Capital PetroleraAlejandra Espinosa
There is always a line or, better to say, infinite lines between the spaces we aspire to inhabit and those existing within the actual realm of possibility. Sour Lake, or Lago Agrio in Spanish, is an Ecuadorian city that challenges western and modern conceptions of an ideal city. Emerging in the center of the Amazonian region, Sour Lake’s aesthetics and its architecture perspire oil: buildings, streets, stores and all the brick and mortar composing its urban dynamic are influenced by oil resources exploitation. Altogether, as the city grew, it came to be defined by an “unfinished” aesthetic that puts into discussion the relationship between urban imaginaries and their realization.
Lago Agrio was originally founded as a base camp of the American oil company Texaco Inc. (now Chevron), which began exploring the Amazon region during the 1960s. Echoing the excitement and burning ambition of the Spanish colonizers when gold was discovered in South American lands, the discovery of oil was linked for many with the promise of a wealthy future. Settlers (known as colonos) began to arrive from different parts of the country, looking for job opportunities and a new life. Even the name “Lago Agrio” comes from one of the first oil wells drilled by Texaco, and nowadays the city is known as capital petrolera (capital of petroleum).
Full content is available only for registered users. Please login or