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Sharing The Unknown Land I, (Clarion-Clipperton Zone) 29,7x42cm

2 Digital Prints, each A3 sized, 2020

In 1494, shortly after Christopher Columbus’ voyage to America, the naval forces of the time led the papacy to sign the Treaty of Tordesillas to prevent a possible war between Spain and Portugal about their predominance in the Atlantic Ocean. In this agreement, newly discovered and undiscovered lands were divided between Spain and Portugal along a line drawn from the North to the South pole. However, the treaty completely ignored the respective geography as well as the rights of the indigenous population and omitted other European forces with an interest in the same territory.

Nowadays, there is a comparable agreement equally disregarding the natural conditions of the region. This time, the role of the Pope is taken on by an organization affiliated with multiple parties and stakeholders, that is splitting up the newly explored territories of the ocean floor, namely the 7000 km long Clarion-Clipperton Zone under the Pacific Ocean, stretching from Hawaii to Los Angeles. Established in 1996, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) organizes, regulates and controls all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, mainly ignoring the destructive effects on nature in that region.

One of the most profitable raw materials present in this region are polymetallic or manganese nodules, rock concretions on the sea bottom that contain metals such as copper, cobalt, zinc, and nickel. Mining those nodules has severe effects on the benthic biota that has evolved over millions of years, causing irreversible damage and even extinction of only recently discovered species.

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Sharing The Unknown Land II, (Treaty of Tordesillas) 29,7x42cm