Pablo Alvarez-MesaLa laguna del soldado, video still, 2024.
Photo: courtesy of the artist

Our Violent Hydrocommons

Gwynne Fulton
The world is not one. Like water itself, worlds are irreducibly plural. The understanding that there is a single reality in front of us— a “one-world world” — is neither universal nor natural; as Colombian anthropologist Arturo Escobar argues, it is the result of a particular history for which the Conquest of America serves as a pivotal index.1 1 - Arturo Escobar, “Thinking-feeling with the Earth: Territorial Struggles and the Ontological Dimension of the Epistemologies of the South,” Revista de Antropología Iberoamericana 11, no. 1 (January –April 2016): 11 –32, accessible online.

Water extractivism, in all its varied forms, continues this occupation of territories by a world that gives itself the right to assimilate local realities in the name of the “common good” of progress. Water privatization, pipelines, and large-scale infrastructures that bury and contaminate bodies of water are the ongoing legacy of the colonial doctrine of terra nullius, which actively produces space for the expansion of a one-world world, by making absent other worlds.

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This article also appears in the issue 109 - Water

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