The international platform of the fine arts Experimenta/Sur was set up in 2013 by the Siemens Stiftung, the Goethe-Institut and the artists’ collective Mapa Teatro – Laboratorio de artistas in Colombia. Its objective is to create temporary spaces for reflection, experimentation and dialogue.
During the thematic year Humboldt y las Américas, Experimenta/Sur was an integral part of the exhibition La naturaleza de las cosas: Humboldt, idas y venidas / The Nature of Things: Humboldt, Comings and Goings and brought artists, academics and scientists from Latin America, Germany and the USA together around the concept for the tejidos conectivos project (loosely translates as connective tissue). The performative lecture De bogas y remeros / Of Bogas and Rowers as well as the performance El carguero / The Carrier emerged as part of this. The performance El viaje del formol / Formaldehyde Trip was also shown.
El carguero / The Carrier
El carguero / Der Träger | Foto: Urniator Estudio
In his diaries Humboldt describes the gure of the porter in the colonial social system. The porters, men of African or indigenous backgrounds, carried travellers and goods on their backs. The performance artist Jean Lucumi links this gure with questions about education in today’s postcolonial societies, where the inequalities from the colonial system of enslavement and exploitation based on ethnicity continue to survive in a different form. The freight that Lucumi carries is the texts that shaped his school days. A burden that he discards in the course of the performance and which initiates discussion about the connection between education and global social orders.
El viaje de formol / the Formaldehyde Trip
El viaje de formol / Formalinreise | © Goethe-Institut/Urniator Studio
This performance presents a mythical world: the journey of the murdered Mixtec activist Alberta “Bety” Cariño through the underworld is depicted with the help of videos, songs and talking. During this politically surrealistic journey she nds companions in widows, enchanted animals and deities who accompany her to a rebirth ceremony. An axolotl soaking in formaldehyde simultaneously plays the role of storyteller, travel guide and a ghost object abducted during a colonial expedition. Humboldt had seen, drawn and described the Mexican “walking sh” axolotl in the waters around Mexico City. With this mythical narrative, the per- formance highlights the interdependent nature of the exploitation of natural resources and the oppression of Mexico‘s indigenous population.
De bogas y remeros / Of Bogas and Rowers
© Goethe-Institut/Urniator Studio
In this performative lecture, anthropologist Mara Viveros refers to one of the few texts by Humboldt in which he describes a human being and the physical nature of his work. She presents this text in contrast to the story of the everyday life of a man, and Afro-Colombian, who lives on the coast and is possibly a descendant of the man described by Humboldt. The reading by Julián Díaz and Liliana Angulo Cortés is accompanied by improvisations from Stephan Micus, who followed in Humboldt’s footsteps along his route on the Orinoco as part of the Experimenta/Sur.