Project Global: Ground

This exploration of our current day metropolitan condition as a system of systems deals with the crust of the Earth as a primary carrying capacitor of human activities, from the extraction of resources deep within the ground, to agricultural operations that barely scratch the surface.

Part 1: Lexicon

Part 2: Atlas

Part 3: Architectural Projects

Part 1: Lexicon index

︎ Formation

    ︎ Kaapvaal Craton
    ︎ Johannesburg Dome
    ︎ Vredefort Dome
    ︎ Topsoil
    ︎ Müggelsee

︎ Measurement    ︎ Schwerbelastungskörper
    ︎ Mining Earthquakes
    ︎ Low-tech Soil Testing
    ︎ Soil Texture Triangle
    ︎ Geologic Time Scale 
    ︎ Stratigraphic Colum
    ︎ Geographic Information System
    ︎ Ecotone
    ︎ Cultural Landscape

︎ Prototype
    ︎ Unter den Linden
    ︎ Zoological Landscape
    ︎ Counterculture
    ︎ Cultural Agency
    ︎ Mine-pit Lakes
    ︎ Parliament of Things

︎ Land distribution
    ︎ 1913 Natives Land Act
    ︎ District Six
    ︎ Eavesdropping
    ︎ Reconciliation Policy
    ︎ Land Grabbing
    ︎ Land Acting
    ︎ The Red Ants
    ︎ #PutSouthAfricansFirst
    ︎ Suburban Enclaves
    ︎ Parallel State

︎ Extraction
    ︎ Cullinan Diamond Mine
    ︎ Platinum Group Metals
    ︎ Zamazamas
    ︎ Gold Rush Inertia
    ︎ Sinkhole
    ︎ Maize Doctor
    ︎ Coal Hands

︎ Infrastructure
    ︎ Gautrain
    ︎ Le-guba
    ︎ Lesotho Water Project
    ︎ Deutscher Wald
    ︎ Arrival City

︎ Production
    ︎ Safari Economy
    ︎ Agritourism
    ︎ Rainfall Line
    ︎ Upington Airport
    ︎ Tiergarten Transformation
    ︎ Pivot Irrigation
    ︎ Allotment Garden
    ︎ Bokoni Terracing
    ︎ Johannesburg Forestation
    ︎ Game Farming Cycle

︎ Waste
    ︎ Trümmerberg
    ︎ Fab-Soil
    ︎ Mining Waste Belt
    ︎ Sanitary Landfilling
    ︎ Soil Structure
    ︎ Biogas Technology

︎ Pollution
    ︎ Dry Stacked Tailings
    ︎ Water Pollution
    ︎ Soil Pollution
    ︎ Uranium Sandstorms
    ︎ Poaching

︎ Remediation
    ︎ European Green Belt
    ︎ Conservation Agriculture
    ︎ Airfield Urbanism
    ︎ Solar Park
    ︎ Gold Reef City
    ︎ Mine Pit Lake
    ︎ Loess Plateau
    ︎ Erosion Control

The Red Ants

“ ⁠— ”

The name “Red Ants”, is shorthand for the Red Ant Security Relocation & Eviction Service, a private security company in Johannesburg that operates with relatively extreme force.  They usually operate equipped with riot shields and crowbars, and in a single paramilitary operation, can deploy up to six hundred infantry. Their trademark red overalls and helmets are easily recognizable and are not an unusual sight within the city, with private property owners often hiring the Red Ants to enforce eviction orders.
        These evictions that the Red Ants are contracted to enforce, result from a long-standing conflict between property owners and the lower classes, the latter of which are denied access to the urban economy. The Red Ants represent the government's inability to accomplish effective land management due to a lack of adequate housing programs, leading to unsatisfactory results regarding the population's demand for housing.1
        The monopoly of private estates over much of the land within Johannesburg, has encouraged Black communities to illegally appropriate pieces of land from White land owners.  Stellenbosch is but one example of this phenomenon, in which a community of Black South Africans who felt betrayed by the failure of the seemingly corrupt African National Congress party, took over a vineyard owned by a White farmer, and turned the lands into their own township. The South African state has not moved to address this specific case, as of yet.

Image source:  Oatway James, The Red Ants evict residents and destroy an informal settlement near Pomona, 2012, Panos Pictures, Pamona.

1.  James Oatway, “The Red Ants”, 2012, London: Panos Pictures, 2017.