ATRATO [COLLABORATIONS] is a series of collaborations between Swiss-based and Colombian-based artists. Its focus is a river with bio-cultural rights; the Atrato in the Pacific region of Chocó, Colombia. It begins with dialogue between the artists and local groups and the communities that interrelate with the river.
ATRATO [COLLABORATIONS] addresses the relationship between humanity and the natural world from different geographic and cultural perspectives. It is intended as a long-term process between artists, activists, cultural and environmental organisations.
Más Arte Más Acción undertook a research trip to Switzerland in November 2018 to meet with artists and other professionals working in the fields of art and science, and with an interest in social and environmental issues.
Following this research a group of Swiss-based artists was invited to Colombia in June 2019. It included a journey along the Atrato to delve deeper into the issues facing the river and its communities. The artists met local organisations and leaders in and around Quibdó, Río Quito and Bojayá. Camilo Van Meerbeke accompanied the trip supporting the field production thanks to his previous work in Quibdó and facilitating the translation.
After the first trip to the region the participants have been developing their proposals and four projects will be developed. Más Arte Más Acción will act both as a mediator for all the different groups involved and also develop its own proposal. These include:
Knowbotiq / Arianne & Ted / Corp-oraloteca / Wontanara / Motete
“What is interesting in our case is that we are people from more or less three different life realities: Chocó, Bogota, Switzerland/ Europe. In this context, after the first orientation trip, a second phase of more intensive acquaintance is required, in which groups such as Corp-Oraloteca, Casa Wontanara, Motete tell us what strategies and self-organized practices they use in areas such as feminism, food sovereignty, gender discourses, anti-racism, or environmental activism. Sometimes at the risk of their lives, surrounded by international capital interests, mafia-like local structures, conflicts over the exploitation of gold deposits and related environmental pollution, land-grabbing and institutional racism by the state against the black and indigenous population.”
Participants: Rachel Aronoff / Selvacéutica
“To work further towards really pursuing a project co-constructed with the people of the Atrato River region and the Más Arte Más Acción collaborators, in order to bring more awareness and justice to the issues around a river with ‘human rights’ in an area poisoned already by mercury from legal and illegal gold mining, awareness raising about damage caused to cells by mercury may help people find the strength to instigate real change.”
SUENA RÍO ATRATO
Participants: Fernando Arias / Leonel Vásquez / Guardianes del Atrato
In 2015, Fernando Arias flew over the Atrato. He installed two GoPro cameras while the plane followed the river’s curves from Quibdó to Turbo. He had previously navigated the river and witnessed its challenges due to the conflict fuelled by drug trafficking, gold mining and deforestation. In order to give continuity to his investigation, Arias developed ATRATO [COLLABORATIONS] in order to give a voice to the river. His own proposal for ATRATO [COLLABORATIONS] is to work alongside sound artist Leonel Vásquez on ways to “listen” and gather the voices of the Atrato by asking “What is the river telling us?” They plan to involve Guardianes del Atrato (Guardians of the Atrato).
Participants: Más Arte Más Acción (Ana Garzón Sabogal / Alejandra Rojas Giraldo)
“In this way Atrato River became the core of this conversation and a good way to open out interesting questions regarding the “legal judgement/status”. Including: structural racism, minerals of the conflict, collective actions, power relations, ecological and scientific approaches to the current situation, bio-cultural rights, nature and capitalism. MAMA will be in a new role, making an active contribution as a creative actor, using our experience in mediation, curatorial practices and production.”
Atrato [Colaborations] is coordinated by Más Arte Más Acción Foundation and supported by Pro-Helvetia.