Room 06: Moving Matters

Wall: Amazon


In the Amazon, gold mining is a major driving force, moving people, goods, and materials. Mobility involves a spectrum of different conditions and modalities. The materiality of gold itself passages within the space of the mine, both manually and through water and mud, using different machinery, like hoses and sluice boxes. Inside the mines, enormous quantities of soil and supplies are moved and removed when extracting gold. In underground mining (garimpo de filão) the gold vein is embedded with rocks. Garimpeiros build long underground tunnels to follow the vein (filão). Through a system of pulleys, people and materials go up and down. Outside, the Amazon reveals its magnitude. Rivers represent the most important way to access this environment. However, in the 1970s, during the military dictatorship in Brazil, the plan to integrate the Amazon into national society resulted in the construction of highways, such as the BR-163. Roads became the new rivers: trucks, cars, buses, and any means of terrestrial transportation are now possible. Wherever these are insufficient, small planes cover the distance, moving matters and people to a garimpo.

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Moving Matters