A river. A red river. A familiar aqueous color. It doesn’t smell bad. It doesn’t smell at all but whispers something. «Below the ruins a horizon». No one lives here. I dip my finger in it. Someone used to live here.
The red river crossing the Rio Tinto’s copper mines in Spain marks the starting point of this book. Its unusual colour comes from the bacterial activity resulting from the extraction of raw materials. Several temporal layers interact on the place. The mining site has been exploited since the period of the so-called Roman Empire. In 1888, the miners demonstrated with a strike against the English company that owned the mines, giving rise to a violent repression. In 2015, the CAB (Centro de Astrobiología) and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) hypothesized the presence of bacteria similar to the river Río Tinto on Mars and begin analysis. At the same time, human bones were found on the extraction site, which subsequently becomes an archaeological site.
The present edition creates an encounter between the traces of these multiple stories animated by the livings on site. Taken from John Milton’s Lost Paradise, the title of the book introduces ironically the human attitude towards the extraction of what is considered as natural ressources. The various traces –human bones, minerals, fossiles, bacteria, research engine of NASA– project the place of extraction into the exploration of space and in a perpetual quest for raw materials: they generate a narrative to be written. These elements are symbolically found in the flow of the river that gave this form to the layout.
The book is part of the larger project Copper Tales.
Copper Tales is on view at Photoforum Pasquart/Biel from 04.12.22-15.01.23