Under the Doldrums
Having lived in the biggest open-pit copper mine in the world (Chuquicamata, Atacama Desert), whenever there is a chance to think of an urban intervention, I unavoidably think of copper. A mineral that has defined my artistic path, copper comes again and again to me as the pivotal mineral resource to think of urban development, architecture, global trade, speculation, and, ultimately, privilege. The privilege to live in this neighborhood comes with the responsibility to acknowledge the external costs of it, in this case, in terms of never-ending extractive mindsets. Copper is an energy messenger, conductor, connector. It is a mineral that symbolizes a rational notion of progress and connectivity, which makes the local dependent on the global; the inside on the outside; the digital on the analogue, and vice versa.
The raw copper sheet that will hang from Joanna’s balcony, was most probably extracted from Chile (or at least from the Global South), and was meant to conduct energy inside an electromechanical circuit board in the DDR times, until the German re-unification provoked a twist in its purpose, ending as a wonder-material in an artist studio, outside gentrification’s tentacles.
A copper sheet hanging from a balcony, occasionally and unexpectedly blown by the spring breeze is for me a gesture of the interconnectedness we are all in, becoming our daily routines under these doldrums times.
Michelle-Marie Letelier (Chile 1977) lives and works in Berlin. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from the Universidad Católica de Chile in 2000 and has participated in postgraduate programs such as Goldrausch Künstlerinnenprojekt art IT (Berlin) and as guest student in the Experimental Media Design studies at the Universität der Künste (Berlin).