BHQFU, New York’s Freest Art School, is pleased to present TRIALS ON AN ARCHIPELAGO, a residency, seminar, and exhibition focusing on Ensayos, a nomadic research program based in Tierra del Fuego (TdF) at FUG (Foundation University Gallery). Since 2010, Ensayos has brought together artists, scientists and other thinkers and doers to address issues of land use, ecology and ethics at the end of the world.
Ensayos focuses on three issues impacting TdF: ecosystem restoration through invasive species management, post-colonial geography, and coastal conservation. These are investigated with researchers from the Wildlife
Conservation Society-Chile’s Karukinka Natural Park, a major partner in “thinking through” the global implications of these local problems. So far, the results of this experimental research and creative process have included performances, academic papers, a documentary, an exhibition, and many fieldwork sessions—in Tierra del Fuego, Paris, Los Angeles and the Arctic Circle. Current projects include a fragrance, a telenovela and advocating for legislation.
During October and November 2015, FUG will serve as Ensayos’ New York basecamp—part residency, part exhibition and part seminar. The seminar, led by curator Camila Marambio,who founded and directs Ensayos, looks at research or project-based artistic practices using Ensayos as a working model. Throughout the month, a web-like installation will grow in the space, combining elements of artist Christy Gast’s research on plant-based textile dyes and sociologist Denise Milstein’s social network mapping. The formal elements of this narrative web are determined by chance (colors derived from the forest) and technology (a coded data set), and reflect input from many voices, highlighting the questions of authorship that arise from complex, multidisciplinary collaborations. The FUG residency opens Ensayos’ process to the public, functioning as a space to give form to an evolving set of inquiries.
A new issue of the Ensayos periodical “Más allá del fin/Beyond the End”will accompany the exhibition, with contributions from Bruno Latour, Laura Ogden, Bárbara Saavedra, and Cecilia Vicuña, amongst others. This issue of the periodical delves into the notion of “rehearsal” through a collection of essays that can be interpreted as scores.
Ensayos participants: Christy Gast (artist), Giorgia Graells & Derek Corcoran (biologists), Sossa Jorgensen (artist), Fabienne Lasserre (artist), Carla Macchiavello (art historian), Camila Marambio (curator), Denise Milstein (sociologist), Maria Luisa Murillo (artist), Randi Nygård (artist), Laura Ogden (anthropologist), Alfredo Prieto (archeologist), Bárbara Saavedra (ecologist), Carolina Saquel (artist), Juan Andrés Silva (sociologist), Karolin Tampere (curator), Geir Tore Holm (artist), Sofía Ugarte (sociologist), Cecilia Vicuña (artist), amongst others.
About Ensayos: Ensayos is a nomadic research program that enables experimental interdisciplinary practice as a model to deal with ecological issues in Tierra del Fuego (TdF). The program is motivated by the strong sentiment that TdF, despite its remoteness, is a cultural and geographical center from which to speculate and exercise emergent forms of bio-cultural ethics.
In 2010, Camila Marambio—inspired by the existing conservation efforts of the Wildlife Conservation Society-Chile’s Karukinka Natural Park—proposed a program to integrate artists and humanities scholars into WCS-Chile’s existing scientific research teams on Tierra del Fuego. Since September 2011, Ensayos has focused its investigative efforts on some of the most critical issues for the isles of the region: habitat restoration through the control of invasive species, post-colonial geography, and coastal conservation and sustainable management. Each inquiry is the responsibility of different groups of individual agents who share their concerns by exchanging methodologies with each other in a playful practice of expanding the possible.
Ensayos was developed with cooperation from Karukinka Natural Park, and residencies have been hosted by: Estancia Vicuña and Lago Escondido in Karukinka Natural Park; Casa-Museo Alberto Baeriswyl in Chilean Tierra del Fuego; Museo Martin Gusinde, OMORA and Festival Cielos del Infinito on Isla Navarino, Chile; CADIC/CONICET research station in Ushuaia, Argentina; the Kadist Foundation and Muséum National d’Historie Naturelle in Paris; Dartmouth College in New Hampshire; and the Institute for Art and Olfaction, Los Angeles. The program was the subject of an exhibition at the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, in 2014.
Photo María Luisa Murillo, Señales de fuego I, 2015