© Aljoscha Begrich

Last summer I was at the OSTEN Festival in Bitterfeld. The most impressive part was the daily beginning of the day at the Morning Club at the lake. One day, the lifeguard told us how he had ridden his bike through forests and villages as a child in the same place, before spending 50 years milling through a lunar landscape as a backhoe operator, and today hauling in drifted air mattresses in the same place. Nothing has changed the landscape of the planet more than mining. Nothing has changed our entire understanding of the world more than the idea of extracting and processing materials from the earth. And nothing has changed our lives and standard of living like oil, coal, copper, uranium, lithium and rare earths. Not everywhere is as beautiful as in Bitterfeld and the consequences of overexploitation are felt more and more. Much is known, heard, seen, but still hardly understood in its entirety. With UNDERMINING, Lucy Lippard presents an attempt to understand, to grasp, to undermine mining politically, philosophically and aesthetically. I received the book as a gift at the end of the Festival in Bitterfeld, and this year it accompanies me from open-cast lignite mining in central Germany to silver mines in Argentina, lithium sites in Chile, and coal mines in North Rhine-Westphalia.     

Aljoscha Begrich, 20 March 2023