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Through the Blur of a Teardrop: Mario de Andrade’s Photographs and the Multilayered Temporality of Amazonian Modernity
February 24, 2020 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
This ISA Faculty Lecture will be presented by Carolina Sá Carvalho, an assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese. Her lecture titled Through the Blue of a Teardrop: Mario de Andrade’s Photographs and the Multilayered Temporality of Amazonian Modernity will focus on the Amazonian rubber boom and its global relationship.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, the Amazonian rubber boom triggered the production of varied narratives and images of the violent inclusion of Amazonian nature and people into global capitalist networks. This talk examines the tight link between social exploitation, environmental damage, and technology in the Amazon photographs and diaries of Brazilian avant-garde writer and ethnomusicologist, Mario de Andrade, who traveled to the region in 1927, after the decline of the rubber trade. The relationship between visual technologies and the expansionist impulse of nation-states and global circuits of exchange has usually been examined in terms of modernity’s desire to accelerate time and shrink distances. Instead, I address how technological culture has relied on a multiplicity of ways of registering time through a reading of these photographs that extends from the social and human history of modernization to the almost invisible marks of violence inscribed in nature and the photographic film. I argue that Andrade experiments with a mode of registering time through the combination of photography and text in order to convey the multilayered and uneven modernization of the Amazon brought about by the exploitation of labor and extractive industry.