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«Devenir Universidad» – research trip by Ursula Biemann [CO]

Colombia — Research Trips

«Devenir Universidad» is a biocultural project that understands the Amazon as a territory of knowledge production and exchange. It is a work in collaboration with the Inga people, an indigenous community in southern Colombia, which encompasses different types of knowledge, from human and non-human minds.

In this bridge between different cosmologies, the project collectively weaves a new university. Here, knowledge is understood as in the tradition of local peoples: it is incarnated in nature, in the territory. In this way, learning starts from a broad field of relationships and meanings.

Among the collaborators of this project is the artist Ursula Biemann [CH], who in 2021 visited the region twice, where she took part in workshops and hikes through the forest, besides conducting interviews and video recordings.

The outcomes of this process are audiovisual essays that investigate how plants and other non-human beings create, shape, and transform the territory. Biemann looks at the forest as a mental field and draws on both Amerindian cosmologies and Western philosophies to unravel nature’s intelligence.

The work has already been presented in cultural spaces around Europe and Asia and, in 2022, it is expected to be exhibited in Colombia, Argentina and Turkey. Part of this research, the installation «Forest Mind» is being shown at the 15th Cuenca Biennale [EC], which takes place between December 2021 and February 2022.

Forest Mind clip

ABOUT URSULA BIEMANN

Ursula Biemann was born in 1955 in Zurich, Switzerland. She crafts video narratives on the politics of the environment, climate, and indigenous communities in her work. The artist conducts fieldwork in remote locations and works the findings into multi-la yered video essays and spatial installations. Her video works interweave vast cinematic landscapes with documentary footage, science fiction poetry, and scientific data that narrate changing planetary realities. Biemann practices an expanded notion of art which includes collaborative projects, research cooperation, and curatorial endeavours. She has an enduring interest in postcolonial ethnography and other scientific signifying systems, including botany and oceanography. Since 2018, in collaboration with the Inga people, she has been involved in the «Devenir Universidad» co-creation.

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