Territorial Evidence


Techno-scientific debates around oil and bones

In similar ways, the massive exhumations of Venezuela’s subsoil that took place between 2005 and 2009 and the exhumation of Simon Bolivar’s remains in 2010 brought the Venezuelan people together around a debate about material entities. One a geological exhumation conducted to verify models of oil exploration and the other, a forensic analysis conducted to ascertain the causes of death of “El Libertador”. At first sight it is hard to see what they have in common – or even if they have anything in common at all. But if we frame them in the long history of Venezuelan territorial politics, a certain similarity begins to emerge: a similarity suggesting that material samples were invested with the capacity to both represent a wider territory and map its transformations.