Ensayos: Hydrofeminist METitations

Søssa Jørgensen, Wild Living Marine Resources Belong to Society as a Whole. Performance presented as part of Ensayso #4, Kurant, Tromsø, 2016. Photo: Christy Gast. [Alt text: A performer wearing a wetsuit floats in a fjord surrounded by mountains]

Ensayos: Hydrofeminist METitations Listening Series

As part of their digital residency at the New Museum, Ensayos practitioners will launch three podcasts. Drawing from Ensayos’s transdisciplinary work, 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.

I. July 20, 2020
Hydrofeminist METitation: Eastern Australia: A lesson in water care drawn from a “creekulum” / A speculative mystery “The Bringers of the Viral Red Dust” / A somatic exercise in “Mangrove Tuning” / A sorrowful interview with an ichthyologist / A song about tiny crustaceans and microplastics

II. July 27, 2020
Hydrofeminist METitation: Norway: A glaciorhythmic audio collage from the Arctic/ On law and poetry/ Walk along the Holsbekken Creek leading to a canyon of controversies/ A rowing journey/ Song sung by farmed sea salmon

III. August 3, 2020
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?)

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 each Hydrofeminist METitations Podcast:

Ariel Bustamante (La Paz, Bolivia) edited and mixed the sound for the complete series. He is a self-taught artist whose practice concentrates on long-term processes of both craftsmanship and experimental research. Based on the physical and social aspects of listening and conversation, Bustamante produces highly complex auditory spaces informed by the production of experiential inquiry methods. In 2016, Bustamante produced Conversation Room, a public sound sculpture installed in the center of Helsinki City, Finland. Bustamante has written for the European Hz-Journal Magazine, Sweden. Bustamante has exhibited his projects at Harvestworks, New York; Linda Gallery, Beijing; The Transitio Electronic Arts Festival in Mexico City; and Liquid Architecture, Melbourne; the National Museum of Fine Arts, Chile; Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, among others.

Catalina Jaramillo guides listeners through each act of the podcasts. Jaramillo covers environment and sustainability for PlanPhilly and WHYY. She tells stories on how climate change, pollution, and policies regulating air, water, land, energy, food and waste affect residents on their everyday lives. Before joining WHYY, she wrote and produced stories for publications in New York City, Mexico and Chile. She has taught journalism in Chile and at CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in NYC. She has been a Metcalf and a Fulbright fellow, and is a graduate of Columbia School of Journalism. She was born and raised in Santiago, Chile, and has been living in Philadelphia since 2014.

Dr. C.F. Black (Gold Coast, Australia) is an intellectual explorer and a writer. She has a Phd in Law, Griffith University, Australia. Her academic works include A Mosaic of Indigenous Legal Thought: Legendary Tales and Other Writings (Routledge, 2017) and The Land is the Source of the Law: A Dialogic Encounter with an Indigenous Jurisprudence (Routledge, 2011). Her intellectual training comes from her Australian Aboriginal ancestry and her travels throughout Native America and other Indigenous worlds. Both her research and travels have shaped her understanding of how to interact with both plant beings and other beings on the Earth in a lawful manner. She is now developing online courses to teach this knowledge to the general public. She is also an artist, photographer, author of short stories, and is now developing her skills as a playwright.

Caitlin Franzmann (Brisbane, Australia) is an artist based in Brisbane who was trained as an urban planner before completing a Bachelor of Fine Art at Queensland College of Art in 2012. Franzmann creates installations, performances, and social practice works that focus on place-based knowledge and clairsentience. Her work has been featured in exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the National Gallery of Victoria, Naarm/Melbourne, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and Kyoto Art Centre, among others.

Sarita Gálvez (Naarm/Melbourne, Australia) is a mother, educator, physiotherapist, and received her PhD in Education at Monash University. She is interested in land and water-based pedagogies and textile poetic thinking. She coordinates a more-than-human pedagogical program called creekulum along the Merri Merri creek on Wurundjeri country, is a founder member of Latin American feminist collective La colectiva de Abya Yala, and member of her local mutual aid group East Coburg Community Care in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia.

Lynne Van Herwerden (Magnetic Island, Australia) is an ichthyologist and Senior Lecturer at the James Cook University Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture. Dr. Van Herwerden engages in original research that applies genetic tools to inform conservation and management of coral reef species, based on field and/or experimental studies. She studies whales, sharks, sawfish, turtles, sea snakes, coral reef fishes, and the impacts of microplastics on coral reef organisms and their food webs.

Geir Tore Hølm & Søssa Jørgensen (Skiptvet, Norway) each have art practices that include video, photography, sculpture, sound, performance and installations. Together they have mediated, taught, and written about contemporary art since 1993 when they initiated Balkong, an apartment exhibition space. Together with artists from Thailand they initiated Sørfinnset skole/the nord land in Oarjelih Bájjdár/Gildeskål, Nordlánda/Nordland. Since 2003, this ongoing project focuses on exploitation of nature, exchange of knowledge and small-scale architecture in the field of a broad aesthetic understanding of ecological realities of society, humans and nature. Parallel to individual exhibition practices, Søssa has worked long-term with radio and sound art projects in collaboration with Norwegian peer Yngvild Færøy and Geir has nurtured a wide art practice informed by his Sámi ancestry. Since 2010, Øvre Ringstad farm is the center of their collaborative practice.

Randi Nygård (Oslo, Norway) is an artist, curator and writer based in Oslo who received her MFA from Kunstakademiet i Trondheim, NTNU, 2006. Her work often departs from scientific facts about how nature influences and is a fundamental part of society and culture. In 2014 she was honored with a 5-year working grant from the Norwegian state. Her work has been exhibited internationally at Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki, Greece; YYZ Artist Outlet, Toronto; Kunstverein Springhornhof, Germany; and Museo Nazionale di Sant’Angelo, Roma, Italy. Exhibitions in Norway include Kunstnernes Hus, Kurant, QB gallery, NoPlace and Fotogalleriet.

Karolin Tampere (Lofoten, Norway) is an artist and curator based in Lofoten, Norway. She has a particular interest in collaborative practices, sound, and listening. Since 2004 she has regularly contributed to the “forever lasting” art project Sørfinnset Skole/the nord land, and together with Åse Løvgren initiated the ongoing collaboration Rakett in 2003. Tampere has been a part of Ensayos since 2010. Her most recent writing appears in the British Council-commissioned publication Where Strangers Meet on the work of Futurefarmers. Currently she has the position as curator at the North Norwegian Art Centre in Svolvær. Together with Hilde Mehti, Neal Cahoon, and Torill Østby Haaland, Tampere co-curated LIAF-Lofoten International Art Festival 2019, which received the Norwegian Critics annual prize.


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.


Artist commissions at the New Museum are generously supported by the Neeson / Edlis Artist Commissions Fund.

Artist residencies are made possible, in part, by:
Laurie Wolfert
The Research & Residencies Council of the New Museum

Presentation of “Hydrofeminist METitations” has been assisted by:

Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

Norwegian Consulate General in New York

Further support is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

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