FORDLANDIA, video by Melanie Smith (Brazil / Mexico)
30min – HD – color – quadraphonic (4.0)
Artist: Melanie Smith
Sound Recording: Raul Locatelli
Sound Editing & Mixing: Félix Blume
DOP: Julien Devaux
Editing: Alfonso Cornejo
Fordlandia relates a new industrial world that car manufacturer Henry Ford created in the Amazonian rainforest in the 1920s. The mission was to produce the largest amount of rubber in the world and technicians, machinery and prefabricated homes were shipped from the United States to create a copy of a U.S. town. Despite the vast investment, Ford’s dream turned into a disaster and very little latex was ever extracted in Fordlandia.
The film is a visual diary that provides a critical reflection on Ford’s ambitions, tracing a battle between American ingenuousness and nature. It also challenges the image of the Amazon jungle as a metaphor for terror and cruelty, referencing writers and film-makers such as Thomas Whiffen, Werner Herzog and Joseph Conrad, whose accounts portray an aggressive, racist, romantic and intensely male-identified landscape. By focussing on the flora and fauna, the natural indigenous life of the region, the film serves to underline the absurdity of Ford’s endeavour and situates the natural world in opposition to these colonial visions.
EXHIBTIONS: MK Gallery (UK), Nara Roesler (Br), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Nl), Contemporary Art Centre of Vilnius (Lithuania), Sicardi Gallery (Houston, Texas)