Christy Gast, Dear Enemy Interspecies Olfactory Communication Experiment, Process, 2016, digital photograph, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist. [Alt text: A landscape photo of a peat bog in Tierra del Fuego flooded by a beaver dam, with blue sky reflected in the water, mountains in the distance, and a shovel resting next to a mound of dirt in the foreground.]
Ensayos: Hydrofeminist METitations Listening Series
Listen to the podcast here.
As part of their digital residency at the New Museum, Ensayos practitioners will launch three podcasts. Drawing from Ensayos’s transdisciplinary practice, these podcasts will focus on waters in different archipelagic regions, including Tierra del Fuego, New York, eastern Australia, and Norway. Journalist Catalina Jaramillo guides listeners through four acts that mirror different aspects of Ensayos’s field research: fiction, fact, somatic exercise, and care ethics. Each concludes with a song.
III. August 3, 2020: The Americas
Hydrofeminist METitation: The Americas: Selk’nam know-what/ A wooden house is a ship in a bog/ A conversational road map through peatlands/ Olfactory exercise/ Seafaring song ¿’Onde va la lancha? (Where is the boat going?)
Listen to complete series here.
I. July 20, 2020: Hydrofeminist METitation: Eastern Australia
II. July 27, 2020: Hydrofeminist METitation: Norway
About Hydrofeminist METitations:
Gender studies scholar Astrida Neimanis coined the term “hydrofeminism” to bring together feminist, queer, and ecological sensibilities.* In her words, hydrofeminism begins “one’s ethics and politics from the realization that we are mostly made of water…refusing a separation between nature and culture, between an environment ‘out there’ and a human subject ‘in here.’”
When Ensayos collaborated with Neimanis in 2017, Camila Marambio formulated “METitation” to emphasize Ensayos’ material-somatic research that considers molecular and global relationships in the physical world.** MET is an acronym for Mechanical Electrical Transduction, a sensory mechanism through which cells convert mechanical stimuli into electro-chemical activity. MET accounts for senses of hearing, balance, and touch; hair cells in the inner ear convert the stimuli of drum vibrations, water dropping in the sink, a crashing wave, and voice into electro-chemical signals received by the brain. This transformation is the sense of hearing.
*Astrida Neimanis, “Hydrofeminism: or on Becoming a Body of Water,” in Undutiful Daughters: New Directions in Feminist Thought and Practice, ed. Henriette Dr. Gunkel, Chrysanthi Nigianni, and Fanny Dr. Soderback (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). **“Hydrofeminist METitaions” was first used by Ensayos to describe a live sounding experiment performed by Neimanis, Marambio, Sarita Gálvez, and Karolin Tampere and presented as part of the Liquid Architecture program, “Negative Volumes: Body Languages” held at West Space, Naarm/Melbourne, on October 14th, 2017.
The following Ensayistas contributed to Hydrofeminist METitations: The Americas:
Elisita Balbontín (Valdivia, Chile) is a musician, muralist, screen printer, and wildlife explorer. Her work addresses a post futuristic version of life that intertwines with both urban experiences and wild spirituality. For the past 4 years, Elisita has been working on Futuro Fósil, an electronic sound machine project that plays around with the idea of sound fossilization and the de- fossilization of sounds.
Fuente Papudo (Papudo, Chile) is a musical family that sings, acts, cooks and more.
Christy Gast (Amenia, New York) is an artist based in New York whose sculptures and video installations focus on issues of politics and aesthetics with regard to landscape. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA/P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Performa, Exit Art and Artist’s Space in New York, Perez Art Museum of Miami, Bass Museum, de la Cruz Collection and Gallery Diet in Miami, Matucana 100 and Patricia Ready Gallery in Santiago, CL, and the Kadist Art Foundation in Paris.
Camila Marambio (Papudo, Chile) is a curator and Founder/Director of Ensayos. Motivated by the strong sentiment that Tierra del Fuego, despite its remoteness, is the center of the world, Ensayos brings together artists, scientists, and locals to exercise speculative and emergent forms of bio-cultural ethics. Ensayos has presented work in exhibitions and performances at the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; the Institute for Art and Olfaction, Los Angeles; Bruce High Quality Foundation, New York; Puerto de Ideas, Valparaíso; Festival Cielos del Infinito, Puerto Williams, CL; Kurant, Tromsø, NO; and Psi #22, Naarm/Melbourne, AU. Marambio holds a PhD in Curatorial Practice from Monash University, Naarm/Melbourne; a M.A. in Modern Art: Curatorial Studies from Columbia University, NYC; and a Master of Experiments in Art and Politics, Science Po, Paris. She attended the Curatorial Programme at de Appel Arts Center in Amsterdam (2006/2007) and has been curator-in-residence at Gertrude Contemporary in Naarm/Melbourne (2015), Kadist Art Foundation in Paris (2014), the Watermill Center in New York (2010), and Sørfinnset Skole in Nordland, Norway. She was Chief Curator of Matucana 100 in Santiago (2008-2010), previously Assistant Curator at Exit Art in New York City (2003-2005). Marambio is currently Guest Curator, Extended Research Project at the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Research Institute for the Study of Art from Latin America of the Museum of Modern Art. She is co-author of the books Slow Down Fast, A Toda Raja with Cecilia Vicuña (Errant Bodies Press, 2019) and Sandcastles: Cancerous Bodies and their Necro/Powers with Nina Lykke (forthcoming 2021).
Hema’ny Molina (Santiago, Chile) is a Selk’nam writer, poet, craftswoman and grandmother. Molina is president of the Selk’nam Corporation Chile, formed in 2015, which aims to dislodge the indigenous community from the stigma of “extinction.” The Covadonga Ona indigenous community gathers families of Selk’nam descendants who have maintained oral memory through the transmission of ancestral knowledge and connection over generations.
Bárbara Saavedra (Santiago, Chile) is a biologist specializing in ecology and conservation and has been the director of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) for Chile since 2005. She received her PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Chile. Her early work in Tierra del Fuego began as part of an interdisciplinary team of 100 scientists addressing the ecological, biological, and social implications of private forestry, where she studied the presence of Canadian beavers on the island. In 2004 she was appointed by WCS to make a biodiversity assessment for their new conservation project in Tierra del Fuego. Since then, she has led the implementation of a new science-based, multiple scale, locally integrated, globally relevant conservation model at WCS Karukinka Natural Park. Recognized as one of Chile’s top 100 women leaders by the country’s leading newspaper, she is director of the Ecological Society of Chile and member of the Civil Society Council of Institute of Human Rights of Chile, where she connects her vision of justice with biodiversity conservation. As a member of the eco-feminist collective Ensayos, she raises the voice of conservation and ecology beyond NGOs. Her advocacy successes at WCS include the protection of 70,000 hectares of peatlands through the Chilean Ministry of Mining and the declaration of the Admiralty Sound as a Marine Protected Area.