Cartographies of The Unseen

Tracing Planetary Entanglement and Exploring New Frontiers of Public Spaces 
(PhD Project, Basel Art Academy 2017 – 2020)

This research project explores epistemic shifts and forms of aesthetic inquiry, concerning new frontiers of public space beyond urbanism and colonial land-use logics. This study of public spaces focuses on eco-social landscapes existing on a vertical axis, where depth (minerals and resource extraction, subsoils, hydrologies, etc) and altitude (moving airborne particles, airspace, satellites, etc), as well as the cosmopolitical (epistemological disobedience and emerging forms of political assembly) inform new forms of spatial logics, perception, knowledge production, aesthetic practices and artistic pedagogies. This practice-based approach to research puts forward the journey though vertical landscapes as a form or methodology (with stages like mapping, navigation and devenir), using sensorial ethnography, participatory art, writing, video and installations. With these approaches I seek to address planetary entanglements across different layers of space, from the underground to exosphere and in apparently remote and disconnected locations from the Global South.

Putumayo River, Colombia. 2018

In-progress work. Experimental film based on field work carried out in the Summer of 2018 in the Pan-Amazon region (Putumayo, Cauca and Nariño). Colombia.

Ultimately, this project aims to set in motion current interpretations of publicness, aesthetic practices and cultural policy around land-use and territory. Until now, western epistemologies informing territorial regulation, resource extraction and ownership of space have fuelled a kind of human exceptionalism and the imposing rule of culture over nature. This attitude is still used to justify all sorts of irreversible interventions on the planet, while rendering public spaces (spaces for collectivity) as mostly flat, instrumental and urbanised. Therefore, this inquiry into unseen seeks to recognize new sites, aesthetic sensibilities and modes of attachment that counterbalance the logics of world-spanning systems of: influence (geopolitics, global economy, environmental policy, etc); exchange (connectivity, market-oriented global traffic, consumption, migration, etc) and dependency  (resource extraction, markets, migrant labour, climate change, etc). 

Overview, April 2018: