Extractable Matters on Film #4 | Regina de Miguel: CATÁBASIS

Film still courtesy the artist

Regina de Miguel: CATÁBASIS, 2020

CATÁBASIS, HD and 3D animation, 1 hour 14 min, 2020
Katabasis or catabasis (Ancient Greek: κατάβασις, from κατὰ "down" and βαίνω "go") is a descent of some type, such as moving downhill, the sinking of the winds or sun, a military retreat, a trip to the underworld, or a trip from the interior of a country down to the coast.
Since the emergence of industrial capitalism in the 19th Century, reinforced by the digital capitalism of the 21st Century, humans’ relationship with the Earth has revolved around societal structures of work and exploitation.
Who owns the natural resources and who receives their profits? How does labour and exploitation shape our relationship with the Earth and with each other? How does the acceleration of digital processes counteract the slowness of geological processes? 
Artist Regina de Miguel unpacks some of these questions in the film, CATÁBASIS, which is shot in Chocó in Colombia and Rio Tinto in Spain. These are both areas in which the state, the local population and international corporations are all fighting for underground gold, an essential element for the computational industry.
In the film, the artist exposes the complex entanglements between histories of extractive coloniality and contemporary mining activities, highlighting existing strategies for resistance and social activism, incorporating the voices of activists and militants such as Yuli Correa.
Regina de Miguel’s interdisciplinary artistic practice is characterised by the research and development of processes oriented towards the production of knowledge and hybrid objects. Her work critically questions the supposed objectivity of the conditions in which scientific knowledge is produced and the devices utilised within scientific practices. From a methodological  point of view, she establishes complex networks of connections that are nourished by philosophies of science, ecofeminism, speculative fiction and terror.
Exhibitions include: Retrospective, Cinematheque of Bogota, Rising Anxiety, Maisterravalbuena, Madrid, 2019; I’m part of this fractured frontier, C3A Córdoba, 2018; Aura Nera, Santa Mónica, Barcelona, 2016; Ansible, Maisterravalbuena Gallery, Madrid, 2015; All knowledge is enveloped in darkness, Kunsthalle Sao Paulo, 2014;  Nouvelle Science Vague Fiction, General Public, Berlin 2011, El aire aún no respirado, MUSAC, León 2008. Visit her website.