Melanie Smith



30min – HD – color – quadraphonic (4.0)
Artist: Melanie Smith

DOP: Julien Devaux
Sound Editing & Mixing:
Félix Blume
Sound Recording: Raul Locatelli
Editing: Alfonso Cornejo

Fordlandia relates a new industrial world that car manufacturer Henry Ford created in the Amazonian rainforest in the 1920s. The mission was to produce the largest amount of rubber in the world and technicians, machinery and prefabricated homes were shipped from the United States to create a copy of a U.S. town. Despite the vast investment, Ford’s dream turned into a disaster and very little latex was ever extracted in Fordlandia.
The film is a visual diary that provides a critical reflection on Ford’s ambitions, tracing a battle between American ingenuousness and nature. It also challenges the image of the Amazon jungle as a metaphor for terror and cruelty, referencing writers and film-makers such as Thomas Whiffen, Werner Herzog and Joseph Conrad, whose accounts portray an aggressive, racist, romantic and intensely male-identified landscape. By focussing on the flora and fauna, the natural indigenous life of the region, the film serves to underline the absurdity of Ford’s endeavour and situates the natural world in opposition to these colonial visions.

© Melanie Smith


The four registers throughout this video archeological, paleontological, erotic and primal-overlap one another in an elliptical manner, suggesting a different ontological order between bodies of different types.The screen in the installation has been transformed into a kind of painting that works at the same time as a window into the world. The actual paintings in the show have left the walls and now function as a group of screens in which images juxtapose like palimpsests offering us an immediate and simultaneous reading that stands in contrast with the temporality implicit in the moving image

© Melanie Smith