Fantastical materializations: Interoceanic infrastructures in the Ecuadorian Amazon

This paper explores the entanglement of dreams and reality in the production of economic infrastructures. It focuses on the Manta-Manaus multimodal transport corridor, which is currently being constructed between the Pacific coast of Ecuador and the Atlantic coast of Brazil, with the aim of integrating the Amazon into global production networks. Drawing on extensive field research conducted in Ecuador, we develop a fantastical materialism, as a theoretical and methodological approach to the intertwining of fantasy and materiality through which the spaces of capital are conceived, constructed, and brought to ruin. Manta-Manaus is revealed not only as a technocratic accumulation strategy, but also as a seductive dream of planetary integration and geographical freedom. This dream has become ensnarled in the material dynamics of uneven geographical development, and its infrastructures have been repurposed for the expansion of the oil frontier. The Real of Capital thus advances through the creative destruction of its own fantasies.

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