A space for contemporary art installed on the beach and open to the La Serena community, is part of Fundación Mar Adentro's cultural program for the 4th International Marine Protected Areas Congress, IMPAC4, which takes place between the 4th and 8th of September, 2017 in La Serena-Coquimbo, Chile.
This outdoor make-shift space which houses contemporary and international video art seeks to introduce a dialogue between scientific research and artistic creation within the context of marine conservation. In this cube, installed on the beach next to the venue where IMPAC4 takes place, designed by architects Josefina Fueyo and Jean Araya, seven videos will be projected continuously. Curated by Beatriz Bustos O.-Director of Culture, Art and Education of FMA-, the selected videos feature artworks that deal with themes related to fishing practices, the impact of migrations in coastal areas, marine animal life and its relationship with culture.
The program includes works by Jonathas de Andrade (Brazil), Eija-Liisa Ahtila (Finland), Fernando Arias (Colombia), Theo Jansen (Holland) and Gianfranco Foschino (Chile), among others.
The first of the series is O Peixe (The Fish, 2016, 37 min), by artist Jonathas de Andrade (1982), one of the most acclaimed artists in today’s Brazilian contemporary art scene, whose works are currently being presented in the MoMA and also are a part of the Guggenheim’s Collection, New York. His work refers to socioeconomic, cultural and urban themes with a focus on the northeast region of Brazil, Recife. De Andrade recomposes these concerns as a personal narrative loaded with stories and nostalgia, attempting to reconstruct history, collective identity, its urgencies and discomforts from a critical standpoint. His work has been shown in the most important museums of Brazil, and in individual and collective exhibitions in San Francisco, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Jordan, Istanbul, among others. In O Peixe the fishermen from a village on the northeast coast of Brazil perform the ritual act of embracing the fish they have caught. This affectionate gesture that accompanies the passage of death is a testament to the possibility of establishing a relationship between species that is not only imbued with strength, violence and domination.
Another outstanding and analytical work is Enjoy Your Meal (2008, 16 min) by Colombian artist Fernando Arias. National Prize of Arts of Colombia receiver in 1994, Arias has shown his work in the most important Latin American Biennials and in various museums in Sao Paulo, Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, among other cities. Through video, photography and installations, Arias generates works on conflicts related to sexuality, drugs, identity, religion, politics, nationalism, inequity and the conservation of nature. His work seeks to raise awareness on the need for a socio-ethical change. Arias currently develops a project called Mas arte más acción (More Art More Action), interdisciplinary work that questions social and environmental issues involving the most vulnerable sector of society.
In Enjoy Your Meal three stories concerning the global food chain are interlaced: industrial fishing of prawns destined for the European market; depletion of sea creatures caused by trawling; and the struggle of indigenous fishing communities within this scenario. Arias combines these elements with footage from Coqui, a Colombian village, and its Pacific coast to speak out about the fragility of the ecosystem and the blindness that exists behind the social and human impact in food abundance that is only destined for some.
Chilean Gianfranco Foschino presents his video Isla de Lobos (Island of Sea Lions, 2014, 6 min). Filmed from an oil tanker, this recording of the insular landscape of southern Chile marks formal novelties in his work: the use of traveling beyond the fixed image to create a contemplative aesthetic image, as well as the incorporation of the sound of the ship’s engine creating a counterpoint to the stillness and solitude of the landscape. The camera lets itself get carried away by the movement and rhythm of the waves, while the sound disturbs and generates a criticism towards the confrontation between human being and nature. Foschino (1983), is currently carrying out an artistic residence in Iceland, has presented his works at biennials and festivals in Cuenca (2016), Mexico City (2014), Sao Paulo (2013) and at the 54th Venice Biennale, 2011, and most recently had a solo-show in the Museum of Visual Arts of Santiago, Chile (2016).
From the French Etienne de France, who dedicates his work to the relationships between the concepts of natureand landscape, we are presented with his video Tales of a Sea Cow (2012, 58 min). It portrays the story of a team of scientists that achieved the first ever decoding of animal communication, the song of a marine mammal—the Steller sea cow—a species which until now was believed to be extinct since 1768. The film was made along the coast of Greenland and is part of a series of works that include installation, sculptures, photography and texts. Reality and fiction, history and imaginary, come together to tell a surprising story.
Two brief and tragic stories add onto this reflective and analytical program. Irish surfer and activist Alex Monteith (1977), residing in New Zealand, presents her work Shadow V; 13 Shots into the Night (2017, 3 min). It is the recording of the storm Rachel that devastated the west coast of Ireland in 2014: cataclysm is seen transformed into a work of art. These kinds of storms, which were once regarded as one-in-50 years, are so strong and harmful that the damage they cause can affect a country’s entire economy. Storms each cause unique characteristics over the water surface, a complex fabric constructed through images that recall the ancestral descriptions of Celtic mythologies and more recently the attacks of the IRA.
Finnish video artist, director and photographer Eija-Liisa Ahtila (1959), one of the most awarded filmmakers in the field of video art, presents Fishermen / Études n.1 (Fishermen / Study n.1) about a group of West African fishermen trying to embark on a boat in the midst of strong winds, and that fail after several attempts. Their frustration evokes the desperation of those who seek to cross borders in migrations. Ahtila’s work questions the relationship between one’s own body and that of another, the feminine condition, the construction of the self, perception and mental life. Her work has been exhibited at the MoMA in New York, Tate Modern in London, Jeu de Pomme in Paris and Neu Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Ahtila has received numerous awards, such as honorable mention at the 48th Venice Biennale, 1999. She is also a member of the Finnish Academy of Arts.
Finally, the program also includes a teaser of Strandbeesten, a documentary of the life and work of artist Theo Jansen, directed by German Alexander Schlichter. Jansen (Holland, 1948) has blurred existing barriers between engineering and art through his creation of enormous kinetic sculptures that come to life as autonomous organisms. Elements of aeronautics and robotics coexist in his pieces, from the “painting machine”, a robot that traces graffiti on a wall, to the Strandbeest series, the creatures in which this documentary focuses and have made him a key figure in contemporary art today. These creatures move with the force of the wind that unfolds by the sea. The complete version of the documentary will be shown within the facilities of IMPAC4.
* Cubo Arte Fundación Mar Adentro. Contemporary Art and Marine Conservation.
Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7, from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm. Friday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm hours. Peñuelas Norte Beach, in front of Hotel Enjoy. Free entry.
Complete program and more information here.