Laura Colmenares Guerra
Hours and dates
- From 10am to 6pm daily
Laura Colmenares Guerra is a Colombian artist based in Brussels.
She has a transversal research-based practice that implies long-term processes of creation. Her work explores the impairment between contemporary western societies and the living ecosystems, the environment and the inhabitants of the planet.
This questioning drives her to conceive settings that relate to the politics of landscape and the notions of territory. She explores the constructions of the concepts of nature and natural and language as a foundation medium for reality.
The Ríos Trilogy
As part of the Capture #2 exhibition to be held at Le Pavillon from 23 September 2023 to 14 January 2024
The Ríos Trilogy results from a 5-year-long artistic research project focused on the territory of the Amazon basin, a vast territory covering 44% of South America, spanning over 7.8 million km2. The region is not only home to millions of people and a wide variety of species but also plays a vital role in mitigating climate change. It helps maintain climate balance, facilitates rainfall distribution, and is a significant carbon dioxide (CO2) sink. However, there exists an unfortunate and persistent view of Amazonia as a remote land full of infinite natural resources, open to new forms of agriculture and extractive colonisation, which has only become more complicated over the last 50 years with the integration of the region into national and international economies.
The three chapters that complete The Ríos Trilogy offer distinct approaches to understanding the meanings and definitions attributed to this territory. The trilogy sheds light on the history of colonisation and how it has impacted Amazonia, providing insights into the region’s current environmental and social threats.
Chapter N.1 – Rivers // Amazonia Geo-linguistics
Rivers // Amazonia Geo-linguistics is an experimental research tool that utilises Twitter to map information related to the Amazon Rainforest. Through this online application, the project explores the semantics of social media and its potential in identifying socioeconomic, political, and environmental issues. The tool has been designed to analyse and visualise Twitter data, including hashtags and co-occurrences. The data is continuously archived in a database, and statistical data is generated using algorithms.
By examining the semantics used in tweets, insights can be obtained regarding how Western societies perceive and engage with the complex situation in the Amazon basin. The results of this analysis are applied to the geo-referenced marks where socio-environmental threads have been identified, performing experimental interventions on the actual topographic data of the Amazonian territory. These interventions result in the sculptures proposed in Chapter II.
Chapter N.2 – Speculative Cartographies
The second chapter of The Ríos Trilogy consists of twenty-one sculptures delineated by the hydrological sub-basins established by the primary tributaries of the Amazon Basin. The sculptures are hybrids that combine real topographic data, semantic analysis and geo-referenced information on socio-environmental threats.
This speculative cartographic work acts as an archaeological artefact that catalogues the socio-environmental issues confronting the Amazon region while capturing the semantic relationships generated around these problems on social media. The sculptures are 3D printed using clay (porcelain).
Chapter N.3 – R€¥€R$€ (REVERSE)
REVERSE is a 30′ VR piece that deepens into the complex situation of Amazonia. More than half of the Amazon region, 66 per cent of it, is subject to permanent pressure due to human extractive practices such as oil and mineral exploitation, road infrastructure development, ranching, agricultural activity and hydroelectric plants. Deforestation, burning, and loss of carbon stocks are proof of the large-scale transformations taking place in Amazonia.
REVERSE underlines the tensions present in the territory, where human, cultural and environmental aspects rub with power, economics and multinational interests in a context of climate stress in which the importance of preserving this unique ecosystem is vital for the survival of the current life on Earth.
Ecdysis is an 8min. One-channel animation/sound piece created along the process of The Ríos Trilogy.
The title Ecdysis (from Ancient Greek ékdysis) refers to casting off the old skin or exoskeleton that reptiles and insects sometimes undergo multiple times in their lives. Scanning over the surface of the 3D model of the Amazon basin, the artists thought of an animal’s skin that we are looking at up close. And indeed, the whole of the Amazon, with its multiple ecosystems of rivers and Rainforest, is also one large being that is alive.
The sound composition is based entirely on field recordings that Jana Irmert made in the Amazon. She captured sounds normally hidden from human perception using hydrophones and ultrasound recording. Through different processing methods, sonic elements are carved out from the dense ambiences of the Rainforest and transformed into melodic formations and rhythmic patterns.