The first phase of our work on The sky was clearer in those days… is ongoing, with a two-month period of research and development in Chile – facilitated in collaboration with NAVE in Santiago, and supported by Wales Arts International, British Council and Centro Cultural de España in Chile. And after six extraordinary weeks of travelling and meeting, punctuated by blocks of work within NAVE in Santiago itself, we have arrived in Antofagasta.
Our main reason for venturing this far north, and on up into the Atacama, is mining. And after talking to local mining engineers and dock workers, to begin to understand some of the processes and impacts of copper mining here, we got access to Chuquicamata – the largest open-cast copper mine in the world.
This hole in the desert is currently around 1km deep, and over 2km across. And is undoubtably the dustiest place I have ever been. Photos give no real sense of the true scale of the place. The tires on the trucks in these shots are 4m across.
We are thinking about a couple of key things here. Firstly, that our new electric cars contain about three time as much copper as our old ones… And secondly, we are imagining what scale of natural event or impact would be needed to leave a crater this size?
[ images: Mike Brookes ]