"Water Weavers"

Liquid Ecologies in Latin American Arts

My presentation discusses recent art and curatorial interventions on the river looking at the exhibition "Waterweavers" by José Roca and at a selection of artworks by Colombian artist and activist Carolina Caycedo, as part of the fluvial narratives of the earth and of what I conceive as liquid ecologies. They articulate critical responses to the current environmental crisis by bringing up and experimenting with the motives and media of liquids and specifically water while they use these as aesthetic materials. Whereas the exhibition "Waterweavers" maps the river in contemporary Colombian visual and material cultures, it also seems to invite us to unlearn the 'colonial mapping' through which rivers used to be imagined. The discussed works are interventions into the narratives of the Anthropocene – whose use in Western thought reproduces the lacunae of history about the diverse forms of violence, economic, racial, or political, into which environmental transformations are embedded –, as they aim to interrupt these silences and omissions by using liquids against the obliteration of a social crisis, deeply entangled with the violent man-made transformation of the river landscape. My presentation further discusses the use of liquids and specifically water as a media-reflexive dimension of art, mirroring a long engagement in Latin American arts with fluidity and liquidity as cultural metaphors that ground new analytical terrains.