Ec(h)osystems
Brief interviews that compile visions and reflections of people from multiple disciplines, fields of work and with diverse points of view, around the issues that are being addressed in " Thresholds. How to Tie Time Together?"
1:
How do you assimilate or are you assimilating these times of epochal transformation? How has your intimate experience been in the face of the apparent transformation the world is undergoing?
Andrea Meza Torres, anthropologist, investigator and scholar / Mexico City / October 2021 At the beginning of the ….. (+)
Andrea Meza Torres, anthropologist, investigator and scholar / Mexico City / October 2021

At the beginning of the pandemic, time and space suddenly changed. Our lives retreated into the space of home. What at first seemed like a slow temporality, gradually became a compression of space... and, in this way, life through Zoom and Whatsapp began to gain ground. Virtual space opened up and expanded. Gradually, I began to inhabit this space to unburden the feeling of loss of corporeality. As my body became an "other", I developed a virtual personality. Today, I spend my time messaging on Whatsapp since dawn, with many people - very intensely and in a fragmented way. I spend my time engaging in diverse and simultaneous "chats". I send messages and wait for people to respond when they want to; I share intimate thoughts, and then I do various chores around the house until... at some point, the replies start coming in... and it's exciting to read or listen to them. Exchanges can be sporadic and/or fleeting... but they can also be long and generate infinite intimacy. Virtual space lacks the boundaries that can be established through the body. (-)
Johannes Gierlinger, artist and filmmaker / Tirana, Albany / October 2021 I think there are many questions that come up ….. (+)
Johannes Gierlinger, artist and filmmaker / Tirana, Albany / October 2021

I think there are many questions that come up and concerns me. Can current radical transformations be recognized in the accelerated time we live in? Does this acceleration creates a delirium in which we are no longer able to keep up? A delirium where people work and kept in check. In addition, what is left is that people flee into the private. It´s a kind of retreat. This retreat, this intimacy, this spiral is deceptive and fatal. It gives even more power to those whose work and ideas are supposed to be a radical change in favor of less. Their work is based on oppression. A look at history shows that the phases of (apparently) calm and retreat are deceptive. Are we sleepwalkers of a new age? My intimate experience, based on this time, was to get an eye on this with the means of art, to look outwards (rather than inwards), to document the breaks, to question them and to make these moments accessible to an audience. (-)
Karen Holmberg, archaeologist  / New York City / October 2021 This time period, to me, feels like a flood (or a ….. (+)
Karen Holmberg, archaeologist  / New York City / October 2021

This time period, to me, feels like a flood (or a violent storm surge in a time of sea-level rise, perhaps?) of transformations that we barely understand. As someone who studies volcanoes, I could equate the feeling of reading the newspapers each day to seeing an approaching pyroclastic flow. The superheated clouds from these flows look at first like dust but they are superheated gases and tiny glass particles that travel at extremely high speeds, cutting down and sweeping up everything in their path. My instinct is to be very still as a counter-balance to the rush of so many changes. I read an opinion essay recently about US parents not feeling the impetus to vaccinate their children against COVID. The author noted a ‘moral calm’ that should not exist and opposed it to ‘moral panic’, which stems from exaggerated or misleading claims about the harm of a phenomenon. The author was using the phrase ‘moral calm’ as something we should not feel right now. I have a personal desire, though, to find some of the stillness that it seems to imply in the midst of all that is rushing toward us, particularly through environmental degradation. I’m very aware of my smallness but trying not to give in to panic because that leads to paralysis. (-)
Silvia Baptista, urban agriculture, quilombola and feminist / From the periphery of Rio de Janeiro / October 2021 I ….. (+)
Silvia Baptista, urban agriculture, quilombola and feminist / From the periphery of Rio de Janeiro / October 2021

I don’t know if I am assimilating the quick transformations from our time. I used to oscillate between an indignation state and a crying state, of pain, of prostration. On the balance point between these two poles there is action. I’m oriented by political and solidary action. There I put my hopes, my utopia, my ideas for building a future. (-)
Federico Martelli, biologist and MA in Architecture in Emergent Technologies and Design / Rotterdam / November 2021 ….. (+)
Federico Martelli, biologist and MA in Architecture in Emergent Technologies and Design / Rotterdam / November 2021

Although I do believe that we are going through important transformations, I feel that I always go back to the basics of my biology studies, where you really learn and understand that the times in which you live will never truly mean a peak or a break. I'm basically an optimist and feel a kind of fifteen-year-old yearning to know what's going to happen in the next few years. The radical events of the last few months can serve as catalysts to begin to imagine processes that are necessary, such as post-capitalist futures or post-human futures. (-)

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2:
What knots to connect, attend to, untie or reknot in these times?
Andrea Meza Torres, anthropologist, investigator and scholar / Mexico City / October 2021 The experience of ….. (+)
Andrea Meza Torres, anthropologist, investigator and scholar / Mexico City / October 2021

The experience of establishing virtual and fragmented relationships generates changes in our intimacy. The prolongation of virtual space has repercussions on the way we feel, and we begin to perceive its effects on the way we remember. Our identity is transformed when memories that were buried in oblivion are uncovered. What we thought we had overcome, returns and puts us to the test once again. A moment to rethink certain stages of our life emerges. Personally, I felt the need to reconnect with my adolescence and with people of "my generation". I realized that my generation is "broken" and marked by migrations, gaps and divisions that do not allow us to think of ourselves as a group. Those of us who were born around 1977 do not feel identified with those our age... When I see generations before mine, I think that they do have a group memory, and this makes me want to connect with the past and resume temporalities with my contemporaries.   (-)
Johannes Gierlinger, artist and filmmaker / Tirana, Albany / October 2021 The now is a place where the present and the ….. (+)
Johannes Gierlinger, artist and filmmaker / Tirana, Albany / October 2021

The now is a place where the present and the past exist side by side and influence one another. A kind of knot that has to be disturbed again and again. Speaking (language, writing, thinking, filming, etc.) is breaking up the continuum of a past narrative. I am thinking of Walter Benjamin's 'Theses on the concept of history' and the lines: “To articulate the past historically does not mean to recognize it 'the way it really was'. It means to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger.” I think the tension between past and present must be subject to constant care: to make the suppressed past(s) visible, to visualize the constant catastrophe (in the sense of Benjamin's 'Angel of history'), in order to see and recognize the flashing danger. Perhaps there are certain connections between the work Umbral by Juan Emar and the writings of Benjamin, which are for me a thought-provoking impulse for times like these. It opens thoughts like: realizing knots, creating connections, rethinking one's own biography, thinking of a collective biography or memory, recognizing flashing dangers, the history in solidarity with the dead etc. (-)
Karen Holmberg, archaeologist  / New York City / October 2021 We need to create new forms of community that are ….. (+)
Karen Holmberg, archaeologist  / New York City / October 2021

We need to create new forms of community that are more tightly knotted. We need to find better ways of communicating between communities and in that sense we need to cut the knots that prevent the free transfer of information or energy with a very sharp knife. We need to tie multiple, tight knots attached to strong carabiners that tether us to the planet that created us and realize that we do not exist because of it. We are it. The Earth generated us and life outside of the Earth is not life and is not viable. Environmental harm is self-harm. We should probably put some chalk on our hands to hang on for dear life.  (-)
Silvia Baptista, urban agriculture, quilombola and feminist / From the periphery of Rio de Janeiro / October 2021 My ….. (+)
Silvia Baptista, urban agriculture, quilombola and feminist / From the periphery of Rio de Janeiro / October 2021

My political action takes place in Coletiva Popular de Mulheres (Popular collective of women) and Teia de Solidariedade Zona Oeste do Rio de Janeiro (Solidarity Web - Rio de Janeiro West Side). We act in the vast west outskirts of this city that concentrates riches with highest inequality indicators. 

Since the beginning of our organisation of peripheral women in 2006, we connected women, territories, insurgency, quilombagem * and everything that feeds our body-territories: like urban agriculture, the field and the city, the farm and the kitchens, music, dance, poetry, the many different forms of art and craftwork...

We connect the academy and the slums, science and tradition. We are the heirs of ancestral, traditional knowledge. At the same time, we have been investing in scientific research through our taxes and we have the right to scientific and technological information. This overlapping between different matrices of collective knowledge contributes to untie the primordial knot and to advance in more complex, central knots.

The primordial knot is the colonial one, because it imprisons us in a thinking matrix of submission, subalternity. Therefore, we broke the Eurocentric knowledge with the universal one. In the middle, there is a gordian knot that we will only untie together – definitely break up with the capital to build the post-capitalist society.

* Quilombagem:  it is a noun that refers to quilombos. Quilombos were remote places where enslaved people who managed to escape found sanctuary and protection. They had their own internal organisation and they also sheltered indigenous people and, eventually, socially unprivileged white people. They existed during the whole slavery period in Brazil. Quilombos still exist nowadays, but they have evolved and are quite different nowadays. (-)
Federico Martelli, biologist and MA in Architecture in Emergent Technologies and Design / Rotterdam / November 2021 ….. (+)
Federico Martelli, biologist and MA in Architecture in Emergent Technologies and Design / Rotterdam / November 2021

These times I have to untie knots in my mind that were tightened from being there unattended. I need the calm and tranquillity to give slack to these knots that only need to stop being in tension to loosen. I imagine that, depending on the point of view, you can consider the mind as a great knot of neurons or as a great network of relationships. It is necessary to take care of the mind so that it serves as a network, because when it goes about as a knot nothing happens and memories are lost. (-)

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3:
Individual questions
Andrea Meza Torres, anthropologist, investigator and scholar / Mexico City / October 2021 What could be the meaning of ….. (+)
Andrea Meza Torres, anthropologist, investigator and scholar / Mexico City / October 2021

What could be the meaning of both a decentralized view of the human being and a broad, transcultural spirituality when looking for other ways of living together?

It could mean a "transmodern" view of societies and of dialogue. That is, a vision that does not have the individual at its center, but rather seeks dialogue between different groups and societies. On the level of spirituality, it would be a kind of inter-spiritual, inter-cultural dialogue... joint prayers, new spaces... (-)
Johannes Gierlinger, artist and filmmaker / Tirana, Albany / October 2021 History is a lived memory. There are memories ….. (+)
Johannes Gierlinger, artist and filmmaker / Tirana, Albany / October 2021

History is a lived memory. There are memories that need to be dug out to become or stay alive. Your shovel is the film camera. Could you quickly describe your artistic approach and endeavour revolving around the notion of searching for something in the past that helps to create a better future? 

In my work I try to use essayistic means to examine questions about history, past and collective memory and to make the breaks and connections between past events and the present visible. Also in regard to how a future could look like. Current events or conditions are the starting point for my films. Thus, I am investigating and questioning what paths have been taken, what historical events and patterns can be recognized and what traces can still be seen, always in connection to the idea of a future. My concern is to read history anew and to force it open, in the sense of the archeology of images, in the sense of the oppressed in the sense of the image as an experience of remembering, the image to experience a possible future. Formally, my work draws on documentary images, archival material (mostly in filmed form), as well as fictional passages, and uses voice-over texts and sound collages to counteract or alienate, so that constellations of utopias, futures and dreams are negotiated as a place of resistance . (-)
Karen Holmberg, archaeologist  / New York City / October 2021 Considering the metrics of volcanoes, that bring ….. (+)
Karen Holmberg, archaeologist  / New York City / October 2021

Considering the metrics of volcanoes, that bring together the slowness of the deep earth and the incredible velocity of eruptions, as well as the logic of fertile ground rising from devastation: what can we learn as societies from the different patterns of times and logics of volcanoes, in our current transformative times?

Volcanoes can be destructive or deeply generative, depending on the luck of when and where you encounter them. They show us that to view any topic or event with one-dimensional eyes or in a narrow time frame ensures that you will misunderstand it entirely. A volcanic eruption can be a place to play volleyball and roast hotdogs, as we’ve seen at the Reykjanes fissure eruption in Iceland. There, the volcano is light, happy, and friendly. As is happening at La Palma in the Canary Islands a volcano can slowly, inexorably fill your swimming pool and eat your house; it is slow and cruel and powerful. A small eruption with a large lahar flow from a melted glacier, like the one from Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia in 1985, can bring instant death for thousands or a lingering, slow death, such as suffered by the little girl famously photographed in the mudflow, by triggering a chain reaction of events. In the case of Chaiten, Chile, an eruption can first be a disaster and a tremendous challenge but then, with time, also a source of regeneration and creativity. One of the most dangerous types of volcanoes is one that has immense power but is quiet for a very long time, which gives a false sense of security. Campi Flegrei in southern Italy is an example of this. For me, that caldera - so large that the hundreds of thousands of people within it do not realize the risk they face - is a metaphor for problems so large that we ignore them. (-)
Silvia Baptista, urban agriculture, quilombola and feminist / From the periphery of Rio de Janeiro / October 2021 In ….. (+)
Silvia Baptista, urban agriculture, quilombola and feminist / From the periphery of Rio de Janeiro / October 2021

In the video of the Brazilian artist Barbara Marcel (link below), we see how our bodies-territories are directly connected with our environment, making social and environmental struggles inseparable. Do you think Latin American ecofeminism and other movements like Agroecology and Buen Vivir (well living), or social movements like the indigenous movements, the quilombolas and country people point us to solutions for the actual climate crisis on the planet?

Earth-territory is pregnant. It is about to give birth to the new society. All people and social groups who oppose the capital build a world web, a “federation of places” as Milton Santos, a well-known Brazilian geographer, would say. It is this pluriversal conjunction of experiences and insurgencies that, when in communion, will stop the planet’s destruction and establish a new sustenance economy. And I am not talking about sustainability, this word banalized by Capitalism.

In the periphery, in the west part of Rio de Janeiro, we have action and protagonism focused on black women. At the same time, our base organization counts with anti-racist white women and we are open to receive transexual women. Our denomination as a women organization implies inclusion of a variety of entitlements, starting with peripheral black feminism and also with “womenism”, which is a combination of theory and practice inspired by African roots. We also have ecofeminist women, we defend agroecological practices, as long as they focus on black women. (-)
Federico Martelli, biologist and MA in Architecture in Emergent Technologies and Design / Rotterdam / November 2021 ….. (+)
Federico Martelli, biologist and MA in Architecture in Emergent Technologies and Design / Rotterdam / November 2021

What are the practices and/or visions that are currently required to dissolve the idea of nature/culture separation that has been developed since the Western Enlightenment?

The essential thing is to be honest with ourselves, and the problem with being honest is that it takes a lot of work. Besides, at least in the western world honesty has been labelled as a weakness; the one who is honest loses in the western world. Honesty implies clarity, and clarity is what we need to perceive the intimate relationship we have with nature. The economic system forces us to be deceptive; for example, to charge more than what it really costs in order to accumulate. We live in a parallel and virtual world where, through a macabre Pavlovian conditioning, we survive at the cost of being deceptive. We need honesty to put an end to this schizo-capitalist dance. (-)

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