Reframing The Postindustrial: Landscapes of Extraction between Reclamation and Reinvention | Joern Langhorst and Kate Bolton
Sites created for and abandoned by hardrock mining operations in the Rocky Mountain West are among the most layered, complex, and noteworthy landscapes in America, expressive of the entangled relationships between the human processes of extraction and reclamation and nonhuman processes of geological and ecological change. Few types of landscape have involved such localized drastic change of the surface of the earth and such significant impacts on associated nonhuman and human systems. The spatial and temporal scales of mining and postmining operations and their impacts extend far beyond the immediate local context, recent history, and immediate future. The complexity of such landscapes transcends the physical and lies in the various values that drove the processes of extraction, as well as those at play in addressing postextraction conditions. They pose fundamental challenges to many disciplines and have prompted a rethinking of traditional concepts and practices of preservation and reclamation. This paper develops a framework that meaningfully responds to the
complexities of postmining landscapes (PMLs). It is connected to a critical investigation of functional performative and aesthetic-experiential considerations and an engagement of underlying meanings and values. It casts PMLs as dynamic and ever-changing sites to model and render legible new forms of human-environment relationships.
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