V’cenza Cirefice, Extracting Us.

The GPO © V’cenza Cirefice

This image was created for the Extracting Us exhibition which explored feminist political ecologies of extractivism. The exhibition featured work from activist-artist-researchers from around the world and centred on embodied, emotive, everyday visualisations of extractivism to challenge the spectacular aerial view of the extractive gaze. My PhD looks at resistance to extractivism in the Sperrin Mountains, North of Ireland, and this image is from the occupation and focal point of resistance against a Canadian Gold mining company. I’m interested in this resistance as a form of care but also how we bring care into research encounters with people and the more-than-human world in extractive landscapes. A central question to my project is how can we avoid extractive research practices?

In the image we see The Greencastle People’s Office (GPO). The GPO has been the site of resistance for over 1000 days, a physical occupation of the area that would become a processing plant for the gold mine in the Sperrins. In April 2019, following warnings from the council to remove the caravans, activists responded by placing a caravan in the trees. What other ways of relating to each other exist in the extractive zone? At the GPO there is a culture of care and commoning as locals and their solidarity visitors do more than just resist, they share cups of tea, celebrations, music, stories, strategy and laughter.

V’cenza Cirefice is an artist, activist and researcher from the North of Ireland. She is currently an Irish Research Council PhD candidate at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her project explores resistance to extractivism through participatory, activist and visual methods such as photovoice and counter-mapping.