Accepted Paper:

Mining Ecologies (roundtable)  


Filippo Bertoni (Aarhus University)

Paper short abstract:

Exploring the entanglements and circulations between mining, earth, planetary and life sciences, and the histories of life on Earth and beyond highlights the contingencies of systems. How to tell stories that don't easily fit with this version of togetherness?

Paper long abstract:

Rio Tinto, in Spain, has been mined since time immemorial, and just last year saw a new start to its extractive activities. Recently, it also became an analog for Mars, as astrobiologists have been studying the complex chemoautotrophic ecosystems that animate its deep subsurface. Following the activities of the scientists, miners, engineers, financiers, microbes, plants, and rocks that make this landscape and its history, my current project explores the murky circulations of knowledges and practices and the exchanges and relations that weave the area together.

But how to tell these stories? What binds them together is also part of what I am interested in: the logic of extraction and of nature as a pool of limited resources is not the backdrop to all these histories, but instead got shaped in Rio Tinto and in the transformations of modern earth, planetary and life sciences over the course of the last centuries. In fact, it is through the emergence of the planetary and its onto-epistemic regime that the history of Earth has been forged. Feminist technosciences and materialsemiotics taught us to deal with these intricate stories, but how to diffract these narratives to still say something about the planet and life, about the content of our work? What kind of stylistic, disciplinary, narrative practices can I experiment with the stories of microbial entanglements, biogeochemical relationalities, and historical successions that I encounter in Rio Tinto? In this conversation I will reflect upon some of the hunches that accompany me in my fieldsite.

Panel T157
Disentangling ecologies: working around 'the system'