berlin/CFCUL)
Jens Andermann (NYU)
Ximena Briceno (Stanford University)

18:15 Break

19:30 Artist Talk
Extracted Voices

Michelle Mattiuzzi (artist)
Susana de Sousa Dias (ULisboa)
In Conversation with Delfina Cabrera, Ariadne Y. Collins, Marlon Miguel

How to Attend

The number of participants at the ICI Berlin is limited. Registration opens on 15 September 2021.

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27 (Montag) 13:30 - 28 (Dienstag) 21:00(GMT+02:00)


ICI Berlin

Christinenstr. 18-19

ICI BerlinChristinenstr. 18-19