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The research project Submerged Heritage pivots around the Brokopondo water reservoir in Suriname, which was created to power the modern hunger for aluminium. Researchers Daphne Bakker, Miguel Peres dos Santos and Vincent van Velsen talk about the project on stage in Rotterdam, while Mimi Sheller delivers a remote lecture on her book Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity.

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19:30 – 21:00

Free event

Mimi Sheller

Currently Dean of the Global School at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, USA, from 2009-2021 Mimi Sheller was professor of sociology at Drexel University, Philadelphia, where she founded the New Mobilities Research and Policy Center. Her book, Aluminum Dreams: the Making of LIght Modernity, was published by MIT Press in 2014.

Submerged Heritage

This lecture takes place in the context of Submerged Heritage, a research project that pivots around the Brokopondo water reservoir in Suriname by Daphne Bakker, Miguel Peres dos Santos and Vincent van Velsen. Officially named by Dutch colonial rulers as the Professor Doctor Ingenieur W. J. van Blommestein Meer, the 1560-m2 water reservoir, which flooded one-third of the Brokopondo province, is the result of the construction of the Afobaka Dam (1961-1964). The construction of this hydraulic power plant, meant to power one single aluminium smelter of Alcoa Corporation, resulted in the flooding of 28 villages and the forced eviction of 5000 people, most of them from the Saramaccan Maroon communities who lived along the Suriname river.

The research aims to critically investigate, through a focus on the Afobaka dam, how Dutch colonialism is intertwined with global capitalism. Highlighting aspects such as environmental destruction, extraction of resources, displacement, socio-political and cultural annihilation, the Aluminium Dreams event aims to ignite a deeper dialogue about the impact of this colonial project.

Thursday Night at Het Nieuwe Instituut
Luca Napoli

Thursday Night Live! is a weekly programme of lectures, screenings and discussions on architecture, design and digital culture. Developments and critical insights are discussed by thinkers, designers and makers from the Netherlands and abroad.