Traces of Nitrate: Archives and Landscapes between Britain and Chile
Chilean nitrate, once highly prized mineral, was at the centre of the relationship between Britain and Chile from the middle of the nineteenth century to the early twentieth. This paper, an outcome of a collaboration between an art historian and photographers, intends to open a debate about the neglect and importance of the history of nitrate.
The ‘trace’ of the paper’s title refers to our process of delineating the circuit of nitrate wealth from mines in Atacama desert to City of London merchant houses and global corporations. ‘Trace’ also refers to nitrate’s physical remains: the trace as material form, fragile and fragmented. We examine traces in archives of a British academic, in surfaces of abandoned nitrate mines and in the structures of copper mining.
This event is a collaboration between the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies and the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre.
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