Más Arte Más Acción in Kassel – First stage in documenta fifteen (June-July 2022)

Between June 10th and July 10th, 2022 part of the team of Más Arte Más Acción arrived in Kassel, Germany to start the preparation of our programme of face-to-face events in documenta fifteen.

This first phase began with a week dedicated to the idea of Spaces to Reflect, a concept that has accompanied the processes of Más Arte Más Acción since its origins and that allowed us to establish a series of talks and conversations between Fernando Arias, Jonathan Colin, Alejandra Rojas and Joep Van Lieshout. These encounters allowed us to reflect on the creation of Chocó Base and the collaborations that this space provides, through artistic residencies. Public conversations took place about the development of the MAMA Doc Space in Kassel.

Using the idea of a Space to Reflect, we walked through the Aue park in Kassel with the MHK park authority to reflect on the climate crisis. This walk invited us to think and listen to multiple experiences through listening to members of the MAMA ecosystem from Coquí- Chocó. Fausto Moreno and Osneyder Valoy opened up conversations between the natural worlds in their region of Chocó and the man-made park in Kassel, Germany. Florian Kahl and Karola Krug from
Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, cultural and environmental specialist Sina Ribak and university professor José Fernando Serrano shared experiences about nature, culture and our ways of relating to these entangled networks from diverse contexts.

MAMA and its ecosystem participated in the New Rural Agenda, a planetary conference organised by Jatiwangi Art Factory, a member of Inter-lokal Lumbung. International policy makers, institutions, artists, village representatives and non-human inhabitants of the Earth were invited to meet and share reflections, rituals, texts, etc. to build an agenda for a common future.  

With Planet Abundance, a project conceived by Teresa Feldmann and Ailie Rutherford of Feminist Exchange Network (Glasgow), the COCO Collective and multiple attendees of the space had the opportunity to reflect and imagine a possible future in which the billionaires and power elites had abandoned the earth. Ailie and Teresa guided participants through the possibilities and recognition of the values and ways of life present in social groups that remain marginalised or excluded. The guests made interventions, drawings and phrases that were constructed and collected from the narrative reading by Teresa and Maria Andrade of Colectivo COCO, to imagine a planet of abundance.

In the second period of this phase, from the end of June to mid-July, the MAMA ecosystem focussed on activities such as guided readings, musical exchanges and conversations about resistance related to collective land rights and the importance of music and culture for the Afro communities of the region. 

During the guided reading of Oír Somos Río by Chocoan author Velia Vidal we travelled along the San Juan River in Chocó and followed the conversation and questions of Magdalena Wallpoth, editor of Grindwal Kollektiv. This book/object functions as a palindrome, a letter back and forth between her and Godula Buchholz, a back and forth downstream and upstream on the San Juan river. Two visions of Chocó, separated by almost 4 decades opened questions about the ways of seeing and enunciating this territory.

We welcomed our friends from Tambacum and Cumbaví. During Music and Resistance in the Gulf of Tribugá, from Nuquí, Chocó, Colombia; Lina Bryyi Moreno, Jhon Esteban Lasso and Enrique Murillo shared their experience of the musical cultural processes they have developed.

Cumbaví and Tambacum are two traditional music groups from the Pacific coast made up of several generations of musicians, who preserve and promote the musical tradition of the tamborito and the cumbancha, the latter being exclusive to the Gulf of Tribugá. We danced, sang and also talked about the social, political and cultural processes that take place in the Pacific communities around music and dance, and their relationship with the struggles for physical and cultural permanence in the territory.

The vicheras became a form of constant encounters, spaces to talk, listen to music and share reflections and food. This is how we came together to share the ancestral drink of viche Trago Selva prepared by Enrique and distributed by our friends from the lumbung kios. First in the SandersHaus space, between Jamaican food and the musical hosts of Eigenklangkollektiv and then in the MAMA Doc Space to cumbanchar (dance) with music by Cumbaví and Tambacum.

We were invited to be part of the Prince Claus Fund Mobile Lab together with Instar Cuba, to share meaningful experiences with the group of grantees. An initiative for co-thinking where activists, artists, cultural workers and managers of different processes shared their experiences.

For this occasion, Enrique Murillo from Cumbaví shared his knowledge about the process of collective land and rights of the Afro people in the North Pacific; Fernando Arias shared his work as an artist; Jonathan Colin shared the process of founding Más Arte Más Acción and Sandra Vega presented the work of the Corporación Jóvenes Creadores del Chocó, a dance and theatre initiative that works for the rights of youth in Quibdó.

Special thanks to Ken Seng Ong and Fariba Derakhshani of the Prince Claus Fund for the invitation to participate and to Instar Cuba for sharing together.

The last week was dedicated to truth and memory processes in Colombia, Germany and beyond. Spaces that were created and co-produced in collaboration with the Colombo-German Institute for Peace-CAPAZ and the Truth Commission. 

We took a silent walk to the Glass Haus where the installation of the logs carved by the bark beetles rests. This walk was an invitation to listen to and reflect on the nature that surrounds the Aue Park. Once in the greenhouse, we listened to the soundscape that accompanies the piece “Murmullos”, composed in collaboration between artist Andrés Torres and Peace Commissioner Alejandro Castillejo.

Murmullos reflects on the damage and wounds to nature and ecosystems caused by violence in Colombia. This piece shares the sentiments of the testimonial chapter of the Truth Report by the team led by Alejandro Castillejo, which collects accounts of the experiences of violence of the victims of the war in Colombia.

Afterwards, in a ritual reading by Alejandro Castillejo, we read multiple fragments of the chapter dedicated to the stories of the victims of almost 60 years of war in Colombia. Accompanied by the sound interventions of Andrés Torres, we were able to find ourselves among the mangroves of the Colombian Pacific, an ecosystem to which the scourge of the conflict was not indifferent and in which the voices of the victims recounted in daily details and painful experiences caused by the violence.

It was an emotional moment that took us from Kassel to Colombia and that opened a path for us to pay attention, listen and reflect on the processes to accompany the publication of the Report.

In the following days two conversations took place: the first was a meeting moderated by Lorena Díez, artist and museologist, in which the Afro leader of the Bojayá community and Truth Commissioner Leyner Palacios spoke with cultural managers Carmenza Rojas of the Mareia Foundation and Sandra Vega of Young Creators of Chocó.

These artistic processes have made it possible to work with young people and women in Quibdó and the Pacific through artistic practices that promote the recovery of the social fabric and critical discussion of the oppressions and structural racism that marginalises the inhabitants of Quibdó and Chocó, directly related to the intensity of the armed conflict on the bodies of young people and black women. These initiatives are the basis for a process of reparation, recognition and reconciliation of the violence experienced by the peoples of the Pacific during the conflict.

The second conversation, moderated by Pilar Mendoza, journalist and communicator, part of the German Node of the Truth Commission, with the participation of Commissioner Leyner Palacios, Stefan Peters from CAPAZ, and Liliana Gómez from the documenta Institut and the University of Kassel, explored the relationship between the processes of historical memory in Colombia and Germany.

The discussions and reflections of this conversation allowed us to understand the peace and memory processes that Germany has carried out throughout its history, and how these relate to and differ from the Peace Process in Colombia and the work of the Commission. Critical reflections were made on Germany’s responsibilities for its colonial past and its current relationship to geopolitics and responsibility for human rights violations.

To close this first phase of our programme and at the invitation of Ariane Andereggen, Ted Gaier, Kathrin Wildner from the collective Lxs Atratxs and Carmenza Rojas, the participants of the performance laboratory VERDADES, we reflected on the processes of truth and memory in Colombia through the question of the value of life.

Each of the participants put a price on their lives, delving into the value of life through the reading and exposition of fragments of testimonies of victims of the Colombian conflict. We shared the personal experiences that drove the choice of these values and reflections that these testimonial fragments left us with about the violence and the diversity of contexts we face.

In the following days, the “truth hostesses” extended and expanded the reflections on the violence in Colombia, the Peace Process and the role of the Truth Commission with the German and other audiences who attended the conversation spaces.

Each of these spaces was a place of reflection and encounter that allowed us to manage futures and create friendships and affection. It was an opportunity to find common networks and possibilities for creation. 

In anticipation of the second phase, we returned to Colombia to prepare for the closing of documenta and the end of our programme in September.

Amigos de Más Arte
Amigos de Más Arte