Jennifer Wenzel delivers keynote address, “From Improvement to Overburden”

December 5, 2018 – Topics of Interest

“In mining parlance, overburden is the technical term for the layers of dirt, rock, and water that must be excavated to get down to valuable minerals below.  Borrowing Mary Louise Pratt’s idea of the ‘improving eye,’ Wenzel contemplates what it means to see with an ‘extracting eye.’  She argues that overburden is an aesthetic judgment as well as an economic one: a way of seeing and a way of imagining what can’t be seen. To see the earth as overburden requires a kind of X-ray vision whose image renders negative everything but profit.”Wenzel delivered the keynote address, “From Improvement to Overburden,” at the conference “Resisting Extractivism in Border Zones: Art and Protest from the Arctic North to the Global South,” at UiT, the Arctic University of Norway, in Tromsø, Norway.

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