Struggles at the 'peripheries'

Situated knowledge production and feminist visions for post-extractive environments


  • Karin Reisinger Academy of Fine Arts Vienna


situated knowledges, feminisms in architectures, extraction, method, post-extractive imaginaries


In extractive territories, companies determine local areas, from the scale of shared environments and urban transformations to cultural events. With my observations from two mining communities, I foreground feminist actors who apply spatial practices of care, support, maintenance, and reproduction. They are highly relevant for the endurance of the communities. Two goals frame these observations: (1) drawing attention to feminist actors’ reparative and counter-extractive practices as forms of shared architectural interventions within already documented architectures of mining; and (2) providing situated knowledges together with a material positionality of extraction as a requirement for architectural production based on iron ore. 

The first town of my fieldwork is Malmberget (literally ‘ore mountain’) in Sápmi / the north of Sweden, which will ultimately disappear as a result of the expansion of mining. The second town is Eisenerz at the foot of the mountain Erzberg (also meaning ‘ore mountain’), in the Austrian Alps, which is likewise in a crisis of identification, over-ageing, and shrinking, because mining requires a diminishing human workforce. Since both communities are in search of new narratives for post-extractive futures, I want to show how architectural research can ‘observe’ differently, foregrounding alternative actors, their feminist ecologies, and their productive spaces. Learning from actors who embroider architectures soon to be lost, curate farewell events for architectures, or preserve the colours of facades in paintings, and also learning from my experience of participating in their processes, I argue that extractive areas are diverse and full of life, pleasure, and creativity. For future scenarios, I suggest activating these situated knowledges to contribute to feminist visions for post-extractive environments.


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