(b. 1973 in Brasília, Brazil; lives in Los Angeles, U.S.A.)
Many of Clarissa Tossin’s works are concerned with what could be called a topography of place. Here she documents the remains of Henry Ford’s rubber enterprise Fordlândia, built in 1928, and the nearby village of Belterra, constructed in 1935 to house local workers. Ford built in the Brazilian Amazon to import cultivated rubber for the booming automobile industry. With his rubber trees dead to disease, and his workforce subject to rigid U.S. customs, his enterprise went bust within a few short years. Ford never faulted his narrow vision for this failure; he blamed the inhospitable Brazilian landscape. When two places look alike contrasts houses in Belterra with those of Alberta, Michigan, a town designed by Ford in 1935. Despite their physical distance and differing climates, the houses are remarkably similar, and they also share a history laden with ideology.