Invited by the curator Camila Marambio, 18 artists and scientists from Chile, Norway, US and Canada met in Tierra del Fuego for 10 days to discuss the “use” of bringing artists and social scientists into the research program at Karukinka Natural Park, a Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) unit. Participants included Norwegian artists working in the Arctic circle, a natural resource economist, Chilean and US eco activists, WCS ecologists and park rangers, local land owners, artists and anthropologists. Guided by WCS Karukinka ecologists, we toured sites across the Isla Grande and shared knowledge, research, and ideas about how a collaborative research residency could work.
The objective of Ensayo #1 was to bring together a group of international professionals from the fields of art, social studies and science to work through a series of questions that would set the framework for a long-term artist in residency program at the park. The vision for the development of an artist in residency program for Parque Karukinka – via the weeklong workshop- arose in February 2010, during an informal visit to the park by the curator Camila Marambio. In her words, “I was inspired by the particular model for the conservation of biodiversity that Karukinka supports, the unique history of Tierra del Fuego and the strong sentiment that Tierra del Fuego is both a geographic and cultural “center” with the potential to provide a space for reflecting on the direction of art and its articulation in regards to conservation. Given this conjunction of interest fields, an expert meeting to define the model of the artist in residency program seemed like the next logical step.”
Ensayo #1 took place during the course of one very intense week from February 14 to 21, 2011. The meeting point was the WCS Karukinka Natural Park Offices in Punta Arenas, CL. The destination Refugio Vicuña, Karukinka’s primary camp on the island of Tierra del Fuego. From there, the group took excursions to Karukinka’s pampas, forests, rivers, mountains, peat bogs, glacial lakes, and neighboring settlements, including Cerro Pietro, Rio Grande, Lago Escondido, Lago Fagnano, Cameron, Cerro Sombrero, Useless Bay, and Caleta Maria on the Admiralty Sound, and finally to Puerto Yartou where the closing discussion was held at the Museo de Sitio Alberto Baeriswyl Pittet.
Thanks to the support of a number of illuminated individuals at the institutions and organizations mentioned below, but most significantly thanks to the will and desire of each of the individuals that took part in this first Ensayo, all of whom not only ventured to come down to Tierra del Fuego, but also self-financed a large part of their trip.
National Council of Culture and Arts of Chile, Office of Contemporary Art Norway, Norwegian Embassy in Chile, Swedish Embassy in Chile, Wildlife Conservation Society Chile, Casa Museo Alberto Baeriswyl and Tigertail Artist Access Grant Miami.
Camila Marambio, Curator / Bárbara Saavedra, Ecologist / Christy Gast, Artist / Daniela Droguett, Biologist / Fabienne Lasserre, Artist / Juan Pablo Langlois, Artist / Ivette Martínez, Educator / Geir Tore Holm, Artist / Kiko Anderson, hiker / Karolin Tampere, Curator / Julio Gastón Contreras, Doctor / María Luisa Murillo, Artist / Paola Vezzani, Regional Director of the Cultural Council Magallanes / Melissa Memory, Archeologist / Søssa Jørgensen, Artist / Pierre Lasserre, Economist / Mauricio Chacón, Park Ranger / Stefan Mitterer, Artist
- Recognized the need to deal with 3 urgent matters of concern, each requiring long-term participant commitment (3 years).
- Established focus on two WCS Karukinka research areas (invasive species & coastal management) and added the issue of post-human geography.
- Defined open-ended, collaborative, multidisciplinary, creative research methodologies.
- Karukinka is point of origin and nests Ensayos, but as a program Ensayos is a nomadic residency.