Andermann on the desert campaign

I am not reading Andermann very well and I am going to have to go back over this book, but reading poorly is better than putting off reading, and while this book is apparently not  quite germane to my project, it is so secretly, as it deals with visuality and the state and these are two underlying themes, issues, layers, fault lines or rhizomes in my project which must be brought to light.

This chapter is on the Río Negro campaign and utter ethnocide of the 1880s. It is a “war of images” and there is an epigraph from Caillois about Patagonia as a “vast open field for the deployment of vigor.” Minister of War Roca was idealized as the panoptic power over all of this and his image is thus a new representation of power and knowledge, or of the power of the state. The occupation of the desert, and of the space inside the frontier, is the occupation of a space of representation, turning it into a carrier medium for the simultaneous presence of images of power and knowledge at the most diverse points (see full text, page 163).

There is a section on the desert and the city, and this chapter in general focuses on two visual renderings of the desert campaign: a painting and a topographic map. There is a great deal of historical information whose broader outlines one knows, but which is very interesting, and Andermann’s argument is that the reorganization that took place here paralleled that of Brazil but was not the same (I am impatient, I would love to see these two chapters as a lecture, by a person and not on YouTube, I must reread).

It is all about space, though, and remember that the Lund book I am also using says race is fundamentally about the occupation of space.

See page 171 on Deleuze and Guattari, writing about state capture. The violence of the state is originary and is always preaccomplished. These are also key words for me: originary, preaccomplished — they are elements in my evoke and elide thesis, the idea that this originary violence and primitive accumulation and racial division has to be half forgotten but also remembered (almost like the bodies of the disappeared, who are not officially arrested but whose bodies are left around as warnings).

Mapping as a mapping of conquest and organization of space into the optic of the state, trains the beholder to see like a state.

In Brazil, expeditions into the backlands meant a reencounter with the nation-state’s true self, providentially encrypted in the natural conditions. Southward expansion in Argentina, on the contrary, provided the spatial figure for a linear conception of historical progress and also introduced a new idea of state power as a nomadic force imposing itself on flows of capitalthat decentered the previous regime dominated by the province of Bs. As. — but at the same time reinforced the dominance of Bs. As. the city, now cut loose from its region.

Look again at the last page of this chapter as you move to the next. Material flows go from the coast to the interior in Brazil, and in Argentina, from the frontier to the port to the space of transatlantic capital transfers.

Classic essayists discuss the mutual determination of geography and history; the next chapter, however, focuses on their separation: the elusive moment of violence that is constantly implied in visual productions, but which has so far remained outside the frame of representation and out of sight.

That is another element in my thesis, and I think this notetaking is turning into prewriting.

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