Last Name: Hernández Álvarez
Nominated by: Pablo Ortiz Monasterio
Dispossession Dispossession, meaning the striping of acquired commodities, either by usurpation or by legal means, is an event that reconfigures social and political relationships in any given territory. This project is an interpretation of Nature´s effects over locations that had been involved in a dispossession event that lead them into a state of abandonment and rubble. The photographic subjects go from architectural living constructions that lost their functional sense before they were finished, to objects that have been reabsorbed and shaped by Nature in a peculiar way. The landscapes generated by this transformation process are now monuments that commemorate the fleeting nature of a waste producing system. These images pretend to awake the viewer into reflecting about dispossession: a trance from a state of territorial possession to a no man´s land.
In 2014, one of the most powerful Mexican mining companies spilled 40 million liters of copper sulfate into the Sonora river, in what is known as one of the worst environmental disasters that ever happened in México. All along the river bend there are some small towns whose entirely economic activity depends on the river. They are left now, more than a year after the toxic spill, with only uncertainty, impunity and the economic and environmental affectations without yet been resolved. I´m interested in documenting through photography and video the radical changes that the landscape have suffered in the northeastern Sonora Sierra due to industrial mining. Also, I want to focus on the particular architecture of the area and reflect on the social and economic problems created by dilapidated industrial zones and their impact on the environment.
My plan is to travel along the Sonora river, visiting the 9 small towns on the river bend that conform what is known as “The River´s Route”, which was also a very important area in the state history and its colonization centuries ago. Then, I will edit a book from the material gathered on this journey, not only to register the environmental catastrophe, but also to try to save the fragments of memory and history that still remain, even despite the current degradation. That is why I will also use images from historical archives, since this not only affects directly the environment and its inhabitants, but it represent also a terrible loss of the collective memory from this river towns and from all mexicans as well.