'On-Trade-Off: Routes and Roads' is a lecture performance by Alexis Destoop and Mi You. The ongoing artistic research project On-Trade-Off investigates the emergence of lithium – a volatile and unstable metal known as the “new black gold” – in the current energy transition to a green economy. The closure of the major mining operations in Manono, a town in the Tanganyika Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the early 80s, left an altered landscape whose logistical equipment has slowly fallen into disarray. Recent geological exploration has confirmed vast amounts of lithium to be found in the abandoned mining pits, making for new interest and investments from foreign corporations, which could alter the town’s destiny.
Following the trajectory of the raw material from its point of origin in Congo, via trading posts in Australia to the production hubs in China, artist Alexis Destoop and scholar Mi You explore the stages of its transformation and, speculatively, envision the future mapped out by this new trade route. What are the mechanisms behind these trade routes? What laws legitimate this “extractive” mindset? What future is paved out along the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) that China is about to roll out? Does the new economy spell a future that will redistribute some of the accumulated wealth back to Manono?
Picha (Lubumbashi, DRC) and Enough Room for Space (Brussels, BE)
Sammy Baloji (BE/DRC), Jean-Pierre Bekolo (FR/CM), Alexis Destoop (AU/BE), Marjolijn Dijkman (BE/NL), Gulda El Magambo (DRC), Femke Herregraven (NL), Jean Katambayi (DRC), Frank Mukunday (DRC) & Trésor Tshibangu (DRC), Musasa (DRC), Georges Senga (NL/DRC), Daddy Tshikaya (DRC), Maarten Vanden Eynde (BE)