Reality Holes. Undesigning the 20th Century in Eastern Estonia

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Francisco Martínez


Through the study of mining holes that have appeared in Kohtla-Järve, this article shows how repair work can take on a political charge by re-ordering the social and materializing different dimensions of care. In this regard, the investigation of situated forms of material failure leads us to reconsider who has, or should have, the responsibility to fix what is broken, and how repair is linked to questions of future-making and care. The conclusion points, first, to the fact that repairing entails facing the harmful consequences of past design decisions, long after; second, that, when projecting post-extractivist futures, we must confront the need to undo the pernicious elements of modernity; and third, that critiques about the social and ecological cost of infrastructural failure must include the perspectives of local population.



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How to Cite
Martínez, F. (2023). Reality Holes. Undesigning the 20th Century in Eastern Estonia. Diseña, (23), Article.4.
Original articles
Author Biography

Francisco Martínez, Tampere University

Ph.D. in Anthropology, Tallinn University. After graduating as a Journalist from Madrid Complutense Univer­sity, he obtained a master’s degree in International Development and Cooperation from Lisbon School of Economics and Mana­gement. Currently, he is a researcher in the ERC WasteMatters group at Tampere University and convenor of the Collaboratory for Ethnographic Experimentation (EASA Network). His most recent books include Ethnographic Experiments with Artists, Designers and Boundary Objects (UCL Press, 2021) and Remains of the Soviet Past in Estonia (UCL Press, 2018). He has also co-edited Repair, Broken­ness, Breakthrough (with P. Laviolette; Berghahn, 2019). In 2018 he received the young scholar award of the European Association of Social Anthropologists. He has also curated several exhibitions.


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