A sweeping analysis of the lasting effects of neocolonial extractivism in Latin American aesthetic modernity from 1920 to the present
Looking to the extractive frontier as a focal point of Latin American art, literature, music, and film, Jens Andermann asks what emerges at the other end of landscape. Art in the Global South has long represented and interrogated “insurgent nature”—organic and inorganic matter, human and nonhuman life, thrown into turmoil.
In Entranced Earth: Art, Extractivism, and the End of Landscape, Andermann traces the impact of despaisamiento—world-destroying un-landscaping—throughout the Latin American modernist archive. At the same time, he explores innovative, resilient modes of allyship forged between diverse actors through their shared experiences of destruction. From the literary regionalism of the 1930s to contemporary bio art, from modernist garden architecture to representations of migration and displacement in sound art and film, Entranced Earth tracks the crisis of landscape and environmental exhaustion beyond despair toward speculative, experimental forms of survival.
For poets, artists, philosophers, and even environmental activists and historians, the landscape has long constituted a surface onto which to project visions of utopia beyond modernity and capitalism. Yet amid fracking, deep sea drilling, biopiracy, and all the other environmental ravages of late capitalism, we are brought to re-examine the terms of landscape formations. In what ways might artistic, scholarly, and scientific work on nature push our thinking past seeing the world as something we act on, and instead give agency to the landscape itself?
Natura takes up this challenge, exploring how recent activist practices and eco-artistic turns in Latin America can help us to reconfigure the categories of nature and the human. Moving from botanical explorations of early modernity, through the legacies of mid-twentieth-century landscape design, up to present struggles for the rights of nature and speculative post-human creations, the critical essays and visual contributions in this anthology use interdisciplinary encounters to reimagine the landscape and how we inhabit it.
The Optic of the State traces the production of nationalist imaginaries through the public visual representation of modern state formation in Brazil and Argentina. As Jens Andermann reveals, the foundational visions of national heritage, territory, and social and ethnic composition were conceived and implemented, but also disputed and contested, in a complex interplay between government, cultural, and scientific institutions and actors, as a means of propagating political agendas and power throughout the emerging states.
The purpose of these imaginaries was to vindicate the political upheavals of the recent past and secure the viability of the newly independent states through a sense of historic destiny and inevitable evolution. The careful presentation of artifacts and spectacles was also aimed abroad in order to win the favor of European imperial powers and thereby acquire a competitive place in the nascent global economy of the late nineteenth century. The Optic of the State offers a fascinating critique of the visual aspects of national mythology. It exposes how scientific and cultural institutions inscribed the state-form in time and space, thus presenting historical processes as natural “givens.”