This blog is to record recollections of my experience and research in Brazil. In July I took part in wonderful Labverde program in the Amazon Rainforest. I have enjoyed the whole program immensely. It was absolutely amazing experience that will have a lasting effect on my life/art/practice! I am really grateful for having that opportunity!
I feel totally under the spell of the Amazon, the jungle has swallowed up my soul!
I will be sharing my experiences of each day of the program and reflections that follow it.
The delay with the blog is due to that ‘constantly alive timeless spell ‘and the fact that I lost my phone in Rio Negro, I was away from the internet for a long time and I did not wanted to burst that precious jungle spell by sitting on the front of the screen.
The Residency was possible by kind support of Arts Council England through the Artist International Development Fund.
www.sabinasallis.com


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Here is a recolection of the day one of the Labverde program and the beginning of the love for the place and its ambience.

With understandably  tired mind, and the biological clock slightly out of balance (I have arrived in Brazil that late night of the first day of Labverde), I was eager to start the art/ nature immersion and meet the organizers, and all the participants of the program. The first two days were planned to spend on the boat, on the river in and around Manaus.

The heat from the sun was strong, my mind was open and ready for the adventure!

That very morning there, I was thinking about how astonishingly our bodies can cope with the huge changes, long travel, lack of sleep. how strange and amazing that we can actually travel such vast distances in such short time!

I wanted to stay with that highten body awareness, the embodied feeling and cognition, staying in and with the body and with the excitement and curiosity.

I concentrated on that what can emerge from such highten awereness, I am putting that at the centre of my practice/ methodology. Focusing on the flow like experience, and observing what unfolds.
To situate myself in this new and unknown landscape and context, in a manner that is sympathetic to the existing structures, at the same time holding to the openness and attitude based on respect and wonder, is crucial to research that deeply rooted entanglement between mind/landscape/body/culture/nature.

For the first few days I was keeping reflective diary,  more sort of scribled reflections, poetic encounters and observations. The days were loaded with activities, all new and stimulating. So much to take in, and to take away, to absorb and then to release, and make the experiences visable through shared  fragments of it!

Many views, loads of eyes, and important note to myself- what emerges is crucial and of value!

The moment and movement in the spectacular meeting of the two rivers! The Amazon River-Rio Solimoes meets the Rio Negro!

The Phenomena that makes sense, that connects and persist!

One white, one black, the symbolic encounter,

The forces that shape the landscape!

The poetic encounter, one river forces into another to establish one, the unity, one flow, one force. The focus of the eye of the mind in the landscape.

Five meters long alligators, friendly monkeys, circular giant lily pods, captured sloth, people and their land,

Precious wild observations,

to many words drown in the black river, setting off with the sunset!

How we talk about things, about that nature culture continuity? How we throw our gazes? How we research and gather images?

In the Amazonas, so much stuff is the grandest, biggest, largest, special, everything is a ‘wow factor’ ‘image’ to take,

I will offer a bit of myself, breath for a jungle exchange,

The size of lungs to fit the organism!

The growth that enables! The human beings that can conquer their minds, to break away from the narrowing logic and the reductionsts hegemony of knowledge we too used to!

To think with the land!

The size of things never seen before, the smells, sounds and the atmosphere!

Trees that are growing in the water, abundant life of different shapes and sizes. The insects difficult to comprehend!

the white bird bigger than limited gaze in the familiar biological cycle, the whole bigger then me!

Dream like experience of diversity, overwhelmingly imprinting the patterns into the living mind!

Enveloping in the feeling of some strange return.

The happy forest of abundance with the species I have never seen before, unknown names in that perfect ecosystem.

Undomesticated wonder. The flowers on the trees, life size mimosas, yukkas in its place.

Lovely company, amazing food during the long journey on the boat up the Rio Negro. Amazonian dreams in a rocking hammocks, the night sky and the stars! Humbled mind was listening to the sounds of the nigh jungle!

 

 

 

 

 


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I have always dreamt about visiting the Amazon Rainforest, and the idea of having an opportunity for artistic engagement with such landscape had a dream like quality. For quite a while, I have been interested in the indigenous knowledges and the notion of nature culture continuum. I could clearly see how the research into the Amazonian Rainforest would fit with, and inform my wider artistic interest and practice.

I came across LabVerde sometimes a while ago, and it struck me by its location and methodology for a short but intense art residency. I have applied to take part in it, and I was lucky to receive Arts Council Support (Artist international Development Fund) that enabled me to participate in the residency. Labverde is a well thought programme of activities and events that is focused on providing environments, community, and creating the conditions for creative immersion in the Amazon Rainforest.

‘LABVERDE is designed for artists and creators who are eager to reflect on nature and landscape. The program will promote an intensive experience in the Amazon rainforest aiming to explore the connection between science, art and the natural environment.’ https://www.labverde.com/

My proposed project for LabVerde continued my ongoing thematic concern into the relationship between human knowledge, aesthetic experience and the natural environment, and it would further expand the visionary scenario of a positive and desirable infection of the ineffable state, the state which enables transition and transformation towards better, sustainable futures.

Drawing from anthropological ideas such as semiotic beings (all life is semiotic) (Eduardo Kohn ‘How Forests Think, Towards Anthropology Beyond Human’), and the framework of the ‘four ontologies’- animism, totemism, naturalism and analogism (‘Beyond Nature and Culture Dychotomy’ P. Descola), and deriving tools for research based on this progressive anthropologies, I would look for ‘the thinking matter’, ‘the manifestations of the virus’, ‘ interconnected patterns’, ‘The Infectious Agent’ of and in the researched place- the Amazon. Using this approach, and through imagining, written text and biomorphic drawings, I would creatively explore how we profoundly interact with complex ecosystems, and how mindful, humane and sustainable politics can grow out from appreciative and sensitive engagement with nature.

 

 


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