An installation by Ursula Biemann & Paulo Tavares
SYNC 2-CHANNEL VIDEO ESSAY
The project draws from research carried out by the pair in the oil-and-mining frontier in the Ecuadorian Amazon— one of the most biodiverse and mineral-rich regions on Earth, currently under pressure from the dramatic expansion of large-scale extraction activities. At the heart of Forest Law is a series of landmark legal cases that bring the forest to court and plead for the rights of nature. One particularly paradigmatic trial that has recently been won by the indigenous people of Sarayuku based on their cosmology of the living forest.
The project is a collaboration with Ursula Biemann, Swiss artist, writer, and video essayist and Brazilian architect Paulo Tavares. "It emerges from dialogues—between us and our practices, the camera and the forest, and, most importantly, ourselves and the many people whom we encountered while traveling through Amazonia in November 2013,” says Biemann.
Forest Law is a synchronized video projection (38 min.) shot with two cameras, a photo-text assemblage unfolding the background to these cases, and an artist book. Taken together, the collection of personal testimonies and factual evidence presented here expose the multiple dimensions of the tropical forest as a physical, legal, and cosmological entity.
Ursula Biemann received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts (1986) in New York and pursued post-graduate studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program (ISP) in New York where she lived most of the 1980s. Until 2014 she was a senior researcher at the Zurich University of the Arts and still gives lectures and semiars worldwide. Biemann is appointed Doctor honoris causa in Humanities by the Swedish University Umea (2008) and received the 2009 Prix Meret Oppenheim, the Swiss Grand Award for Art. She is on the board of the academic journal Geo-Humanities.
This exhibition is sponsored by the Institute of the Arts and Sciences and the Center for Creative Ecologies at UC Santa Cruz.