‘As Above, So Below’ explores the changing landscape of La Araucanía region in south-central Chile through live visuals and sound. This audiovisual performance probes into the dualism of man’s relationship with nature via sonic research made by Sébastien Robert, French sound artist, researcher and master student of The Hague’s ArtScience Interfaculty, and investigative visuals created from satellite imagery as well as microscopic and drone footage by Dutch media artist Mark IJzerman. During a residency in Chile they researched the logging industry that has been eroding the biodiversity of the region, causing disruption to the ecosystem.
‘As Above, So Below’ specifically focuses on the shrinking amount of old-growth forest and biodiversity versus the increase in eucalyptus and pine plantations in La Araucanía, in which the indigenous Mapuche are about a third of the total population. Mapuche activists have allegedly been burning crops, blocking roads and setting forests ablaze in an attack on the big corporations that have taken over their ancestral lands in the last 50 years. The activists claim that the logging industry’s introduction of water-hungry pine and eucalyptus trees since the 1980’s has damaged the ecosystem, as well as hurting local agriculture by reducing the supply of available water. This has lead to a decreasing amount of jobs and thus local poverty. While forests in Chile are increasing, these are mostly genetically engineered trees meant for the timber industry, with forests specifically grown for paper manufacturing and timber.
Mark IJzerman is an interdisciplinary artist working on the intersection of ecology and media art. IJzerman uses digital technologies to create processes that have their own agency, to make works creating intimacy between us and the other-than-human. His work is always informed by field research as well as working with other professionals.
Sébastien Robert (1993. Nantes, FR) is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher who develops a practice at the intersection of visual and sound art, technology, science and ethnography. Most of his projects revolve around a research cycle, You’re no Bird of Paradise, through which he explores disappearing Indigenous sonic rituals and cosmologies. This centuries-old knowledge of the world is under threat due to complex and intertwined technological, societal and ecological issues.