Art, science, bio-sculpture, agroecology and food heritage come together in the Andean Araucanía

The Networks Cycle of our Bosque Pehuén Residency Program: Multidisciplinary Nature Research Station 2021 will take place from March 22 until April 25 in our privately protected area of conservation in the Andean Araucanía.

Constanza Monterrubio (biologist), Claudia Müller (visual artist), Emiliano de la Maza (industrial designer and sustainability educator) and Jasmin Märker (visual artist) will carry out research related to the care for nature and the phenomenon of networks present in nature, incorporating artistic, scientific and social elements to their work.

Research on the biocultural memory of food, explorations with ceramics to better understand the workings of water and its relationship with the humid temperate forest, bio-sculptural experiments and learning from ancestral traditions of agriculture present in the Araucanía to replicate such ancestral traditions in urban vegetable gardens, are all part of the projects that will be carried out during this cycle of our residency program.

Towards the end of 2019, following the call for entries, 65 outstanding submissions were received from a variety of countries. As mentioned by Maya Errázuriz, Director of this program, “We came up with the idea of creating more general themes that would unite the different submissions within a similar theoretical framework and that would eventually inspire collaborations between selected residents. The concept of networks, is a word that resonates with our purpose because of how we collaborate with various institutions to fulfill our purpose, as well as creating networks of privately protected areas of conservation, and some of the interpretations that we saw in the submissions were analogies to water, mycorrhizae, connections between trees below the earth, collaborative-community work, among many others.”

Among the participating residents is Mexican biologist Constanza Monterrubio, who is currently undertaking a post-doctorate at the Universidad Católica de Villarrica on the biocultural role of food in the Araucanía Region. Constanza will take exploratory walks through Bosque Pehuén to document and collect wild foods with the aim of creating an inventory of edible plants. The inventory will be complemented by products from neighboring community gardens to create a cookbook which will be shared in various spaces in the region and will include recommendations on sustainable foraging practices of wild foods in the forest.

Visual artist Claudia Müller, on the other hand, will research on the role of woody debris in the forest and its relationship with water. In Bosque Pehuén, she will be developing an interdisciplinary work on water producing an installation on the hydrographic system present in this territory, with a change in scale, for as to visualize its specific impact on a territory.

As for industrial designer and sustainability educator Emiliano de la Maza, he will be working upon the concepts of soil regeneration in natural spaces that have been intervened by humans, and the key knowledge that this phenomenon can contribute to urban agricultural practices. In parallel, Emiliano will seek to re-learn concepts of agroecology and permaculture from the Mapuche worldview and study how these are approached in the neighboring territory to Bosque Pehuén.

Finally, visual artist Jasmin Märker will attend the program remotely, from her workshop in Ireland due to the current travel limitations imposed by the pandemic. Jasmin will carry out an exploration of Bosque Pehuén’s ecosystems and the relationships between species, especially plants and fungi. She will seek to understand how human activity has altered the relationships between species and the way in which conservation strategies are remediating the effects of environmental destruction. This will be done via a series of bio-sculptural experiments that symbolically reflect the connections between human activity and non-human ecosystems. Her experiments will include the fabrication of molds through 3D modeling or vacuum forming, as well as organic materials such as agar and soils transformed by non-human organisms.

During the residency program, the participants will have the opportunity to deepen their learning among themselves and with members of our team on scientific, cultural and territorial themes related to soil regeneration, fungi, climactic and water systems as well as a general history of this territory from a social and natural point of view. In addition, those who are physically in Bosque Pehuén will be able to expand their conservation knowledge and experiences in a location that was especially designed for this purpose.