The relationship between international relations, trade, economic policy and military operations come into focus through the lens of Critical Raw Materials.

In 2008, the 🇪🇺 European Commission 🇪🇺 adopted the Critical Raw Materials Initiative, which defined a strategy for accessing resources viewed as imperative to the EU’s subsistence. The criticality of resources is measured according to supply risk and economic importance. Policies are drawn up to ensure the continued availability of materials deemed critical. Such policies have led to agreements guiding the biological and geological exhaustion of the Global South. The current list, revised in 2020, includes 30 materials, including Silica, Cobalt Natural Rubber, Phosphate rock, and the newly added Lithium and Titanium.

How can we understand extraction beyond the removal and displacement of minerals – to encompass policies, international treaties and regulations that impose controversial forms of stewardship of natural resources on communities?

EURO—VISION focuses on the inscriptive operations of initiatives such as the establishment of Free Trade Zones (📦 FTZs 📦), fisheries partnerships agreements (📄 FPAs📄), and de-risking investment tools like public-private partnerships (🔖 PPPs 🔖). In short, EURO⁠—VISION is an art-led enquiry into the extractive gaze of European institutions and policies, which focuses on the modalities in which Critical Raw Materials (CRM) shape and give corporeality to geopolitics

FRAUD proposes to consider issues through the lens of these materials, as well as to incorporate a wider set of ‘materials’, such as labour and fish(eries). We argue that the latter are managed as resources to be extracted, and that understanding them as critical raw materials as defined by governmental bodies helps to understand how their plunder is mobilised and institutionalised. More importantly, this framework enables us to look beyond these practices to the possibility of thinking and doing otherwise. A number of distinguished academics, practitioners, economists, lawyers, activists and journalists have participated in the making of EURO⁠—VISION. Their voices, insights and recommendations are included in various forms. Some of these are interviews, available to download in PDF format (available soon), others constitute the body of a series of podcasts (available starting 31/03). The body of work also includes a number artworks and exhibitions that can be viewed through the meta navigation of this site.

How does this website work?

This site presents a research-led approach to navigation. Intended as a growing resource and archive, the various strands of research that have informed each project build paths of exploration. The structure is based on the dendrogram, the most common diagram used to represent machine learning processes, as well as web platform structure. It is also used by the European Union to visualise resource and material scarcity and flow, such as in the Raw Materials Information System, particularly the Raw Materials Scoreboard.
The dendrogram is based on the visual figure of a decision tree, a structure that suggests hierarchical readability. It exemplifies interpretability. As Adrian MacKenzie notes: "the decision tree, despite its evident visual order, does not say anything about how that order was obtained" (2015, 437). It presents the data in a geometrical space that can be cut into segments. Here however, what can be derived from following the decision tree's path, is a set of references and resources that open up a discussion, rather than providing an answer. The path is non-linear, and presents an interpretation, rather than an absolute.

EURion

The pointer is based on the EURion pattern, which is normally used to prevent counterfeiting. Most copiers are equipped with detection software to block the reproduction of a document which contains it. EURion appears on banknotes such as the EURO, the Moroccan Dirham and the British Pound, and its development and functioning are shrouded in secrecy. The pattern and detection algorithm was allegedly patented by Omron Corporation in 1995. The constellation also resembles the Berlaymont’s building plan in Brussels which houses the headquarters of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union. The term, coined by security researcher Markus Kuhn, is a portmanteau of EUR and the Orion constellation.

Acknowledgements



EURO—VISION is commissioned by:

Arts Catalyst, a nonprofit contemporary arts organisation that commissions and produces transdisciplinary art and research. EURO—VISION is part of their Extractable Matters programme.

RADAR, Loughborough University's commissioning and research programme, as part of their 'Risk Related' programme of commissions.



Partnerships was produced as part of the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial — Empathy Revisited: Designs for more than one, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, and curated by: Mariana Pestana, Sumitra Upham and Billie Muraben.



EURO—VISION is supported by:

Arts Council England

Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) through the Programme
for the Internationalisation of Spanish Culture
(PICE), in the framework of the Mobility grants.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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Episode 4 Terraqueous Territoriality — a conversation with Liam Campling

This episode focuses on modes of maritime extraction that continue legacies of colonial rule. In discussion with Liam Campling we explore some of the legal and economic infrastructures that support and perpetuate fishery extraction, such as Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), and Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), based on his recent book, co-authored with Alejandro Colás, Capitalism and the Sea: the Maritime Factor in the Making of the Modern World. As the EU has the third largest fishing fleet in the world, the majority of which belongs to companies registered in Spain, fisheries become a paramount resource to consider. Like most states, the EU approaches marine natural resources using mechanistic lenses such as input/output paradigms. This is exemplified in the usage of the word ‘stock’ to designate populations of fish. Understanding oceanic spaces as resources that can be measured like an inventory exists within a form of marine management which has facilitated the industrial, long-haul fishing responsible for much of today’s overfishing. This episode focuses on the specific tools and agreements that enable overfishing, bringing its logic to the Global South in a gold-rush for resources.

Download the transcript here
Listen this episode on Soundcloud
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Episode 3 Colonial currencies and other investment stratagems – a conversation with Ndongo Samba Sylla

After developing an understanding of the Berlin Conference’s implications, of the concept of Eurafrica, and of how the European Integration project was truly founded in the previous episodes, we wanted to understand more about how these structures have continued, and how they have been transformed and institutionalised in contemporary international relations. One fundamental example of this is the Franc of the Financial Community of Africa (CFA). We invited Dr Ndongo Samba Sylla, a development economist at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Dakar (Senegal), who recently co-authored Africa’s Last Colonial Currency: The CFA Franc Story with Fanny Pigeaud (published by Pluto Press), onto the podcast to discuss these issues with us.

Download the transcript here
Listen this episode on Soundcloud
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Episode 2 Eurafrica – a conversation with with Stefan Jonsson and Peo Hansen

In this episode we consider how the very foundation of the EU was predicated upon an extractivist model. In their book Eurafrica, the Untold History of European Integration and Colonialism, Prof Peo Hansen and Prof Stefan Jonsson, debunk the theory of what they refer to as the Immaculate Conception of the European Union formation, one where a group of benevolent Western European leaders chose to set aside nationalist rivalries to unite for peace, democracy and freedom, to one where the cooperation of European states to no little extent was predicated upon the exploitation of African resources, which could be better accomplished through a coordinated effort.

This institutionalised the colonies' role as purveyors of raw materials. Hansen and Jonsson have summarised it as follows: “Eurafrica is able to make sense both of the political and discursive discontinuity and the infrastructural or economic continuity between the late colonial period and an emerging Neo-colonial globalisation.” This is supported by archival research, foremost into the inter-governmental negotiations that led up to the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, and numerous other sources. As one analyst put it in 1957: “It is in Africa that Europe will be made”.

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Episode 1 The Curse of Berlin – a conversation with Adekeye Adebajo

Through sorcery and extraction, the EURO–VISION series begins with Prof Adekeye Adebajo, Director of the Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation at the University of Johannesburg. The conversation focuses on the history of extraction between the European and the African continent, which has laid the groundwork for the Critical Raw Materials Initiative to take shape. A key event in this genealogy is the Berlin Conference (1884-85), led by the Chancellor of Germany, Otto von Bismarck, during which the heads of fourteen states, none of which were from Africa, assembled to discuss the partition of the African continent. This meeting which occurred a century and a half ago continues to shape Africa's borders today, as well as its governance, its economy, its international relations, and the extraction of its materials. The latter of which is often either towards Europe, or to benefit European-owned companies. Based on Adebajo’s monograph, 'The Curse of Berlin: Africa after the Cold War', we delve into the extent of von Bismarck's legacy and the significance of this event in contemporary international affairs.

Download the transcript here
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About the EURO—VISION podcast series

From the 31st of March and throughout the month of April, a series of weekly podcasts will be featured here. The podcasts feature a series of conversations with activists, scholars, fisherpeople and artists, hosted by FRAUD, around the politics of extraction, migration and international agreements that are affecting communities and ecologies on a global scale and that perpetuate European colonial legacies.

Speakers include:
Prof. Adekeye Adebajo, Director of the Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Dr Epifania Akosua Amoo-Adare, artist, architect and independent scholar based in Accra, Ghana.
Dr Nishat Awan, Topological Atlas, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands.
Prof. Liam Campling, International Business and Development, School of Business and Management of Queen Mary, University of London, England.
Collectif des Communautés Subsahariennes au Maroc (Subsaharan Community Collective, Rabat, Morocco.
Ms Micheline Dion Somplehi (vice-president of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives in Ivory Coast (FENACOPECI), and head of the Women’s Programme of the African Confederation of Artisanal Fisheries Professional Organisations (CAOP), based in Abobodoumé, Ivory Coast.
Dr James Esson, Reader in Human Geography, Loughborough University, England.
Ms Béatrice Gorez, coordinator for the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Agreements, based in Brussels, Belgium.
Prof. Peo Hansen, Political Science, Division of Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO), Linköping University, Sweden.
Prof. Stefan Jonsson, Ethnic Studies, Division of Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO), Linköping University, Sweden.
Mr Nii Ayitey Sackey, traditional fisherperson from the Greater Accra area, Ghana.
Mr Solomon Sampa, traditional fisherperson from the Greater Accra area, Ghana.
Dr Ndongo Samba Sylla, development economist at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Dakar, Sénégal.

Original music by Frédéric Laurier
Sound editing by Kitty Turner

Listen on Soundcloud
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Fisheries

Sand

Labour

Phosphate

HREEs

LREEs

Germanium

Borate

Strontium

Natural Graphite

Bauxite

Indium

Lithium

Coking coal

Flourspar

Baryte

Gallium

Hafnium

Tantalum

Silicon

Phosphate rock

Natural rubber

Titanium

Vanadium

Antimony

Bismuth

Berylium

PGMs

Cobalt

Tungsten

Scandium

Phosphorous

Niobium

Magnesium

Supply risk

Economic importance

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