Commercial extinction: The exhaustion of exhaustion

Samson, Audrey and Gallardo, Francisco. 2018. Commercial extinction: The exhaustion of exhaustion. In: Daniel Fernandez Pascual and Alon Schwabe, eds. The Empire Remains Shop. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 109-119. ISBN 9781941332375 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

The contribution discusses the deeply complex emergence of commercial extinction as a concept. On a basic level, it designates that a species’ population is so depleted that it is no longer profitable to harvest. Extinct for the purposes of commerce. Yet this definition does not appreciate the technosocial assemblages that constitute this condition. The British colonial project, for example, was fueled by resource scarcity in land and seascapes. The understanding of the depth of landscape facilitated prospection, and consequently resource extraction, throughout the “Empire of Free Trade.” The sea that had been depicted as boundless also learned its depth. The forces of scarcity pushed fishermen across the Atlantic and through the Northwest Passage. Meanwhile, through capital’s blindness to entities that are not financially quantifiable, commercial extinction appears to have afforded the survival of certain species, such as the brown shrimp. This chapter traces a genealogy of this commercial extinction.

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Book Section

Additional Information:

Authorship of the book chapter is credited to FRAUD. FRAUD is a duo of artist-researchers (Audrey Samson & Francisco Gallardo).


commercial extinction, exhaustion, assemblages, shrimp, postcolonial

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April 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

11 Dec 2019 13:48

Last Modified:

11 Dec 2019 13:58


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