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«Cartographies of the Unseen» – Felipe Castelblanco (Colombia)

Colombia — Research Trips © Felipe Castelblanco

More Information

Felipe Castelblanco Website
Felipe Castelblanco Vimeo

February to March, 2020.


«Cartographies of the Unseen» is the aesthetic and political result of an immersion initiated by multimedia artist Felipe Castelblanco together with the indigenous population of the Colombian Pan-Amazon, between the years 2018 and 2020.

Located between the Andes and the Lower Amazon, the region was, for centuries, the epicenter of genocide, extraction, expropriation and the target of environmental crimes that impacted the stability of the Amazon ecosystem. Historical conflicts, however, have resulted in new forms of indigenous resistance, creating a strong drive for self-representation for its inhabitants and, above all, new alliances to maintain the region’s biological and cultural balance.

Trailer: Cartographies of the Unseen from felipecastel on Vimeo.

The workshops and fieldwork, conducted by Castelblanco and developed with the Inga people, resulted in the creation of the Media Collective Ñambi Rimai, an indigenous collective engaged in the processes of self-governance, cultural preservation, territorial control and the creation of tools for autonomous communication between the territory and its surroundings. It is from this contact that the so-called Part A of the project is also born – Part B being the collective’s very creation – as a filmic result of a process of travel and recognition of a territory understood as an extensive web of occupation and governance relations, below and above ground, between natural elements and human movements.

«Rio Arriba – ‘A Cinematic Cartography’ Through the Layers of a Planetary Landscape» is a film and an experimental installation developed from a series of trips along the Putumayo River, in Colombia, starting from forests in the Lower Amazon and travelling to the Andes. Showing relations between the two locations, the video traverses territories of indigenous ancestry, exposing a complex landscape composed of different forms of occupation. From locations damaged by oil extraction to satellite surveillance over the rainforest, the film follows a river that, more than anything, depends on the formation of clouds and the fragile balance of such a diverse region.

With the support of the COINCIDENCIA program and the collaboration of Lydia Zimmermann, Camilo Pachon, the indigenous population Ñambi Rimai and Javier Chindoy, the production made from the immersion had its physical debut postponed due to the socio-political consequences resulting from the crisis of 2020 and will be available in November at the Ausstellungsraum Kligental museum in Basel.

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