Oliver Xavar Burch
For centuries, the Maldivian atoll of Laamu had seen a slowly changing but successful cultivation and appropriation of land. In the very recent history, climate change issues, partly in combination with reckless manmade implementations, have revealed the vulnerability of these low-lying atoll ecologies. Nevertheless, infrastructural build-up is lately occurring at an extraordinary scale: the potent geo-strategic location of the Maldives – in the center of the Indian Ocean – let the islands be part of speculative investments along the Asian-African and Asian-European trade routes.
I propose to add another emblematic infrastructural project to that chain of investments: A machine-like tower, rising between the palm trees and working as an economic catalyst for the local livelihood. By converting biowaste‘s inherent energy into the fuel to power a desalination plant, the community gets supplied with clean water, fertilizer and electricity. But not only it is a machine, it is also a monument: The tower shall be another „pearl“ in the path of progress, donated by the ones who want to push the extent of globalized trade to a next level. If we take a step back and relate these interventions to geo-strategic developments, the underlaying ambivalence may become more and more evident.