Mine(s) and Others

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Marisa Morán Jahn


This essay traces artist Marisa Morán Jahn's process of discovering where the copper in her IUD (intrauterine device) comes from. Along the way, Jahn gains understanding about copper’s remarkable material history as an antimicrobial, conductive, and malleable mineral — three valuable properties that explain the overstripping of copper mines under capitalist extractive regimes. Jahn also learns about copper’s function in contraceptive devices starting from at least the Hellenic empire to its role in IUDs used by 159 million across the world today. Jahn imagines an emotionally intense conversation (or break up) with Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and copper, whose emotions range from disappointment to rage about the exploitation of copper. Recognizing that copper wires and motherboards undergird our networked identities and online libidinal relationships, Jahn muses on the role of Aphrodite as the goddess of contemporary extimacy, or the mediation of intimacy through extrinsic devices. In eventually “becoming” Aphrodite, Jahn gains her own sense of ecological agency to vocalize the importance of bodily and territorial self-determination. Ultimately, the artist’s journey is a process of understanding the ecological and public health implications of copper mineral extraction as well as her own development as an artist.

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