In 2014, Fernando Arias and Jonathan Colin traveled down the Amazon from Leticia to Belen. Their journey came about following an invitation from Casa Daros, a gallery in Rio de Janeiro, to make a new work linked to an exhibition Cantos Cuentos Colombianos by Colombian artists. Based on conversations with people they met along the way, Arias made a video about how they imagined a better world.
The video focuses on two women with opposite visions of the world, a dialogue between reason and madness. On the one hand, a renowned scientist talks about the Amazon, its complexity, the challenges it faces and the politicians who have the power to preserve it. The other woman, who claims to have been born from the womb of a sheep transplanted to her mother believes the future is in God’s hands and claims that science does not exist. A transcript of the audio from the video is published in MaMa’s Better Than.
The idea for the trip arose in April 2012 when Eugenio Valdés and Bia Jabor from Casa Daros visited Fernando Arias inBogotá to discuss Cantos Cuentos Colombianos. He was invited to propose a project that reflected what he was currently doing to complement the work of previous years that would be presented in March 2013. He then proposed to travel from Colombia to the coast of Brazil, taking as its starting point the Chocó Base, crossing the Amazon to reach Casa Daros in Rio de Janeiro in time for the opening of Cantos Cuentos Colombianos. The trip, by air, water and land was an idea they had discussed for many years, but never had the opportunity to realise.
Arias and Colin had previously travelled extensively together but this was the first time they set out to explore utopia. And their conversations with strangers always began with the question – “How do you imagine a better world?”. There was no fixed route and their conversations focused on the dreams, messages and information emanating from people living in one of the most endangered regions of the world: the Amazon basin, which both unites and separates Brazil and Colombia.