This sensuous multidisciplinary installation enacts forms of attention to the spatial, material and affective dimensions of extractive capitalism.
Stemming from a geopolitical exploration on the socio-environmental impacts of Canadian mining in Global South communities, this work focuses on the exploitation and resiliency of territories surrounding Bajo la Alumbrera in Catamarca, Argentina's oldest and most contested open-pit mining project.
The work is presented within an indulgent Neo-Victoriana high-end retail design, enveloped in a fragrance that was created in collaboration with Montreal-based perfumer and scent artist Dana El Masri.
Spoil manifests in a warm scent reminiscent of toasted almonds, lush peaches and apricot pits, with a heart of volcanic earth, Geosmin, bitter Puna herbs, gun powder, amaretto, and fresh garlic. Blending deep earth notes with smells resembling cyanide and arsenic, this ambient fragrance brings us towards the odour of soil near sites of gold extraction.
A series of twenty stoneware ceramic bottles carry the scent. Designed and numbered as exclusive luxury items, the containers are built using clay excavated from Bajo la Alumbrera grounds, embodying the haunting material refuse prevalent in sites of capitalist environmental degradation.
This unsettling olfactory installation physically and metaphorically entangles us with the most harmful byproducts of gold mining operations that continuously ravage the livability of more-than-human habitats, foregrounding the colonial processes still at work in deterritorializing land and transforming it into commodities.
This project was developed with the generous support of Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.