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July 1, 2015

Caring, Curiosity and Curating,

Beyond the End

"I had always thought care derived from the Latin cura and curare, that care was a matter of cure and curation. But, as became painfully clear in the hospice care center, care derives, according to the OED, from the common Germanic and Old English caru for trouble and grief as well as the Old Norse kör for “bed of trouble.”"

(Jill H. Casid, “Handle with Care,” 125).

"An action going on, on every side of us, and yet barely appreciable, might surely be carried a little farther without exciting our observation."

(Charles Darwin, January 9, 1834)

Written by Carla Macchiavello

On Saturday, June 7, 2014, a curious event took place at the auditorium of the National Museum of Natural History (Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle) in Paris, France. In a setting that combined a theater of operations, a courtroom and a classroom, framed by dark wooden furniture and large scale paintings of monumental and heroic looking early human communities, a group of human beings temporarily took on the roles of nonhuman animals, varied states of matter, human invented entities and subject positions, as well as concepts. Signs pinned onto the performers’ clothes read “Dead trees”, “philosopher”, “useless work”, “hunter”, “food”, “State”, “sheep”, “dogs”, “scientists”, “artists” (materials interpreted by a group of biologists, philosophers, anthropologists, dancers, artists, historians, curators, and children).[i] Under the direction of a sociologist inhabiting a beaver’s costume (an allusion to the performance’s title, “Dans la peau du castor”), the group enacted in a spontaneous manner constellations of relations (“family” connections) among the beings and ideas they represented by joining others in temporary assemblages. Shifting at least twice during the course of the activity, the relations among the actors-beings were anything but stable: as a particular configuration was built, multiple dialogues, attractions and rejections took place, and positions were rethought and reconfigured (I happened to be the “hunter” and was constantly rejected by animals, humans, and even the sun! alike, left to lurk around the other beings). Instead of a master class, lecture, or exposition, playacting took over the auditorium as a rehearsal of possible responses and exchanges between beings, ecosystems and materials. It was an exercise in becoming other, a self-conscious fiction performed by humans who were trying to think beyond purely anthropocentric terms about their relations with animals, foliage, moss, light, minerals, among other beings.

The event was both curious and a curiosity, slightly odd and apparently out of place at the Museum’s auditorium, a stern-looking space linked to traditional forms of knowledge production. Yet the performance’s apparent strangeness could evoke that of the bone specimens displayed next door at the Museum’s glass showcases, momentarily pointing to the slipperiness between cabinet of curiosities and museum collection, and to the theatricality of science with its own setup of illusions. The performance was itself an enactment of curiosity, a noun derived from the Latin word curiosus, a being that is careful, inquisitive and also odd, unusual. It could be said that curiosity is both a wonder and a disposition to wonder (and perhaps to wander), a desire to know manifested as taking heed, feeling concern or interest in something and thus learning about it. As suggested by Donna Haraway in When Species Meet, curiosity is intimately tied to care and a disarming form of knowledge: “Caring means becoming subject to the unsettling obligation of curiosity, which requires knowing more at the end of the day than at the beginning” (Haraway, 36). To be curious is to care, to feel concern for and to become implicated with. Care can stem from a deep concern or sorrow, as suggested by the Old English and the Old German caru and chara, grief and wail (the “bed of trouble” as mentioned by Jill H. Casid that concentrates attention), and it can be manifested as providing aid to some-one and sometimes even a cure. It can also be understood as a feeling with, an act closer to compassion, an emphatic response to others’ troubles leading to action. Thus, a matter of concern can equally be a matter of caring and of anxiety, a question of empathy and one of marvel too.

The interlacing of these words –curious, care, cure- perhaps best describes the larger project to which the performance relates: the research and residency program Ensayos (Essays) that takes place in Tierra del Fuego, Chile, since 2011. Ensayos is a program directed by curator Camila Marambio who, out of a long trajectory of research and experiences into the relations between curating and care, developed the idea when visiting Karukinka Park in Tierra del Fuego in February 2010. The Park is located in the southernmost portion of the largest island (Isla Grande) composing Tierra del Fuego’s archipelago and spans 1160 square miles that include sub-Antarctic woodlands, peat bogs, steppes and mountain ranges. A small series of scientific residencies were already run by Bárbara Saavedra, a Chilean conservation biologist who was selected by the Wildlife Conservation Society Chile (WCS) in 2004 to direct the then newly created Park (a gift from the global investment bank Goldman Sachs, which acquired the lands as part of a distressed debt package from American timber company Trillium after the latter’s plans to develop a logging venture of the native tree lenga at the site failed, in great measure due to public protest of environmentalist groups). Out of the shared interest in caring for a space and its multiple forms of life, Marambio proposed to Saavedra a collaboration between artists and scientists, a combined residency program in which artists would contribute with what the curator has referred to as “redundancy” (Más allá del fin, 2014). Artists would not come to Karukinka to provide answers, solve a problem or create tools that scientists had been unable to generate on their own, but instead they would add other points of view, their own concerns, to the work of the scientists at the Park and to the ongoing conversations (or lack of) taking place in the Park and about the Park.[ii]

Marambio’s use of the notion of redundancy points to an excess performed by artistic practices that flows between the useful and useless. It suggests that art can contribute to science, to conservation and to ecological practice in unexpected ways, by means of other forms of research and paying attention to, as well as through a repetition (looking again, thinking over) that overflows the apparent borders of an issue. It equally envisions that art can be impractical, that its explorations and reiterations might not contribute to the purposes of scientists, the aims of the Park, or the interests of the multiple life forms it engages with. Ensayos’ methodology echoes Steve Baker’s description of the work of some artists with nonhuman animals as “wavering around the animal,” and his defense of a form of artistic practice that is not (or not fully) consciously purposeful: “if contemporary art is approached with the expectation that it is unerringly purposeful and future-focused, there’s every chance of missing what it actually has to offer, both for the present and for the future.” (2013, 73). Ensayos wavers as it tries out and attempts to create cooperative dialogues among all sorts of residents and agents in the Park and the island of Tierra del Fuego: scientists, park guards, local human and nonhuman inhabitants (past and present), including the beavers, sheep, forests, marshes, docks, plastic remains and rocks among an ever expanding web of enmeshed beings. Its scope has continually radiated further and deeper, wandering beyond the Park and its fictive boundaries and wondering on the limits of the island and archipelago on vertical, horizontal and layered axis. Each attempt to focus the gaze on a single matter of concern has led to the realization of its connectedness to other materials, histories, and ecologies thus ushering the program into expanding directions.

This overflowing quality underlies the project’s tentative and expansive format. From a start, Ensayos was proposed as an open-ended residency based on a methodology of trial and error whose objectives and modes of operation are subject to change and revision. While error might suggest that a correct answer or solution is expected, this methodology could be interpreted as a call and response work ethic, an improvisatory, spontaneous but also attentive form of interaction that might be uneven and unclear just like calls might be unexpected (or uncalled for). If there are specific results, these are formed during the process, which could also be thought of as a rehearsal: a repeated and changing performance that becomes more attuned to nuances and differences as it stages and restages acts that do not culminate in a closed curtain.[iii]

As a temporary residency, Ensayos invites its human participants to spend a few weeks or sometimes only days in Tierra del Fuego, emphasizing the experience of the space rather than the length of the stay. Residency is understood less as settling in than as a form of unsettling while lingering and revising, allowing for different forms of engagement with the space.[iv] The program’s hesitant and changing form also translates into the openness of its objectives. Unlike other artistic residencies focused on the development of artists’ projects, no specific object-production is expected out of the experience. The residency stresses the collaborative rather than the instrumental: it is less about what artists can create or how they can cooperate in a specific project with scientists or locals, than living and thinking together different aspects and problems in the Park and the island. Specialists and non-specialists from different areas (of the world, of knowledge, of being) gather to develop collaborative research practices that may include the tools, skills, and responses of multiple actants. Ensayos is parasitical: it grows on projects that are porous enough to allow permeation by artistic thinking, from educational programs already at work to building a road or undoing a beaver’s dam, passing through investigations taking place in the archipelago, whether archaeological, sociological, linguistic, or cetacean. By feeding on the experiences of other Parks (from its neighbors in Argentina to the Everglades National Park in Florida) and of projects located at the far reaches of the other continents (Sørfinnset Skole: the nord land in Norway), the program enacts a simultaneous movement of rooting and unrooting that reflects the very objects it studies. Thus, though deeply focused in Tierra del Fuego, the residency is also delocalized, continually displaced as it responds to a specific location and discovers not only increasing and decreasing scales within it, but that “A place is a cycle of places” (Downey, 331). Displacement occurs on multiple levels, including artistic conventions and denominations. The project’s embodiment creates a problem for thinking of the artwork as an object or of the project itself as art-work. Ensayos can be thought of as a program that asks questions rather than providing answers, even while attempting to do the latter. The program is not only about “not-settling” or an openness of meaning, a refusal to find a fixed form or sense as suggested by Baker -“Art works are not meant to settle things” (2013, 101)-, or the more apparently avant-garde unsettling as a rupture of sense and criticism. The work at the residencies does settle or coalesce at times in objects, performances, just as it gets sawn in beaver costumes, disappears into conversations, or is consumed as food embodied in a roasted animal whose image is transformed into a video shown on one of the walls of a mock Patagonian hut recreated in a Montmartre art space. What is the work done by art, what is an art-work, and who/what works in art? A couple of loving beavers labor at night to create a dam, its rough wooden sticks in an intricate crisscrossing pattern laboring to detain the flow of water, facing later on the labors of Park Guards and artists trying to undo all this project of care. If to collaborate is to work with, how many collaborators are involved in any of these pictures?

Being (Reclining beaver). Photo: Christy Gast

Collaborators can take many shapes, and this is one of the points where Ensayos departs from or displaces current practices of eco-art or socially engaged practices. Instead of focusing the research practice on what humans can do, participation has extended through each new attempt/ensayo beyond the human so as to include multiple other sentient beings and materials as contributing partners and forces shaping the world, science, and art. This extension was part of the trial and error explorative practice of Ensayos, its responsiveness to the very relations it was cultivating and encountering in Tierra del Fuego (and beyond). Ensayo #1 attempted to create a rehearsal of future versions of the program by exploring Karukinka and its surroundings for ten days with a diverse group of artists, scientists, and locals with multiple interests and links to the archipelago while defining main areas of concern for future residencies.[v] But as the questions discussed (ethics, conservation, and place, the use and management of territory, connections between conservation and memory or tourism and sustainable growth) passed from being an intellectual background against which the island could be experienced and interpreted to a set of growing and reassembling material connections between concrete objects, including Ensayos’s contributors and their agency, unexpected responses to specific questions emerged. The beaver question guiding Ensayo #2, for instance, began to move from studies of beaver behavior made by Marambio, Gast, Memory and Laura Ogden with the biologists Derek Corcoran and Giorgia Graells, to practices of listening to the beavers and the development of strategies to respond to them and their calls, including the creation of beaver suits and multiple recordings of where the roles of artist, curator, biologist, animal under study or under the camera’s gaze, were displaced. The beavers contributed to the field work with their own productions, presence, movements and acts, sounds, smells, and aesthetic sensibility, helping co-create video footage, performative practices and supporting props. The Parisian performance at the National Museum of Natural History was yet another articulation of relations or assemblages among disparate and conversing actants, another choreography with a specific set of bodies, just like the performance’s supporting ground offered another instance of connection- an open work week with multiple Ensayos’s participants hosted by Kadist Art Foundation in Paris at its exhibition space and offices.

Measuring. Photo: Christy Gast

The matters of concern around which later Ensayos have been articulated came out of these intertwined experiences noted in the first residency program: the beaver question (Ensayo #2), the social history of the island (afterwards transformed into human geography, Ensayo #3), and the coastal border (Ensayo #4). In spite of their particularities, these issues have proven to be entangled with many more partners than what terms like social geography might refer to, making it possible though to visualize in a tangible manner the force that particular gatherings of elements can acquire and how the apparently miniscule or extremely large things (the “hyperobjects” analyzed by Timothy Morton) are conformed by sets of relations among many parts or objects that vary over time and act. As suggested by Darwin, whose experience in Tierra del Fuego set forth changes in his own observations and theories concerning origins and developments of species, this action can be very subtle and go almost unnoticed until its full dramatic impact is felt, as with the extinction of species.

A similar half-hidden action with rapidly endangering consequences to multiple ecosystems has been the case of the beavers in Tierra del Fuego whose presence, actions and the responses they have elicited are part of a history of entwined human and non human animal agencies. Ensayos #2 began to explore in situ some of the effects of the descendants of the fifty beavers that were imported in 1946 to the Argentinean side of Tierra del Fuego to start a fur enterprise, a business that was rapidly abandoned when the beavers’ hair began to change due to the warmer climate they encountered, as well as due to the decline in the fur industry after the Second World War. Discarded as useless (much like the existing “Bahía Inútil” (Useless Bay) on the Eastern coast of the island, so baptized due to its apparent in-ability to function as a port), the beavers adapted and thrived in their new environs, yet became in human eyes an invasive species. The furry new foreigners migrated and in their own manner “colonized” different territories as they moved from the eastern side of Tierra del Fuego to its Western and Northern areas as well as adjacent islands. The beavers’ compact constructions have altered the ecosystem of Karukinka and of large portions of Tierra del Fuego, killing other life forms by building their dams, changing the water’s flow and sourcing their construction material from the forests along the river beds where the dams are constructed. Karukinka has been developing an extermination plan that has been approved by Chile and Argentina and has recently received funding in its pilot version. Yet, as the beavers advance northward, their behaviors and forms have begun to change too, leaving open the question as to the responses they invite from other forms of life, including human, that also inhabit the island.

Tierra del Fuego has a long history of attempts at colonization, “ensayos” at taming, civilizing, owning the so-called wild. Its own name speaks of a history of translations and attempts at naming the unknown. Starting with the fires made by indigenous groups to alert of the presence of foreigners in the waters of the straight (or perhaps just smoke signals, as suggested by archaeologist Alfredo Prieto during the Parisian work-week at Kadist) that were sighted by Ferdinand Magellan and his crew and reinterpreted, the “land of fire” became in the 19th century a golden end of the world attracting European colonizers to the possibility of finding fluvial gold. Adaptation ensued as the scarcity of gold grew evident and the newer colonizers developed other enterprises more attuned to the landscape, like sheep herding, even while eliminating physically and symbolically from that space other bodies imagined as equally animal yet not worthy enough: those of the indigenous tribes, many of whose members were already forcefully adapting missionary work and forced labor. Even though sheep were a foreign species, unlike beavers they were naturalized as an “agricultural product” as noted by Laura Ogden, while native tribes were dehumanized and hunted down. History repeats itself and a place is a cycle of places: during the military dictatorship in Chile, attempts were made to re-colonize the southernmost regions of the country (which even were renamed the “Wild West” by the press), while at the same time setting up a concentration camp in Dawson island, one of the most remote in the archipelago.

Reproduced photographs of European contracted professional hunters reappear in Juan Pablo Langlois Vicuña’s series of installations and collages titled Miss, begun in the 1990s during the process of Chile’s return to democracy. A participant of Ensayo #1, Langlois’s work brings to the fore the continuity of coloniality and the multiple intersections that can be established among forms of oppression past and present, in the island, in Chile, in the “universe” (part of the series concerns images of “Miss Universe” contestants, posing half nude like Selk’nam women for the camera nearly one century part). Ensayos could be thought of through the lens of intersectionality, the recognition and study of multiple systems of oppression interacting in tandem, such as racism, sexism, and homophobia among others, while affecting different bodies, including those of animals. The program is built up of these crossings and fosters their development, especially as it responds to complex situations and newer assemblages of bodies, feelings and actions. But Ensayos also performs its unruliness and continues to redefine itself, from an interdisciplinary movement across disciplinary knowledge, tools, talents and limits (actual or imagined), to an “in-“ or “un-disciplinary” approach. Marambio refers to this form of unsettling or undoing fixed positions as:

Our field work is one in which we loose ourselves, loose our disciplinary boundaries and perform novel ways of becoming with that exceed or undermine disciplinary perspectives. What unites us is care and curiosity, what we aim towards is a going beyond disciplines, so as to discover, stumble upon or be surprised by what is marginalized and left out of disciplinary education. (Marambio, 2015).[vi]

Rio Robalo. Photo: Christy Gast

Going beyond what may be regarded as a practice’s limits, beyond the end of a picture, wondering at these borders and wandering into the wild of a discipline can be thought of as part of what art, science, and life continually do, even if sometimes forgotten. Ensayos pursues that wonder as part of an imaginative ethical practice that seeks to respond carefully, attentively to others and their entwined relations, including relations of life and death. It looks forward to the experience of getting lost in the field, of not knowing, even if that position in the open is uncomfortable or cannot be maintained for too long, thus leading to another limit, leading to another response. Ensayos goes wild… shaggy, unruly, imprecise, while at the same time organized, connected to multiple disciplines.

The disciplinary instability to which the program aims and works towards by engaging in multiple performances in the field (as literalized in the video recordings showing biologists, artists, and curators bearing beaver’s suits in Tierra del Fuego’s forests, houses, canals) and accepting to get lost in the field is part of what enables Ensayos to cross borders in art too. The project could be readily fitted into more or less established categories within artistic discourses and practices, yet it also seems to stray between and beyond them. It could also, for example, be characterized as eco-art or eco-aesthetics (if the production of objects conventionalized by the term ‘art ‘seems too slim a space to inhabit), or could be referred to as sustainable art insofar as it looks into the “responsible and equitable use of resources and links environmental and social justice.” The program could also be thought of as a new form of earthwork characterized by Lucy Lippard as involving artists who get “down and dirty” when “addressing universal concerns about what we now call the environment” (2011, 11), as well as a particular animal/artist engagement, or in more un-disciplinary ways a community work where there is no evident community (or membership is always changing), or a form of “dialogical art” wherein the dialogue can be articulated without words or human like gestures. If dialogical art is closest to the communicative purposes sought by Ensayos, the latter’s exchange is not limited to the human social realm, even while including it. Alterity is everywhere, not just in economical registers, cultural or gender differences, or along a strict human/nature, mind/body divide.

But Ensayos also acknowledges that the active listening and attuning to the other might not be reciprocal. The trial and error method has allowed for experiences that underlined how responses may be asymmetrical, parts can be non-cooperative and that the option of not-responding is also available to multiple beings. Sometimes the partners entering a communicative exchange will find their responses incoherent, the signs might not make sense. Listening requires exercising our ability to hear, to see, to engage with all our senses, becoming sensitive to the calls of others. Adopting the animal’s perspective can be utopian, trying to see like a beaver or the wood it cuts and remolds, or the water it reroutes can be as impossible a task as becoming sensitive to another person’s suffering, feelings, or needs. And surely, certain beings might arouse our attention and deep feelings of care, even compassion, while others might not. But the attempt, even repeated attempts, to acknowledge and respond to the other will transform the bodies interacting, slowly, perhaps in the dark, almost unnoticed as suggested by Darwin. Or it might take becoming a curiosity for others by stepping into a hot beaver suit.

The object of concern in the performance at the Parisian Museum was: “dans la peau de castor,” going under the beaver’s skin. While literalized in the beaver suit that was physically worn by one person only, the immersion was not meant to retrieve the animal’s bones and skin and expose them as a carcass of knowledge and taxonomy or strangely beautiful objects as presented next door in the Museum’s gallery. Playing with words, the performance instead suggestively attempted to adopt the vantage point of the animal, while also recognizing the possible limits of its own attempt, its fictive character (similar to the illusion of restoring beavers to the island, as performed recently in Tierra del Fuego by activists). Instead, the performance posited that imaginary and real animal exist in a shifting web of relations rather than as a background or landscape, allowing for each element involved in the web in turn to become as central an actor as the one who had convoked the event. As in other Ensayos, multiple tools, directions, acts, and objects (suit, video, chairs, tables, conversations, paintings hanging in the room, the room, the Museum, the Park, the heat, lack of light), were set up, staged, presented and spontaneously combined to allow for the collaborative creation of the performance and intuitive interpretations of roles and embodiment of other beings. The acts performed were more than a playful drama, even if mirth, confusion and seriousness abounded. In this precarious moment of creation and recreation, of imagination and mimicry, of interpretation and speculation, a mindful opening was sought around the question of the beaver and multiple other matters that are called by it. It was a way of acting out relations, rehearsing movements and dialogues, even apparently impossible ones. The performance was an enactment of a space of uncertainty that did not offer particular resolutions besides a carnal experience of feeling other, feeling with the other.

Choreographing movements has been a notion repeatedly employed by Marambio to refer to Ensayos, the relations it attempts to establish with other beings, and the varied performances it engenders and fosters. Considering only in the Parisian work-week in June 2014, there were several performances, dances (like the interpretation by Amanda Piña of a Tierra del Fuego waltz, still images of the Selk’nam Hain ceremonies), walks (immersive, silent, and opening new eyes, hand-led by Myriam Lefkowitz), and corporal exercises (like Goethian delicate empiricism guided by Maria Prieto) interspersed with other bodily practices that included talks and presentations. A temporal, fleeting inscription of actions in space, the tracing and traces of actions, choreography involves the staging of several bodies and elements, a production of corporeal and spatial relations that transforms (even while repeating) pre-existing ones. It involves skills and deskilling, training bodies, adaptability, supports, listening to all kinds of rhythms, somatic calls and responses from within and without, and also failing/falling, stepping over or on others’ feet and displacement. Dance references also abound in the work of artists, philosophers, scientists and curators who are working and thinking with animals, as in the “dance of encounters” or “dance of relating” of Haraway: “All the dancers are redone through the patterns they enact” (2008, 25). New ontologies and theories of causality also deploy musical, theatrical, and performance based images and comparisons, such as Morton’s: “Causality is like a drama. It is no wonder that drama simply means “things that are done” or “doing” (Greek), just as opera means “works”; and opera and dramas both have “acts.” (2013, 95). Dance nevertheless suggests a way of moving bodies and communicating through them, not just the movement or action itself. It invokes orientation (which can be disorienting) and spans improvisation and steps. Choreographing implies the articulation of bodies in movement, tracing connections and the collaborative production of new movements out of a dialogue, mobilizing bodies in perhaps unexpected directions.

Tierra del Fuego has remained a curious place, allowing all sorts of life and entangled webs to develop and at the same time resisting and transforming their advances. It has attracted different travelling bodies, grounded nomadic groups, unrooted settlers, displaced the native, and embraced death. Tierra del Fuego continues to act as a stage for macro and microscopic dramas, a real and imagined space of rehearsals and actions that is changing forms. It is therefore more than a supportive ground, utopian playground or laboratory for artistic, economic, scientific, geopolitical experiments at the end of the world. Though islands may elicit ideal images of immaculate identity or act more ambiguously as “symbols of both the horror of brutal isolation (i.e. being stranded on a desert island) and the promise of self-contained freedom (i.e. escaping to an idyllic haven)” (Bryan-Wilson, 106), their borders are constantly eroded and their forms crisscrossed by material and lively concerns. That instability seems to be incarnated in one of the matters of concern proposed for the next Ensayos: the archipelago’s coastline, a space of perpetual displacement and touching surfaces. As more intersecting layers of history, art and life are explored in the varied orientations offered by the coastline, new, unexpected calls will deserve our attention.

Carla Macchiavello is an Assistant Professor in Art History at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York (CUNY). After completing her studies in Aesthetics at the Universidad Católica de Chile, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and received a Ph.D. and Master’s degrees in Art History and Criticism from Stony Brook University. Between 2010 and 2014 she worked as Assistant Professor in Art History at Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. Her work centers on Latin American contemporary art, performance, video, and the relations between art, politics, and performative practices. Her work has been published in international journals and catalogues, and she also works as an independent curator.

[i]The roles were derived from words contributed by those present after seeing video footage gathered by the artist Christy Gast in a forest at Karukinka Park and audiovisual material registered by anthropologist Laura Ogden at a sheep farm in Tierra del Fuego.

[ii] Likewise, Saavedra stressed in 2011 that conservation practices should include diverse actors, including art: “Conservación incluye a la gente, a través de Karukinka, WCS espera promover la cultura de la conservación y el cooperativismo para el desarrollo de la utilización sostenible de estas tierras únicas. El arte debe ser parte de esta cultura de conservación.” Arte y preservación dialogan en Tierra del Fuego,” El pingü,

[iii]Several authors have been developing related interpretations of responding and attending to that move away from a reaction, from Timothy Morton’s musical reference in the notion of “attuning” (“one object can be attended to, attuned to, in different ways that bring out strange hidden properties of that object” (Morton, 23)), passing to Émilie Hache and Bruno Latour’s reference to the etymology of response in relation to responsibility, “respondeo: I become responsible by responding, in word or deed, to the call of someone or something,” (Hache and Latour, 312) to Donna Haraway’s reference to respect as “respecere ---looking back, holding in regard, understanding that meeting the look of the other is a condition of having faced oneself.” (Haraway, 88).

[iv]Though linked at first exclusively to Karukinka Park, mobility became a central form of experiencing the interconnected matters of concern traversing the archipelago and independence from the Park and the WCS has also been cultivated by Ensayos –financially, methodologically and politically- even while the Park remains one of the project’s main collaborators. The program recognizes its temporal limitations (Summer being the season that permits most movement) and problems of accessibility (no paved roads or public transportation to get to the Park, several hours of travel within the island after crossing from the continent and reaching the city of Porvenir).

[v] The first participants invited by the curator evoke the ecological diversity of the park itself. Among the Chilean artists, Juan Pablo Langlois has an ongoing series of collages and installation dealing with the indigenous inhabitants of the island and their extermination, while María Luisa Murillo’s Swiss immigrant grandfather owned a small sawmill company at Puerto Yartou in the Western shore of the island now converted by Murillo and her family into a Museum. Karolin Tampere, an Estonian curator, collaborated in the project Common Lands- Allmannaretten, a temporary art project at Bjørvika, the old harbour area of Oslo, with the Norwegian artists Geir Tore Holm and Søssa Jørgenssen, a couple that runs Sørfinnset Skole: the nord land. The other participants were Bárbara Saavedra (ecologist), Daniela Droguett (marine biologist), Mauricio Chacón (park guard), Pierre Laserre (economist), Fabienne Laserre (artist), Christy Gast (artist), Melissa Memory (archaeologist), Ivette Martínez (educator), Kiko Anderson (traveler), Julio Gastón Contreras (doctor), Paola Vezzani (artist and regional director of the Consejo de la Cultura), Steffan Mitterer (musician).

[vi] Pedagogy has become a central concern of Ensayos. With the sponsorship of Alfredo Prieto and the Universidad Técnica de Magallanes, a program in coastal borders is being developed in collaboration with Marambio.


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