Father as scale

Ben Maier

Keywords: Extractivism, Visual economist, Natural resource

Internship: Gábor Arion Kudász
benmaier.photography, hi@benmaier.photography, instagram.com/_ben_ma

Visual economist researching extractivism in southern Germany. Concept can be applied worldwide.

As a kid I built castles with soil. Equipped with bright yellow rainboots on still too tiny feet I crossed sand piles, exploring the elements underneath me. Every now and then I would tear an earthworm apart. Roaming on the land was my favourite adventure.

In my home, southwest Germany, the most valuable resource lies underground. The natural deposits, mostly stones and sand, show suitable qualities for concrete production. This attracts mining companies that see value in the soil that I was turning into castles: Concrete is a high economic demand. Extractivism – the extraction of these resources - is divisive because it lies at the crossroads of economic development and environmental protection. The needs of our society dictate the destruction of our landscapes: Extractivism becomes necessity.

The altered landscapes shape missing pieces of the earth. It feels like the soul of my homeland becomes a surface – on display in quarries that grow larger due to everlasting demand. As I stand in the silent quarry at night, looking at the stars, I am conflicted: I see the soil wounded, but I understand the economic necessity.

Visual research into an economy that’s inevitable, that transforms my homeland and of which I have doubts.