MAPA Videojournee Cohabitation 2021

10 OCTOBER 2021, la_cápsula, Zurich

MAPA hosts the third video journée under the notion of “cohabitation.” It is the result of our previous journées with the themes of landscape and nature. In the course of the screenings and discussions afterwards, we–including the participating artists and our audience–think that those terms fail to express our current condition and the possibilities we have to understand our life and make our future.

While the term nature gives the impression that there is something outside of human activity, in the theory of the Anthropocene it simultaneously contains its antithesis, namely that there is nothing left that is natural and untouched by humans. Both extremes lead to a dead end, as they deny the possibility of interconnectedness of our existence with our known environment as well as the yet unknown, and thus making it impossible to think our present and future on earth in a meaningful way. The works selected for the third journée break through the nature-culture binary and demonstrate situations of cohabitation. With this notion, an exchange of different ways of living across cultures and species becomes possible without undermining the integrity of the respective spaces. As such, this model is anti-hierarchical and focused on expanding our epistemological spectrum. Experiences of indigenous communities, plants, animals, and matter are presented in these works. They show us how different phenomena of contact affect us historically, culturally, and ecologically. At the same time, they leave room for sensations that might still be distant to our immediate perception, evoking both instances of familiarity and strangeness. Through the medium of video, the artists achieve a multi-sensory mediation of knowledge and emotions. The majority of the videos were made in collaboration with local communities or family members and are driven by personal narratives. Taking this practice as a point of departure, they invite viewers to continue the dialog that centers their participation in the idea of cohabitation.


The screening is followed by a video presentation and Q&A with artist Paula Baeza Pailamilla and researcher and curator Dr. José Cáceres.


The screening coincides spatially and thematically with the exhibition „A Forest of Many Worlds“ by the collective School of the Forest.

Renato Ordenes San Martin_Ana Mendieta Silueta cropped
Watercolor painting of "Ana Mendieta (Untitled: Silueta Series)" by Renato Ordenes San Martín

Ana Mendieta (Cuba/USA, 1948-1985) 

Mendieta’s Siluetas are cases in point for her pathbreaking works that merge video art, body performance, and land art. Her travels from the United States to Latin America were not only a cultural translocation but also a temporal displacement, from the center of postmodernity to pre-columbian sites. The places of her interventions testify to both the persistence of a human presence and the forces of the environment. Her staged burials in the series Siluetas collapse this relation in an ephemeral moment, and, as Ara Osterwell states, “remind us that all flesh returns to the earth.” At the same time however, Osterwell continues that “while painting and sculpture make delusional claims to immortality, the Siluetas captured the artist’s inevitably and deliberately failed attempt to fuse human and geologic time” (Artforum, November 2015). Our lives and experiences are, despite all overarching cyclicality, unique instances which we have to negotiate among ourselves and with our environment. 

Untitled: Silueta Series, 1978 (GP1772). Video, color, silent, super-8mm film transferred to high-definition digital media, 3:14 min.   

Silueta Sangrienta, 1975 (GP1802). Video, color, silent, super-8mm film transferred to high-definition digital media, 1:51 min.

Paula Coñoepan, Descubrimiento video still

Paula Coñoepan (Chile, 1993)

On the occasion of this videojournée, Paula Coñoepan combines her two works Descubrimiento and La creación (both 2019). The former shows the artist in a shallow hole in the ground, slowly being filled in. The second is a narrative of her grandmother, who is descendant of the Mapuche community but grew up strictly Catholic and in denial of her original culture. The combination of the works creates a link between the Christian story of creation and the “discovery” of America, which illustrate the simultaneity of the preservation and destruction of the environment. The feeling of belonging to a certain place is central to Coñoepan’s work, which in Descubrimiento is introduced by her grandmother retelling the myth of Adam and Eve. The fallacy of this narrative is that there is a “natural” right to live in a certain place, especially in light of the legacy of the Spanish colonization of indigenous land, which complicates the problem of who is allowed to live on whose territory. Nature, in such discussion, can be misunderstood as part of this pregiven order. However, we have to decolonize nature by avoiding its conceptualization as a site of origin. We have to think nature as the place in which we all, of different origins, live now, together. 
Jonathas de Andrade, O Peixe, 2016, video still

Jonathas de Andrade (Brazil, 1982)

O Peixe (2016) is a film about a group of fishermen of the villages of Piaçabuçu and Coruripe, by the river São Francisco and the sea, in the Northeast of Brazil. The Fishermen enact a ritual of embracing the fish that they have caught. The affectionate gesture that accompanies the passage of death is a testament to a relationship between species that is imbued with strength, violence and domination. The film emulates an ethnographic study of this ritual, which, however, is entirely fictional and thus questions the boundaries of fiction, science, and reality. Ethnography has been established as a universal method of knowledge production, but as a discipline it is heavily eurocentric. Andrade undermines this epistemic hierarchy in his work in which not external scientists look at a community, their customs, and the foreign nature, but in which emotions are at the center of understanding the intercommunal and interspecies relations. 

Video 16:9, color, sound 5:1, 16mm transferred to 2k, short version 23 min.

Production of Desvia and Wexner Center for the Arts, produced by Rachel Daisy Ellis, co-produced by Jennifer Lange; Production Manager Vanessa Barbosa; Assistant director Jeronimo Lemos; Cinematography Pedro Urano; Assistant Photographer Leandro Gomes

and Camila Freitas; Editing Tita and Ricardo Pretti; Sound Design Mauricio d’Orey; Sound Mixing Paul Hill; Color Grade Mike Olenick; Post-Production Film/Video Studio Program, Wexner Center for the Arts.

Sebastian Calfuqueo Mapu Kufüll 2020 Video

Sebastián Calfuqueo (Chile, 1991)

Mapu Kufüll (2020) is an animated story of a young Mapuche person and their grandmother. In a point-of-view perspective, we follow them collecting a variety of mushrooms, the “land seafood” as the title translates, in a forest around a pond. The voice of the grandmother tells how her community arrived at this place, and the voice of the young person expresses their gratitude toward the spirits, the owners of the earth. The story is told in Mapudungun and refers to the forced displacement of the Mapuche during the Occupation of Araucanía (1861-1883), the campaign of the Chilean army and settlers into Mapuche territory which led to the incorporation of Araucanía into Chilean national territory. During this period of war and until today, mushrooms have been a very important source of food for Mapuche communities and have become a symbol of resistance against the acculturation into Chilean creole society. Mapuche children are taught how to collect the mushrooms without damaging the mycelium so that it continues to fructify, thus respecting the ecosystem of the forest. 

Video, color, sound, 1920×1080, 5:26 min.

Direction and editing: Sebastián Calfuqueo; 3D animation: Valentina Riquelme; Text and voice: Ange Valderrama Cayuman; Harp: Eli Wewentxu; Translation into English: Jorge Pérez Roldan. In collaboration with Museo del Hongo.

Catalina Juger video Still eje en la luna

Catalina Juger (Chile, 1990)

For Eje en la luna (2014-2016), Juger visited four women from wildly different areas in Chile: Nelly in the desert of the North, Ruth in the forest in the South, Norma in the high mountains in the East, and Vasca at the coast in the West. The women tell us about their lives, secluded from larger communities, or this is the impression we get from the impressive landscapes that Juger captured for the video. The women are content with their simple lifestyle, and most importantly, feel a deep connection to their particular environment. They chose to disconnect from the buzzing life in cities and reconnect with their own needs and expectations of life. Cohabitation, in these scenarios, is not about living with other humans, but first and foremost with oneself and the surrounding elements, climate, flora and fauna. Focused on a single person, this condition is revealed to be a challenge, one that comes before the struggle of society at large, but one that everyone needs to face to find their place in this world. 

Video, color, sound, digitized 35 mm, 5:14min.

Direction: Catalina Juger Cerda; Music: Gurdonark (2014); Voices: Nelly González, Ruth González, Norma López, Vasca Savio.

Paula Baeza Pailamilla video still Wüfko (2019)

Paula Baeza Pailamilla (Chile, 1988)

The video Wüfko (2019) begins with a Mapuche woman telling us a dream she had about her own body sensitivity. Upon walking in the forest the next day, she arrives at Wüfko, which refers to a body of water, a spring of great purity and also the name of a sacred site in the forest of Challupen. There, she encounters the vision of her dream manifest in a tree, revealing a kimün (knowledge) linked to her experience. The tree is more than an analogy, more than an outer image that reflects her inner state. The kimün breaks this dichotomy and merges the oneiric, corporeal, and physical realms into one sphere of knowing and feeling.


This project was carried out in “Cuerpos en Tensión” Residency, by FICWALLMAPU. Camera and Photography: Felipe Cona; Translation: Bianca Messinger; Subtitles: 11th Berlin Biennale; Special thanks: Gabriela Llankinao, Cecilia Caniuman and their community, Felipe Cona, Patricio Pradines, Eduardo Rapiman. 

entre–rios project from the moor to the dam, colombia 2019

entre—ríos Project

entre—ríos originated in 2018 through an initiative of Dr. Lisa Blackmore (University of Essex) and María Fernanda Domínguez Londoño (Producciones, Bucaramanga). The curatorial concept and design of stems from Lisa Blackmore, Emilio Chapela, Diego Chocano, and David Medina. Site-specific artistic research in Peru, Mexico, and Colombia, as well as online workshops constitute the program of entre—ríos. The group perceives artistic practices as catalysts for collaborative experiments that connect people to the environment and to each other. Moreover, its creative methodologies build a platform where the arts and sciences, communities and institutions meet. As a multi-disciplinary project, it explores continuities between bodies of water and human bodies, recognizing rivers as active subjects that produce aesthetic forms, transform landscapes and shape memory. 

In spring 2021, entre—ríos hosted Live Streams, a virtual public program encompassing talks with artists, community leaders, movement practitioners and scientists. Thus, it created a space for critical dialog about the technoscientific and extractive approaches to rivers inherent to the project of modernity, and fostered collaborative networks, from microbial to therapeutic and artistic to environmental communities. At the videojournée, Lisa Blackmore, Emilio Chapela, and Diego Chocano will present some of the activities realized and planned.

This event is kindly supported by

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