Seeing Through Our Knotted Ties to Extractivism
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Toronto is a centre of power for the international mining industry, where decisions about the lives of individuals, the future of entire communities, and the destruction of the more than human world are made behind the cold glass and steel of skyscrapers. This report and website confront mining industry strategies used to make themselves present and absent throughout the city. The website is a visual counternarrative that combines text with photography, photographic collage, and mapping. I use these strategies and methods to get at what is hidden behind the mining corporations' public profile and visually represent what is so often obscured from view or abstracted from reality. In this report, I argue that Canada’s global extractive reach today is directly tied to the colonial logics at the root of justifications of mining, to the settler colonialism on which this country stands, and its imperial expansion globally. I demonstrate clear connections between the transnational operations of Canadian companies, the support they receive because of being positioned in Toronto and Canada more broadly, and their headquarters in the city. I argue that the industry produces acceptance and support for their activities and the violence these entail by individualizing the essential role of mining in our everyday lives, and that this represents a shaping of public memory. This project grapples with the uncomfortable truth that our world and lives are dependent on mining. While the mining industry uses this fact to garner support for their operations (no matter the costs), this project invites readers and website users to turn towards our collusion with extractivism so that we may see through our knotted entanglements in ways that allow us to imagine/debate / create worlds outside and away from extractivism.