Terrestrial University: Ciné-Cipó – Cine-Liana at Amazon Tall Tower Observatory

Barbara Marcel in conversation

Barbara Marcel in conversation
Barbara Marcel in conversation

The impenetrable expanse of the Amazon rainforest and the proximity of locally accessible airwaves of a community radio station, scientific knowledge and traditional knowledge, global and regional processes – Barbara Marcel's artistic work is an attempt to sensitize people to the complex interaction of life processes in the Amazon region.

The Amazon rainforest is of global significance: it produces a large part of the planet´s oxygen, filters and reprocesses the world´s harmful carbon dioxide, impacts the water cycle affecting ocean cycles and stabilize the climate. Located in the middle of the Amazon rainforest the Amazon Tall Tower (ATTO) aims to study the interactions between the forest, soils and atmosphere of the region in order to understand the role of the Amazon basin for the Earth system. The tower is part of an international cooperation between Brazil and Germany, built and financed by INPA (Amazon Research Institute) and Max-Planck Institute.

In the artistic project »Ciné-Cipó – Cine-Liana« (2020) the Brazilian artist Barbara Marcel proposes a temporary transformation of the tower into a community radio workspace for a collaborative piece between natural scientists and two local activists and popular communicators of the Tapajós-Arapiuns river Extractive Reserve (Reserva Extrativista/ Resex Tapajós-Arapiuns). The scientific results and traditional knowledges are set in relation, forming an alliance for the defense of the Amazonian biodiversity. Atmospheric and earthly data are translated into popular communication via a radio show with spots, interviews and songs. During the process, scientific evidence and ancestral knowledges sometimes intersect and occasionally disconnect, while the scientific community listens and also learns more about the struggles in defence of the territories and local livelihoods of the Amazonian populations, demystifying universalizing assumptions.

The conversation between the artist and the curator, Bettina Korintenberg, will focus on the development process of the artistic inquiry evolving around encounters with the scientists and the local activists which sensitize for the complexity and heterogeneity of an interplay of life processes in the Amazon beyond set concepts of nature, environment and climate crisis.

The artist and director Barbara Marcel, who was born in Rio de Janeiro and earned her doctorate at the Bauhaus University Weimar, has for many years been engaged in interdisciplinary projects that investigate contemporary ecological and social problems and issues in an artistic and scientific way.