• In the Forest Ruins
    Paulo Tavares
    Leo Hollis
    Verso Books, 2018
    Paulo Tavares

The images of the Transamazônica Highway carved out in the middle of the jungle became one of the most powerful symbolic avatars of the nationalist ideology of the military regime. Revista Manchete, 1973.

In the Forest Ruins tells the history of the modern colonization of Amazonia from the early-twentieth century until the neoliberal present, tracing the relations between spatial designs, political violence, and the environmental destruction that characterized this process. The book focuses on the strategies of occupation and resource-extraction implemented by the military dictatorships of the late-twentieth century, and asks how the ecological transformations engineered by these designs constituted means of perpetrating rights violations against the communities who inhabit these lands. Combining historical archives, field research, and the innovative tools of forensic architecture, the book explores these histories to show how nature and modes of representing and knowing nature—in a multiplicity of elements and forms—constitute sites of power, struggle, and resistance. Through a material and visual archaeology of the forest, the book also draws a critical history of global climate change, situating the foundations of the ecological crisis in relation to the violent histories of colonialism and its modern environmental designs.

Paulo Tavares is an architect and researcher based in South America. His work has been featured in exhibitions and publications worldwide, including Harvard Design Magazine, the Oslo Architecture Trienniale, the Istanbul Design Biennial, and the São Paulo Biennial. He is the author of the books Forest Law (2014), Des-Habitat (2019), and Memória da Terra (2020). Tavares leads the spatial research agency autonoma in Brazil and was cocurator of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial.