This photo essay seeks to answer Kim's prompts on Monday to build a series of images responding to several questions about our toxic place. These images visually explore the poisonous conditions and hegemonic representations of the place I am interested in; my vision/sense of the toxic place and the empirical conceptualization of toxicity that emerges from the place;the eventful moments that draw my attention and that of others to this place; the several conditions that might render this place susceptible to toxicity; and, a playful visual expression of my conceptualization of toxicity and place.
This image evokes what I have called ecology of trouble: Beyond improvised explosive devices, outside the limits of humanitarian demining, there are more forces, albeit latently and out-of-sight, killing campesinos and rural life in El Orejón: state abandonment, extractivism, privatization, land dispossession, coca growing, paramilitarism, and even mine clearance.
Landmines are part of ecology of trouble that rural communities have faced and continue to face. Landmines are intertwined in networks that transcend the enactment of crises and emergencies and these networks would remain even if the mines are removed or even because of their absence.
This is an image of the suspension bridge that hangs over the Cuncia River and that finally managed to link the village of Santa Helena (one of the sites of the Pilot Project) with the cabecera municipal [the capital of the municipality] and other larger neighboring towns such as La Julia. It was build by FARC-EP, the rebel group that offered a rather bittersweet ‘betterment’ of rural life in remote villages such as Santa Helena. As explained by locals, FARC not only build the bridge but also ‘made sure’ that the beneficiary communities adequately maintained it.