Landscapes of Pressure

Kathrin Golda-Pongratz

This text is a shortened version of the essay published in the book “Landscapes of Pressure” by the author in 2014.

What turns landscapes into landscapes of pressure is, in the first place, a map—a scaled register of the territory in which the simulacrum of an envisioned project is set. What matters for the project, its promoters and its investors is the territory’s location: the coordinates, proximities, political context, municipal boundaries and infrastructures previously set in it.

What is also important is its supposed availability; its emptiness and its disposition to be filled; its quality of being a remnant, a terrain vague seen as a receptacle of promises, possibilities and expectations, as Ignasi de Solà-Morales wrote.[1] What does not matter is the territory’s idiosyncrasy—its inner logics, historic traces, gradations of rurality and productivity as such. As pure surface and constructible land, it is subject to the logics of the global economy and consequently converted into an object of speculation. Its contemporary context is globalization, which increasingly bypasses the national state and, therefore, effects an integral reconfiguration of the urban scale.[2]

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[1] de Solà-Morales, Ignasi: Territorios. Gustavo Gili, Barcelona, 2002. [2] See: Smith, Neil: “Revanchist City, Revanchist Planet”. In: Urban Politics Now. Re-Imagining Democracy in the Neoliberal City. BAVO (Eds.), Rotterdam 2007, p. 39. [3] Baudrillard, Jean: Simulacra and Simulation. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor 1994, p. 1. [4] Baudrillard, Jean: op. cit., p. 1. [5] Augé, Marc: An Anthropology for Contemporaneous Worlds. Stanford University Press, Stanford 1999, p. 90. [6] A junket is a person or firm, some of which are listed in the Nasdaq index, whose work consists in approaching rich casino gamblers, paying for their expenses, financing their bets and making sure they pay their debts. Explained in: “Duelo a 300.000 la apuesta.” In: El País. Madrid, 11.6.2013. [7] Plataforma Aturem Eurovegas: Salvem el Delta del Llobregat. Barcelona 2012, p. 2. [8] Joan Vidal de Ciurana in an official letter issued by the Generalitat de Catalunya, Office of the President, 12.8.2012 [9] Smith, Neil: op. cit., p. 39. [10] “Aguirre tocará las normas urbanísticas que haya que tocar para lograr el casino.” In: El País, Madrid edition, 31.1.2012. [11] In the first week of abril 2014, "BCN World" was agreed as a future reality in the Catalan Parliament. The two political parties Convergencia i Unió (CIU) and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) agree on a legislation change to favor the gambling business. This change implies to reduce the tax on gambling winnings to 10 %, to reduce the "urbanistic limitations" and to allow gambling on credit, under the condition that these measures will "reactivate the Catalan economy". See: Ara (2014): "La sociovergència aposta per BCN World". 31.3.2014. "Starting to move earth after the summer and begin the construction in the last semester of 2015 (...), so that the first of the six resorts -1.100 hotel rooms, a commercial area and casinos- would open at the very end of 2017 (...)." See: La Vanguardia (2014): "Los promotores de BCN World esperan abrir el primer "resort" el 2018". 2.4.2014. [12] Members of the Aturem Eurovegas platform designed an alternative film poster, alluding to Leaving Las Vegas: “Leaving EuroVegas. A hate story”. [13] Adelson, Sheldon, quoted in: “El Gobierno rechaza las peticiones de Adelson para instalar Eurovegas”. In: El País, 13.12.2013. [14] Latour, Bruno: We have Never Been Modern. Harvard University Press, Cambridge/ Massachusetts 1993, p. 38.
[15] Baudrillard, Jean: Simulacra and Simulation. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor 1994, p.1.