The sweeping mineral exploitation of the Brazilian hinterland of the 18th century was a socioeconomic and cultural process that had considerable implications for the country's formation. On the one hand, the frantic economic activity of the time made it possible for a sophisticated urban culture to flourish in the mining region (the present state of Minas Gerais). On the other hand, this activity set in motion a permanent mechanism of environmental destruction and social exclusion through slavery, the impacts of which continue to affect local ecosystems today – and also structurally affect the whole of Brazilian society.
This broad process is metaphorically conveyed in the Águas Claras Mine Future Use Project conducted by the author at a former mining site in the vicinity of Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais, which is located near one of the largest iron ore production areas in the world.
Through the concept of cultural landscape, the lecture aims to investigate the impacts of the mining industry in Minas Gerais, both on its physical and immaterial dimensions, and proposes possible ways to address related questions in the context of present ecological practices.
Maurício Meirelles (Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 1967) is an architect, fiction writer, and editor. The author has published the books A Cidadela (Miguilim Publishers: Belo Horizonte, 2019) and Birigüi (Miguilim Publishers: Belo Horizonte, 2016), the latter shortlisted for the 59th Jabuti Award (Brazil, 2017), Brazil’s most important literary prize. Meirelles has published short stories and essays in Brazilian literary magazines and abroad. He is a founding editor of the Olympio Literary and Arts Magazine published in Brazil.
The Ecologies of Care 2022 lecture series is organized by Elke Krasny at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in collaboration with Urška Jurman at the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory in Ljubljana, Inês Moreira at Lab2PT – EAAD at the University of Minho, and Fluid Circulations, curated by Nada Rosa Schroer and Nina Paszkowski in Cologne.