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Copyright: Goethe-Institut São Paulo

Well living or living well


There are various native peoples of the modernly called American continents who have extremely refined ideas on how to conduct life more fully, in harmony and balance with the worlds to which they belong. Worlds in which everything that exists has rights and duties, roles and functions; worlds where everything participates in cosmopolitical communities.

In this sense, "living well" is far from the ontology of work, social welfare, Western democracies, the ideals of bourgeois life and aspirations for upward mobility and material wealth and pleasure, whether professional or sexual.
For many Amerindian communities, this is expressed in formulations like uma qaman a (Aymara), sumak kawsay (Quechua), Küme mogen (Mapuzungun), teko porä (Guarani), that can be loosely translated into English as “living well”, and which in Spanish has been translated by notions such as “vivir bien" or “buen vivir”. We say vaguely translated, for "living well" is not just a concept, an idea or something simply translatable. “Living well” takes us back to pre-colonial, pre-American, pre-capitalist ontologies. “Living well” is above all a collective ethical and existential engagement, a cosmopolitical implication, and even cosmopoetical, something that must be practiced and lived night and day in a community. “Living well” may be a way of thinking the community that is beyond the human, beyond what is strictly perceptible and immediately present, and in this it is also a projection, an invention of possible future worlds.

In this sense, “living well” is far from the ontology of work, social welfare, Western democracies, the ideals of bourgeois life and aspirations for upward mobility and material wealth and pleasure, whether professional or sexual. Ultimately “living well” is not an individual relationship, with oneself and for oneself. In “living well” what is at stake are the economies of sensitivity and not finances, distributions and organizations of space and beings as well as the maintenance and guarantee of ex-centric modes of existence and the possible relations and ways to live and share in the worlds to which we belong. This may be the beginning of a fundamental perspective position: we belong to worlds and not they to us; and this is not a mere game of inversion of words but an ethically singular existential position.

The violence that founded the Americas is noteworthy, and with this we refer particularly to the violence against indigenous peoples, against the masses of enslaved and deported people from the African continent, the violence towards women and children.Violence that persist to this day and which manifests itself in several ways. Therefore, the notion of “living well” should not be confused with a set of abstract and universal rules to apply regardless of territory, communities and those involved. “Living well” is not a series of precepts, much less a moral code, as it refers to different and irreducible existential perspectives, specific speech places. Places which if they cannot be exempted from their historical, biological and social qualities, nor can they be reduced to these. That is why it becomes fundamental to pay attention to different possible perspectives from thee viewpoint of “living well”.



María Galindo

She is co-founder of the group Mujeres Creando

Bolivia

María Galindo is Bolivian anarchist and feminist. She is co-founder of the group Mujeres Creando ("Women Creating"), launched in 1992 in La Paz, Bolivia. The group disseminates feminist theories through street actions, video productions and its own newspaper, and works to counteract homophobia.


Baby Amorim

Coordinator of the institute Ilu Obá de Min

Brasil

Baby Amorim is coordinator of the institute Ilu Obá de Min. She is a feminist and actively promotes African culture in Brazil.


Damián Cabrera

Author

Paraguay

Damián Cabrera is a Paraguayan author whose works focus primarily on his country, the three national borders, but particularly the border between Brazil and Paraguay. In 2012 he was awarded the Roque Gaona Prize for his book, Xiru.


Baby Amorim

Coordinator of the institute Ilu Obá de Min

Brasil

Baby Amorim is coordinator of the institute Ilu Obá de Min. She is a feminist and actively promotes African culture in Brazil.


Oscar Vega Camacho

Professor

Paraguay

With an academic background in Hispanic language and literature, Oscar Veja Camacho has published numerous books and is also a university instructor.


Daniel Munduruku

Author

Brasil

Daniel Munduruku is one of the most significant and best-known indigenous Brazilian writers internationally. He is a member of the indigenous people of the Munduruku. He is president of the Instituto Indígena Brasileiro da Propriedade Intelectual and director of the Instituto Uk'a - a casa dos saberes ancestrais. He is a consultant for the Museu do Índio in Rio de Janeiro and also teaches there.


Elvira Espejo

Plastic artist, weaver, storyteller and poet

Bolivia

A graduate from the National Academy of Fine Arts in La Paz, she has experience in the field of fashion design and multimedia. She was Associate professor for the Duke program in the Andes 2005. Currently director of the Musef in La Paz, she also participates in the Museal Episode.


Suely Rolnik

Psychoanalyst, curator, critic of art and culture

Brazil

Full professor at PUC-SP, coordinates, among other programs, the Center for Subjectivity Studies and Research.


Amilcar Packer

Photographer, visual artist, and philosopher

Brazil

His works in video and photography comment on the limits of the body and its relationship to space. Coordinator of P.A.C.A. (Program for Autonomous Cultural Action); he was nominated for the PIPA Prize in 2012.

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Amilcar Packer talks about the project Episodes of the South.

Juan Ñanculef Huaiquinao

Researcher

Chile

Mapuche investigator at the National Corporation for Indigenous Development of the Republic of Chile, is an engineer specialized in business administration.

Conceived and organized by Goethe-Institut La Paz, Goethe-Institut São Paulo, Amilcar Packer