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From the river to the mountain (and backwards):

Forced Disappearance and Ecologies of Recomposing in Colombia

 

 

PROJECTOUTLINE

1. Children drawing of the Cauca river

2. Collecting of clay in the Meta river

3. Extracting dragging material of a river

(Col, 2019)

In Colombia, rivers have had a central role in the use and circulation of violence, explicitly in the case of forced disappearance of people. Likewise, those dwelling on the riversides, live alongside the strength of the water and all that flows and transforms in it. In Risaralda, on the western side of the country, a backwater in one of the banks of the Cauca River is where the children find their shoes and toys, but also, is where animals, tree trunks, garbage, and waste from agricultural and mining industries, get trapped. So as the hundreds of bodies of people, that after being killed were thrown into this river. In Medellin, young people from peripheral districts have faced the abrupt transformation of space and their lives. In San Javier neighborhood, the slope of one of the surrounding mountains, long used as a quarry and garbage dump, and still as a debris landfill, has also been the assigned place where the bodies of disappeared persons were thrown and buried during military interventions and armed confrontations. In the southeast of the country, the development of infrastructure and the accelerated extractivist industrialization have transformed meadows, flooded forests, as well as the banks and riverbeds. In this region, a woman walks, searches, and imagines the places where her disappeared son could have been buried.

 

 

 

In Colombia, rivers have had a central role in the use and circulation of violence, explicitly in the case of forced disappearance of people.

In this context, rivers, debris landfills, quarries, and cemeteries, configure complex geographies in which bodies of disappeared persons, communities that live there or walkthrough, and diverse extractives practices, are tightly related. An ecology, as deeply material as it is symbolic, in which what was decomposed and transformed into waste, gives way to hybrid forms of resisting and recomposing life and death.

From an ad-hoc methodological approach assembling art as social practice, collective creation, and multisite and speculative ethnography, I explore how these communities (not merely social) rebuild and give new meanings to the bodies, the space, and the reality that was affected. Likewise, I seek into the ways of dealing with material and symbolic burdens –that enable resistance and agency processes, and the creation of other futures and new forms of living–, and how they are at risk of being radically transformed and disappeared.

 

 

 

"I seek into the ways of dealing with material and symbolic burdens, that enable resistance and agency processes, and the creation of other futures and new forms of living"

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Children in the old rail ways in Risaralda (2019)

Photo: Maria Ordoñez

BIO

MARÍA ORDOÑEZ-CRUZ B.F.A.

As a visual artist, I have developed my practice through a multi-disciplinary frame bringing together art, critical and critical, speculative, and ethnographic methodologies, in the searching of broadening and enriching the ways of doing social commited research-processes.

During the last years, I have been exploring the ways people deal with everyday life, and their alternative forms of re-imagining the past and the future, in the frame of ongoing violence such as forced disappearance of people in Colombia.

Currently, I am a doctoral candidate at the University of Zurich, Doktoratsprogramm: «Methoden und Perspektiven», as well as I am part of the program «Epistemologien ästhetischer Praktiken» (UZH/ZHdK/Collegium Helveticum).

Non-narrated Portraits, 2017

©retratosnohablados

Exhibitions& GRANTS

  1. “RÉUNION” Performance Festival
    Public Screening: “Algunas observaciones sobre el Paisaje” (Visual essay, 15″, 2019)
    Feb 10 – 15, 2020
    Honduras, Tegucigalpa

  2. Contested Landscapes, Emergent Archives
    Public Screening: “Some observations about landscape” (Visual essay, 15″, 2019)
    Exhibition curated by Liliana Gómez in collaboration with Iris Fraueneder (UZH)
    Aug 29, 2019
    Orient-Institut Beirut, Beirut

  3. In the frame of the exhibition, 100 ways of thinking:

    How to Teach Art and Collective Painting in situ (with Artur Żmijewski)
    Aug 25 – Nov 04.2018
    Kunsthalle, Zurich

  4. Public exhibition at the Centro de Memoria, Paz y Reconciliación
    Retratosnohablados (audio-visual installation, 2017)
    With the support of the National Center for Historical Memory
    June 2018
    Bogotá, Colombia

  5. MIDBO / International Documentary Exhibition of Bogotá
    Expanded documentary category
    Retratosnohablados (audio-visual installation, 2017)
    Oct 31-Nov 10, 2017
    Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia

  6. Award Ceremony of the 3rd National Artistic Grants
    Retratosnohablados (audio-visual installation, 2017)      
    July 17, 2017
    National Museum, Bogotá, Colombia

  7. Grant for the project: Retratosnohablados

    National Grants Program of the Ministry of Culture
    Call for artistic projects on historical memory of the armed conflict:
    „Memories of War, Resistance, and Dignity” (2016)
    Bogota, Colombia

  8. La Muestra Maestra 

    Public Exhibition of Master Graduate Projects
    Retratosnohablados“ (audio-visual installation, 2016)    
    August, 2016
    University of Los Andes. Bogotá, Colombia.

  9. Project: Las Dos Fechas
    Film essay, 42″, 2014
    Bogotá, Colombia

SELECTEDPUBLICATIONS

  1. Ordóñez, María (2020) «Cuerpos en trance. Paisaje, transición y desaparición en Colombia»; Papeles del CEIC, vol. 2020/1, papel 227, 1-27.