Bosque Pehuén Residency Program: Multidisciplinary Nature Research Station
2022 |Forests of Fire

The Forests of Fire Cycle, held between January 17 and 31, included the participation of the Border Agency artists collective and the artist Sebastián Calfuqueo, who carried out research from different perspectives on the interrelationships between climate change, the ecological collapse, capitalism and system racism, and the way these elements are expressed in the territory through its forests and landscapes.

Forests of Fire is an exhibition project from Border Agency–composed of Sebastián Melo, Paula Salas and Rosario Montero–that questions what we define as natural or cultural, and which is articulated as a polyphony of voices with diverse interpretations of the forest. It already includes two exhibitions that explore the question: What place does the eucalyptus occupy in the experience of the Chilean landscape?

In the privately protected area (PPA) of Bosque Pehuén, the members of Border Agency’s interdisciplinary team researched the ancient forest in order to compare this type of ecosystem with that of the eucalyptus, making nocturnal audiovisual recordings. In addition, they made clay molds of the tree bark found in the forest, creating over 70 pieces. These resulted from a process of transferring the patterns of the tree trunks and stumps that remain in the forest, to then build an installation that will be exhibited at the Universidad Católica de Temuco and the Universidad de Valparaíso.

Sebastían Calfuqueo, who was especially invited to this residency by Border Agency, explored the behavior of water in the waterfall and created a performance in the water that is a continuation of a bodily, personal and poetic journey through wetlands, lakes, oceans, rivers and springs, in which he addresses the body and the historical relationships of water and life. His research included a visit to the Curarrehue Network of native gardens Wiñolfe Anumka, and conversations with the coordinator Romà Martí and his team, to understand the growth of ancient trees.

Bosque Pehuén is an area of great interest for these investigations, as it includes a humid temperate forest, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. At the same time, its proximity to the communities of Curarrehue and Palguín Bajo offered the resident artists the possibility to comprehend the issues of the territory, which are historically linked to the exploitation of forests and the interventions made in the landscape.

The works will be presented in April 2022 at the Art Gallery of the Universidad Católica de Temuco, and afterwards in the Extension Center of the Universidad de Valparaíso.

This residency is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage through the National “Fondart” for Creation and Production. We would like to thank Romà Martí, coordinator of the Curarrehue Network of native gardens Wiñolfe Anumka, and Daniela Gaete and the Universidad Católica de Temuco for their collaborations.

About the residents
Rosario Montero. Visual artist and researcher. Her work analyzes issues related to the representation of the landscape from a decolonial point of view, crossing the border between art and anthropology. She graduated in Visual Arts (PUC), Masters in Visual Arts (UC) and MSc in Digital Anthropology (UCL, London). During 2012 she was part of Martin Parr’s curatorship on Chilean photography for the English publication C Photo (Ivory Press) entitled “Nueva Mirada Latina”. She has exhibited in Chile, Spain, China, Mexico and Venezuela. She currently resides in London, UK, where she is pursuing a Doctorate in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths.

Paula Salas. Plastic artist and master in artistic research from the University of Amsterdam. She specializes in artistic research, linking her creative practice to academia and collaborative art. Her artistic practice focuses on community processes of identity creation, integrating tools from various fields such as anthropology, portraiture and cartography. She has had solo exhibitions and projects at MAC Santiago, Chile (2016), MAC Valdivia, Chile (2017), MAVI, Chile (2014) Galería Metropolitana, Chile (2015, 2007); Upominki Project Space, The Netherlands (2012); Tropen Museum, The Netherlands (2011); Stuart Gallery Chile (2010).

Sebastián Melo. Masters in New Media, Technology and Culture at Goldsmiths, University of London. His work problematizes new media and his experience of landscape, situating himself at the intersection between art and science. His first project, “Distant”, was awarded the Grand Prix at the Santiago International Documentary Festival (FIDOCS). His work has been published in Motion and Representation (MIT Press, 2015) and Digital Movement (Palgrave, 2015) among others. He was the Executive Producer of the interactive documentary “Quipu Project”, awarded by Ars Electronica 2016.

Sebastián Calfuqueo. Visual artist and Master in Visual Arts from the Universidad de Chile. Of Mapuche origin, his work draws on his cultural heritage to propose a critical reflection on the social, cultural and political status of the Mapuche subject within Chilean and Latin American society. His work includes installation, ceramics, performance and video, with the aim of exploring the stereotypes that occur at the crossroads between indigenous and westernized ways of thinking, and also to make visible issues around feminism and sexual dissidence. He has recently exhibited at Galería Patricia Ready, Galería 80m2 Livia Benavides, Galería D21, Parque Cultural de Valparaíso and MAC Santiago.

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