Regeneration and new narratives for a socioecological transition

Regeneration is “the process of renewal and growth that allows cells, organisms, and ecosystems to become more resistant to fluctuations or events that can alter them.”(1) This has been one of the guiding concepts for the development of our programs and projects in 2023, a period during which we have sought to contribute to new narratives addressing interspecies relationships and promoting comprehensive ways to coexist on this planet. Consolidating and internalizing transdisciplinary work methods have been a fundamental part of this journey, where community-driven scientific initiatives, artistic creations that explore the sensory and corporeal, promoting a re-valuing of traditional knowledge and biocultural memories, have emerged as crucial topics to enrich our collaborative efforts.

Experiences nurtured from various creative realms have fueled the emergence of new narratives to address the socioecological crisis (2). This year, we have sought to consider diverse ways to renew and regenerate the ecosocial fabric, to observe the soil, the forest, the sky, the sea, and space, recognizing ourselves in others.

Recent months have not only invited us to regenerate but have also called us to understand and appreciate the scope of our work in relation to present contingencies. One of the major milestones of nature conservation  in our country was the approval of the SBAP Law (3) or Law for the Nature, whose significance we strive to convey through content aligned with our educational vocation, aiming to create languages capable of reconnecting citizens with applied scientific conceptualizations.

Additionally, with the aim of generating encounters among diverse beings that inhabit temporal cycles, we set out to commemorate the 50 years since the civil-military coup as an inevitable social event, focusing on promoting a reflexion that poses new narratives on pain, reaching out to the idea of post-memory and its relation to the cycles and dynamics of nature (4).

In the artistic realm, we also conducted a new cycle of residencies in our privately protected area, Bosque Pehuén, in the Andean region of La Araucanía: Vagarosas (5), an artistic research project that explored the relationship between dance and geological movements, seeking to delve into human relationships through a metaphorical understanding of the connection people have with mountains. This initiative aimed to enrich discussions on nature conservation from a socioecological and cultural perspective.

Our reflections on the forests of the Andean region of La Araucanía have also addressed the biocultural knowledge they harbor, particularly regarding food in connection with ecosystem health through the creation of La memoria del bosque (Forest Memory) (6), a project has been a pivotal axis for the intersection of science and collaborative art to highlight reciprocity. Collective knowledge has been a crucial part of our projects, where we have sought to integrate the voices of communities working towards biodiversity protection. Our annual FMA Fund aims to support community and transdisciplinary work for conservation by replicable ideas in various territories of the country. This year, six initiatives were supported, including community water monitoring, the recovery of knowledge from women horticulturists, and creative routes on nature, among others. We shared some of these community experiences in a discussion held during the third Colloquium of the Chilean Society of Socioecology and Ethnology (Sosoet) in Concepción in the middle of this year.

Another collective knowledge project is Smart Forests from Cambridge University (7), a research initiative exploring how the realities of forests have been mediated by digitization, including the social, political, environmental, and scientific consequences of that process. For Chile, the focus is on forest fires in the La Araucanía region with an emphasis in Bosque Pehuén, serving as a reference space to continue thinking and projecting desirable futures in the face of multidimensional crisis we are experiencing.

We have advanced in Bosque Pehuén’s protection, working on management plans on this area, conducting research, and taking significant steps towards this place a Nature Sanctuary, with the preparation of a dossier that documents its biological and cultural richness and diversity, contributing to the conservation of temperate rainforests.

Additionally, we have engaged in scientific outreach initiatives, such as the Fungi Festival in Pucón, the National Science Festivals (FECI), and Ladera Sur Fest, where we conduct science and artistic mediation workshops with methodologies focused on promote socioecological education, alongside exhibitions of contemporary art exploring multiple languages and formats.

As we enter 2024, awake and ready to activate our critical spirit, aware that we are part of the necessary transformation for the protection of socioecosystems and well-being. We conclude this annual cycle with the following ideas that we will project forward:

 

  • Socioecological education should promote the appreciation of the myriad of beings with whom we coexist and also consider the cultivation of aesthetic sensibility.
  • Collaborative art serves as a platform to highlight transdisciplinary knowledge.
  • We must create instances of dialogue and bridges between scientific-academic knowledge and community knowledge to foster new models of understanding for the protection and restoration of ecosystems.
  • It is relevant to generate reflections inspired by various beings in nature, such as the fungi kingdom or the plant kingdom, as plants provide us with teachings about transformation and memory.
  • It is necessary to expand, question, and observe human constructs of time and the diverse planetary scales from various perspectives.
  • Transdisciplinarity should align with interdependence, reciprocity, creativity, empathy, and collectivity to work towards the care of the only habitable planet we have access to.
  • The need to contemplate new artistic and creative pathways is a continuous imperative.

Footnotes:

1. Definition formulated in the context of our Active Teachers program, under the theme “Reconnect to Regenerate: Art and Ecology in Education”: an encounter that fosters dialogue and exchanging experiences amongst teachers from various educational projects.

2. “New Narratives for Regeneration,” the theme of our Polygonal No. 4 held at the Interactive Museum Mirador (MIM), which brought together artists, scientists, and sensory experiences.

3. The SBAP Law, or the Law for Nature, establishes for the first time an institution that places biodiversity at the core of environmental policies, with the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Service.

4. Postmemory is a term that refers to the bodily recorded experiences of generations inheriting the consequences of traumatic events. This concept has been engaged in dialogue with studies on plant criticism and phytopoetics.

5. In this audiovisual production, you will be able to appreciate what the Vagarosas residency cycle was about.

6. Following a collaborative investigation with the biologist Constanza Monterrubio, focused on practices and knowledge related to wild foods, along with the creation of fanzines and collective workshops, a suitcase was crafted containing a variety of objects that invite us to explore our senses in connection with diverse biocultural identities.

7. In Chile, the initiative aims to generate transdisciplinary knowledge about forest fires, involving researchers from both the sciences and the arts, public services, and local communities, with a particular focus on La Araucanía.

 

(Español) Editorial FMA