Broken Landscapes

Broken Landscapes is a digital media project that takes shapes through a collection of video GIFs. The project presents three landscapes of Iquitos, a city in the Peruvian Amazon, marked by the destruction of capitalist and colonial power. The project seeks to bring pieces of these local landscapes to the forefront as an act of recognition and refusal to their dismissal and familiarity.

The project is guided by what Nicholas Mirzoeff (2014) identifies as ‘Anthropocene visuality,’ which entails a loss of perception of the processes and consequences resulting from the conquest of nature by Man. Through the Anthropocene visuality, nature is seen as a space to conquer, and the outcomes of this control are celebrated as economic and capitalist success. The result of this visuality is the naturalization of the environment’s depletion.

The GIFs presented in Broken Landscapes point to the Anthropocene visuality cast over Iquitos, which has allowed for the city’s environmental decay to be a familiar everyday landscape. From the stacks of illegal logged trees to the oil-marked waters and the colonial treatment of women and Indigenous people, the city has lost the perception of the destruction of human and non-human life trapped in these landscapes.

By bringing pieces of these local landscapes to the forefront, the project performs an act of recognition and refusal to the landscapes’ dismissal and familiarity. This is a first step for a countervisuality, which as Mirzoeff (2014) suggests, is a form of resistance that does not move linearly but in moments of rupture. As individual and collective landscapes, the GIFs allow to defy the linearity of the Anthropocene visuality by interrupting it and creating intentional attention on a never-ending loop. Similarly, the glitches, the noise, the mirroring and the pixelation are openings to possibilities for discursive and material intervention that break with a reality we often think of as an inevitable consequence of progress.