“Forest Law” by Ursula Biemann at Quad, Derby, April 2017

“We have other indexes of richness. They measure in terms of how much money you have in the bank, how many cars you own, what clothing you wear. Here, the wealth indicators are clean air and water, spending time with your family and friends, knowing everyone in your community. This is considered wealth.

Info from the artists’ website

The project draws from research carried out by the pair in the oil-and-mining frontier in the Ecuadorian Amazon— one of the most biodiverse and mineral-rich regions on Earth, currently under pressure from the dramatic expansion of large-scale extraction activities. At the heart of Forest Law is a series of landmark legal cases that bring the forest to court and plead for the rights of nature. One particularly paradigmatic trial that has recently been won by the indigenous people of Sarayuku based on their cosmology of the living forest.

The project it a collaboration with Brazilian architect Paulo Tavares. It emerges from di­alogues—between us and our practices, the camera and the forest, and, most importantly, ourselves and the many people whom we encountered while traveling through Amazonia in November 2013.

Forest Law is a synchronized video projection (38 min.) shot with two cameras, a photo-text assemblage unfolding the background to these cases, and an artist book. Taken together, the collection of personal testimonies and factual evidence presented here expose the multiple dimensions of the tropical forest as a physical, legal, and cosmological entity.

Forest Law has been realized in a close reading of Michel Serres “The Natural Contract”.

The project is a commission by the Broad Art Museum at the Michigan State University. It includes the bilingual artist book Forest Law – Selva juridica.

in Live Uncertainty — Sao Paulo Biennial, opening September 10, 2016

and at the upcoming Sharjah Biennial, opening March 10, 2016

1’55 2-channel video excerpt of Franco Viteri in Sarayaku.



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