March 5, 2024 | Category: Presentation

Carbon Omissions: Toward a Toxic Stratigraphy of Tocopilla, Northern Chile

Cristobal Bonelli

Organised by UCL Anthropocene in London UK, this hybrid event presented “Carbon Omissions: Toward a Toxic Stratigraphy of Tocopilla, Northern Chile”. The group of international co-authors and presenters included team member Cristobal Bonelli, Damir Galaz-Mandakovic, Valentina Figueroa, team member Marina Weinberg and Gabrielle Hecht.

UCL Anthropocene works as a virtual school by assembling projects, people, courses, and events from across the social sciences, arts, humanities, life, environmental, and health sciences to articulate and address the problems that the Anthropocene poses for our collective future.

The presentation complicated the hegemonic and globalizing project of corporate carbon neutrality by visualizing Tocopilla’s ashtray (sp, el cenicero de Tocopilla), a sedimented volume of fly ash resulting from the combustion of coal and petroleum coke during the last four decades. Through a transdisciplinary exercise mobilizing anthropological, historical and archaeological methods, the presentation aimed to visualize the Tocopilla ashtray through a toxic stratigraphy which worked as a) an index of carbon omissions, namely, those destructive material transformations strongly omitted by the net zero emissions project of corporate carbon neutrality, as well as b) the product of residual governance, a deadly form of rule in which the management of waste and discards relies on tactics such as simplification, ignorance, and delay, treating people as waste and places as wasteland.