Fordlandia

Melanie Smith  |   2012-2014   |   30 min   |   Full

"Fordlandia" is a critical contemporary vision of Henry Ford's attempt at implementing the concept of a modern Western suburb in the jungle, which Ford ultimately abandoned. The film creates layers of visual encounters that reflect our relationship to industrialization, global expansion and the local. For Melanie Smith, "Fordlandia" is a continuation of the "Xilitla" project, where the colonial gaze is dismantled by the intent to activate or enhance the relationship between nature, action and modernity, while contemplating the notions of ruin and entropy by remnants of architectural vestiges left by two Anglo-Saxon figures, Ford and Edward James, in remote and inaccessible Latin American jungles. With this video, she intends to take the colonial and masculine view that permeates the abandoned industrial wasteland, and open it to a contemporary vision of the site’s legacy. History In an attempt to defeat European domination of the rubber industry in the 1920s, Henry Ford imagined and created a new corporate world in South America: Fordlandia. In the middle of the Amazonian rainforest, the Ford Motor Company built modern factories based on a United States production model, entirely designed by Ford’s offices in Detroit. Fordlandia, a miniature copy of an American town, failed good for business when the rubber tree plantation became easy prey for pests and the break out of the World War II made the area a strategic point for both sides of the conflict. After 1945, Ford realized the superiority of artificial latex in the southeast Asia and took the machinery with him and sold the land to the Brazilian government, leaving Fordlandia slept, practically buried alive in the jungle.

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