• In the Forest Ruins
    Paulo Tavares
    Leo Hollis
    Verso Books, 2018
    Paulo Tavares

The images of the Transamazônica Highway carved out in the middle of the jungle became one of the most powerful symbolic avatars of the nationalist ideology of the military regime. Revista Manchete, 1973.

In the Forest Ruins tells the history of the modern colonization of Amazonia from the early-twentieth century until the neoliberal present, tracing the relations between spatial designs, political violence, and the environmental destruction that characterized this process. The book focuses on the strategies of occupation and resource-extraction implemented by the military dictatorships of the late-twentieth century, and asks how the ecological transformations engineered by these designs constituted means of perpetrating rights violations against the communities who inhabit these lands. Combining historical archives, field research, and the innovative tools of forensic architecture, the book explores these histories to show how nature and modes of representing and knowing nature—in a multiplicity of elements and forms—constitute sites of power, struggle, and resistance. Through a material and visual archaeology of the forest, the book also draws a critical history of global climate change, situating the foundations of the ecological crisis in relation to the violent histories of colonialism and its modern environmental designs.

Paulo Tavares is an architect who lives in Brasília. He has collaborated with many international publications and has lectured widely in different institutional contexts and geographic locations, including the CCA in Montreal; the ETH–Zurich; the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin; the Vera List Center for Art and Politics in New York; and the Mercosul in São Paulo. His work has been shown in the Oslo Architecture Triennial, the Istanbul Design Biennale, and the São Paulo Biennale, among other international exhibitions. In 2015, Tavares was a visiting scholar at both Princeton University and Cornell University, and prior to that he taught design and visual cultures at the School of Architecture, Design, and Arts at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador in Quito. Between 2008 and 2012, Tavares taught in the MA Program at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.