Thanks bro!

Best from northeast br

> Em 19 de ago. de 2022, à(s) 12:13, Molly Hankwitz <> 
> escreveu:
> Thank you for this report on your environmental activism and network 
> building! 
> Sent from my iPhone
>>> On Aug 19, 2022, at 8:00 AM, Claire Pentecost <> wrote:
>> thank you Brian!
>> this is a powerful nutrient!
>>> On Thu, Aug 18, 2022 at 9:02 PM Brian Holmes <> 
>>> wrote:
>>> At night on the Parana, the stars still shine. The boatman cuts the motor; 
>>> we drift silently under the light of a full moon. This is the end of a four 
>>> thousand kilometer-long river, it's the "Delta front." The low islands to 
>>> the east extend fingers of land into the Rio del Plata estuary, and those 
>>> forested fingers grow about 70 meters longer every year, catching the last 
>>> of the sediments carried from the Andes and the Brazilian jungle. To the 
>>> southwest, the lights of Buenos Aires glitter on the horizon. Someday in 
>>> the future - quite soon, in geological time - the Delta front will reach 
>>> the city. Every month it's six meters closer. The mutability of this 
>>> territory makes my head spin. The stars, the moon, the lights, the islands 
>>> and the uncanny mirror of the river all come together like a wheel spinning 
>>> weightlessly in infinite space, or maybe it's a whirlpool, a cosmic gyre. A 
>>> homegrown joint makes its way from hand to hand, through the calm of a 
>>> winter night that is windless by good luck, and warm by devastating climate 
>>> change. The journey is well underway.
>>> With Alejandro Meitin of Casa Rio we're making tactical media in the 
>>> wetlands, along a meandering path that leads from Punta Lara, south of 
>>> Buenos Aires, all the way north through the Pampa and the arid reaches of 
>>> the Grand Chaco to Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. I wrote the paragraph 
>>> above a week ago; now we're at the halfway point. Our aim is to reach out 
>>> to riverside communities and build ecological awareness, while also helping 
>>> to accelerate the process of information-sharing among a network of 
>>> ecological NGOs called "Humedales sin fronteras" or Wetlands Without 
>>> Borders, whose member organizations are located in Argentina, Paraguay, 
>>> Bolivia and Brazil. My contribution as an artist-cartographer is an online 
>>> map and multimedia platform that can display text, scientific information, 
>>> photography, video, audio and social networks (it's FLOSS, built by Majk 
>>> Shkurti to my specs, see info below). The color scheme and iconography of 
>>> the map has been designed by Dani Lorenzo of Casa Rio, and most of the 
>>> videos you'll find inside were done by Andres Irigoyen. Lots of others are 
>>> involved, it would be long to list every one of them. As for Alejandro 
>>> Meitin, he's an artist, lawyer, environmental activist and 
>>> jack-of-all-trades who's been doing this kind of thing for thirty years, 
>>> first with the artists' group Ala Plastica, and now with the broader 
>>> community-based constellation of Casa Rio. We've taken similar journeys 
>>> before, stretching back to 2014 when Critical Art Ensemble generously 
>>> invited me to come along to Argentina for a roving seminar organized by Ala 
>>> Plastica under the name "Watersheds as Laboratories of Governance." In 2019 
>>> we brought an exhibition called "The Earth Will Not Abide" from Chicago to 
>>> the riverport city of Rosario, and Casa Rio published quite a beautiful 
>>> book with that material. Now we're in full-on activist mode, meeting 
>>> network members all along the river, pushing for a Wetlands Law in 
>>> Argentina, for a halt to dredging, sand extraction and dam-building, and 
>>> for the development, from below, of what we are calling "Biocultural 
>>> Corridors."
>>> The notion of bioculturalism is grasped intuitively by all the people we 
>>> meet: It refers to the changes in orientation and behavior that arise when 
>>> human beings begin to see and feel themselves as participants in a web of 
>>> ecological relations, such that "an injury to one is an injury to all" - 
>>> whether it's insect, plant, animal or homo sapiens. The corridor part is 
>>> somewhat trickier. Many are aware of biological corridors, which are 
>>> designed by conservation specialists as safe passageways between small 
>>> islands of habitat which, on their own, are insufficient to sustain bird 
>>> and animal populations that range widely across the changing seasons. 
>>> Biocultural corridors, however, are not planned or instituted by experts. 
>>> They arise in areas where groups of people who might be engaged in 
>>> agroecological farming, traditional crafts such as willow weaving, 
>>> small-scale fishing, land defence and indigenous lifeways all come together 
>>> in mutual recognition and support, building the consciousness of what might 
>>> someday become truly sustainable productive practices. Like the 
>>> Bioregionalists of North America in the 1970s, we are inviting communities 
>>> to use our map in order to draw and describe the components of their own 
>>> biocultural corridors, which someday, we hope, will extend all the way up 
>>> and down the great uninterrupted fluvial corridor reaching from the 
>>> headwaters of the Brazilian and Bolivian Pantanal down to the Rio del Plata 
>>> estuary. For once, we're not necessarily kidding ourselves. Ideas based on 
>>> grassroots solidarity spread rapidly in Latin America. All along the vast 
>>> Parana Delta in Argentina you can see walls painted with the slogan "Pass 
>>> the Wetlands Law already!" (It's a bit more terse in Spanish: "Ley de 
>>> Humedales Ya!"). We are also promoting the idea of biocultural festivals, 
>>> where people can share and celebrate the changes that they are making right 
>>> now, in their own environments with their own hands. The fact is, many of 
>>> the people we meet are already doing something similar under other names, 
>>> so this transformation is definitely happening.
>>> The reception of the mapping project is overwhelmingly positive. There may 
>>> be a bit of initial suspicion and resistance toward a Yanqui with a magic 
>>> box, but Alejandro speaks very convincingly and people get it: This is 
>>> sophisticated technology that can be seized by grassroots groups and used 
>>> in political struggles as well as popular education processes, in the face 
>>> of complex problems where all the legitimate expertise is typically on the 
>>> other side. The editing tools developed by Majk Shkurti make it possible to 
>>> place points and draw lines or polygons with ease, and then fill out a data 
>>> template that yields structured text and audiovisual content - stuff that 
>>> young people can learn in an afternoon. It's GIS on the easy and the cheap, 
>>> it can transmit knowledge and enthusiasm, and it can be put to political 
>>> work when it's time to stand up against municipal councils, provincial 
>>> governments and national legislatures. The idea this time is not just to 
>>> get spontaneous contributions from individuals - because we've already done 
>>> that in an earlier mapping project that's still being filled out, mainly 
>>> with denunciations of abuse. Instead, before they start drawing on the map, 
>>> we are asking existing community groups to engage in some collective 
>>> reflection about Casa Rio's three basic questions: Who designs the 
>>> territory? For whom is it designed? And what would a collaborative design 
>>> of territories look like? This is how the "laboratory of governance" idea 
>>> becomes a full-fledged social experiment.
>>> Just two days ago I met an old fisherman who in the early 1990s had played 
>>> a decisive role in stopping a US-backed dam project, with no resources 
>>> except a good friend, a canoe and a pile of photocopied flyers. A regional 
>>> hero, exactly my kind of hero. He, too, seemed a little suspicious at 
>>> first. As a media maker I was profoundly moved when he later came up to me 
>>> and told me how vital our work would be to the educational project and 
>>> wetlands observatory that he's now coordinating with a local social 
>>> movement. What they've already done is to convince the city (it's actually 
>>> called Parana city) to pay for a bunch of wood, and then in three months 
>>> time the movement built a dock on a small island, a welcome center and an 
>>> elevated boardwalk about half a kilometer long through the swamp, where 
>>> they bring boatloads of schoolkids who live right next to the river and 
>>> have no contact with the water or the islands. Next they want to put their 
>>> interpretation center in the middle of a huge wetland on the city's edge, 
>>> which without a watchful eye is likely to be taken over illegally by gated 
>>> communities, factories or other profitable enterprises. You can imagine 
>>> they have a different interpretation of what this land is good for! These 
>>> are people who know their environment through generations of intimate 
>>> experience - and today that's something many others want to learn. With any 
>>> luck, we're about to discover a whole lot of local knowledge taking form 
>>> inside our magic box, and being shared along the entire wetlands corridor.
>>> Today's environmental conditions are helping with this good reception - 
>>> unfortunately. In the context of a three-year drought and the arrival of 
>>> increasingly large herds of cattle, the traditional islander practice of 
>>> burning dry winter brush to stimulate the growth of fresh spring grass has 
>>> morphed into an emergency situation of uncontrolled fires in the Delta, 
>>> choking populations in urban centers with heavy smoke and even causing 
>>> freeway pileups due to loss of visibility. For two years in a row, while 
>>> lockdowns and pandemic anxiety reigned, a plunge in water levels revealed 
>>> vast sandy deserts where the Parana once flowed, causing many to fear that 
>>> the river would never come back again (thankfully it did this year). Sure, 
>>> it's always hard to attribute local phenomena to climate change - but the 
>>> best Brazilian science says that the atmospheric rivers arising from the 
>>> evapotranspiration of the Amazon jungle (aka flying rivers, "rios 
>>> voladores") are now drying up due to massive deforestation, leading to a 
>>> loss of rainfall at the headwaters of the Parana, way up there in the (for 
>>> me) mythical Pantanal wetlands. At the same time, it's well known by 
>>> everyone in the region that over a mere thirty years, industrial 
>>> monocropping (aka GMO soybeans doused in Round-Up) has devastated the 
>>> ecology of South America at continental scale, ruining entire drainages, 
>>> pushing cattle from bulldozed pastures into the wetlands, and provoking all 
>>> the above-mentioned disasters, at least as far as we can tell - with a big 
>>> push from rising CO2 levels, for sure. Now, horror of all horrors, the 
>>> government of Paraguay is calling on the US Army Corps of Engineers for 
>>> "help" in managing the Paraguay river, which is the major tributary of the 
>>> Parana, directly connected to the Pantanal headwaters. In case you don't 
>>> know, the Army Corps are the folks who destroyed the ecology of the 
>>> Mississippi river system with a straightjacket of dams and levees. Along 
>>> with the oil industry, the Corps is responsible for most of the land-loss 
>>> crisis in Louisiana - not to mention what happened to the Columbia River, 
>>> etc. Common people don't need the kind of "help" such agencies bring.
>>> To increase awareness and spread more precise knowledge of all these 
>>> converging dangers, we have given our map of biological corridors a dark 
>>> side, which is a topology of the extractive corridors that are threatening 
>>> the Paraguay-Parana watershed. Here, instead of lush organic green 
>>> traversed by mud-brown water, what you see is a dessicated cinder, like the 
>>> leftover coals of some immense and gruesome barbecue - the frightful, yet 
>>> increasingly predictable and literal culmination of the centuries-old 
>>> colonial process. We focus on the heavily dredged Hidrovia, or Water 
>>> Highway, which is what the transnational capitalist groups see when they 
>>> look at the Paraguay-Parana River. IIRSA, which is the South American 
>>> banking complex behind the design of the Hidrovia, has for decades wanted 
>>> to extend their favorite transnational canal all the way to Amazonas and 
>>> beyond. What Eduardo Galleano called the "Open Veins of Latin America" are 
>>> in fact the waterways, which the European colonists used to carry away the 
>>> treasures of the continent, resulting in the denomination of the Parana 
>>> watershed as the "Plate Basin" or Silver Basin - the Moneyshed, you might 
>>> as well say. Well, the only thing that has changed is that the major cargo 
>>> is now GMO soybeans, and the chief destination of the ships is China, 
>>> followed closely by the EU of course. What Marx once called the "metabolic 
>>> rift" between the city and the country has now opened up between South 
>>> America and Eurasia. It's a process of alienation in every sense of the 
>>> word, at the largest possible scale. There is a tremendous amount to be 
>>> learned about all this, and we are currently multiplying our research 
>>> collaborations into the global political economy of extractivism, while 
>>> also engaging discussions about how to bring the many specialized reports 
>>> authored by members of Wetlands Without Borders onto our more popular and 
>>> intuitive map of extractive corridors. The whole project is a work in 
>>> progress with lots of gaps and question marks, but it's live on the net 
>>> right now, and I expect it to remain under active development for the next 
>>> couple years.
>>> Life does not happen elsewhere, in some ideal garden to which you could 
>>> escape on vacation. Life happens right here and now, in a double world with 
>>> an inhuman and more-than-human face. I have always felt most alive amid the 
>>> struggles of this double world, in collaboration with all kinds of people, 
>>> of all races and classes and stations and professions, whenever and 
>>> wherever they are finding their own ways of resisting alienation and 
>>> contributing to a better life - some soft and affective, some local and 
>>> productive, some political and confrontational, or even better, political 
>>> and constructive. We live in a time when the so-called middle classes are 
>>> finally realizing that their seemingly higher station - their literally 
>>> higher ground, in river terms - will not protect them. The storms, floods, 
>>> droughts and fires of global ecological change are coming for them, or 
>>> rather, for *us*, as I'd put it from my own middle-class position. The big 
>>> question is this: Do the middle classes - including industrial workers 
>>> attached to states and large corporations - go fascist under the pressure 
>>> of rising threats to their old lifestyles and identities, or can we find 
>>> shareable biocultural pathways toward reparative socio-ecological worlds, 
>>> and through collaboration with other classes and cultures and races, create 
>>> neo-ecosystems that can ramp down the causes and mitigate the effects of 
>>> climate change? Please don't explain to me that such a swerve away from 
>>> ruling norms is impossible, due to human nature or economic law or 
>>> historical destiny or some other bullshit, because such self-serving 
>>> explanations have long been part of the problem. For a metamorphosis to 
>>> occur, everyone has to bring their own skills and dreams into play somehow 
>>> - preferably right now, because tomorrow is always a little hotter.
>>> Therefore my dear friends, here I am in South America with some good old 
>>> tactical media.
>>> All the best from -
>>> Brian
>>> ***
>>> Corridors Map:
>>> Casa Rio:
>>> Humedales sin fronteras:
>>> Project repo:
>>> Installation guide: 
>>> The Earth Will Not Abide:
>>> (Feel free to contact me if you want some tips about deployment and use of 
>>> the software)
>>> -- 
>>> You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
>>> "DeepTimeChicago" group.
>>> To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an 
>>> email to
>>> To view this discussion on the web visit 
>> -- 
>> Claire Pentecost (she, her)
>> Professor, Department of Photography
>> The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
>> I acknowledge and honor the original peoples of the Chicagoland area – the 
>> Three Fires Confederacy, Potawatomi, Odawa and Ojibwe Nations, as well as 
>> other Tribal Nations that know this area as their ancestral homeland, 
>> including the Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Miami, Peoria, and Sac and Fox. 
>> #  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
>> #  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
>> #  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
>> #  more info:
>> #  archive: contact:
>> #  @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject:
> #  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
> #  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
> #  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
> #  more info:
> #  archive: contact:
> #  @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject:
#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info:
#  archive: contact:
#  @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject:

Reply via email to