We are an independent Dutch cultural nonprofit (Stichting Valley of the Possible, founded in 2018) that offers artists, scientists and other thinkers and makers a place to reconnect with nature, time for research and space for artistic development. Our physical location is in Cañon del Blanco, a remote and secluded valley in La Araucanía Andina in Southern Chile, surrounded by spectacular volcanic landscapes with a high level of biodiversity. Through our first open call, we invite up-and-coming and established professionals with interests in art, ecology, science and everything in between to co-create the refugio for art and research.

M I S S I O N

Valley of the Possible offers artists, scientists and other creative thinkers and makers a place to find (re)connection with nature, time for research and space for artistic development. We foster renewed perspectives on the relationship with our planet. Additionally we offer a platform to investigate an artist- and community-led model for nature conservation.

V I S I O N

We strongly believe the arts can increase public awareness and influence understanding about ecology, climate change and the mass extinction of species. Collaborative interdisciplinary research,  the experience of remote and ancient volcanic landscapes, and community engagement translate into new works and renewed perspectives. These narratives travel the world through exhibitions, exchanges and public events and encourage others to think and act ecologically.

 

As cities and urbanized cultures continue to grow, people become increasingly detached from their natural surroundings. The constant need for economic growth is spurring climate change and the sixth mass extinction of species and ecosystems. What is our role in all this? How do we create meaningful change? How do we move beyond the flood of distressing scientific data and rhetoric to visualize an alternative future? How can we move past an anthropocentric view of the world? The arts may be most powerful tool we have to reimagine our relationship with our planet, and there is a growing activist art movement addressing climate injustice and ecological catastrophe. This can provide strength to bring about change based on community and interconnectedness, as well as the potential to rethink politics and demonstrate how nature is interwoven with economics, technology, culture and law. It is critical to support the parallel development of ecological and economical shifts that re-address the wisdom, tradition and culture of Indigenous people, and the importance of their cosmology.

Chile is a magnet for biologists, ecologists, astronomers, geologists, environmental activists and nature and culture lovers from all over the world. Nature conservation initiatives are on the rise, and a growing activist movement is winning important victories on national environmental issues.
 
At the same time, the arts of Chile are experiencing a renaissance. After years of government oppression, a new generation of conceptualist artists has emerged, using personal reverie, traditional culture and the earth as sources of inspiration for a new perspective. The change from an authoritarian and conservative culture to a modern, outward-looking society offers both opportunities and challenges to the country’s reconciliation with its history.
 
Indispensable in this narrative is the culture and voice of the Mapuche people, the original inhabitants of this land, who see widespread discrimination and the endemic poverty of their people as key part of the conflict over their ancestral lands. The Mapuche society recognizes itself as spiritually part of the ecosystem, and thus the way they manage it is strongly linked with their cosmological concept and spiritual thought. Their powerful kinship with the environment they inhabit generates a permanent search for a sense of equality, reciprocity and harmony. Their language Mapudungun serves as a medium of communication and expression, but also as art form. With a history that dates back thousands of years, the Mapuche culture and cosmovision offers insight and inspiration to visiting participants.
 
With its extraordinary natural beauty, flourishing art scene, and complex conflict between neoliberal government economics and Indigenous values, Chile offers a breadth of topics and inspiration for visiting participants to study, take inspiration from and contribute to. 

The area surrounding Valley of the Possible is part of Geoparque Kütralkura, the first and so far only UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Chile. This reserve contains six protected areas, 5 volcanoes and an outstanding level of globally recognized bio-and geodiversity. A geopark is a well defined area with a significant number of landscapes and sites of geological importance, rarity or aesthetic significance, highlighting its historical and cultural aspects. The geological history of this area spans the last 250 million years and represents the memory of the Earth. It is part of an integrated protection, education and sustainable development concept.

The original habitants are the Mapuche and Pehuenche people, whose culture celebrates and honours the divine nature of volcanoes and tradicional knowledge of local medicinal plants. Their sacred tree is the conifer Araucaria Araucana, whose name in Mapudungun (the Mapuche language) is pehuen. It is also a natural monument of Chile and recently officially declared threatened with extinction. The tree is described by many as a living fossil due to the longevity of the species. Its nuts, called piñones, are a staple of the Mapuche diet.

In the center of this geopark, which has a surface area of 8.100 km2, lies Conguillío National Park and volcano Llaima, one of the most active in South America. Geoparque Kütralkura is located in the IX region called La Araucanía and aims to contribute to social, cultural and economic development of this territory, which includes the communities of Caracautin, Melipeuco, Vilcún and Lonquimay.

Valley of the Possible is an initiative by Mirla Klijn and Olaf Boswijk,  both from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Mirla is an independent documentary and film maker. Olaf was owner/founder of TrouwAmsterdam and De School, two well known clubs for electronic music and contemporary art in Amsterdam. After traveling the Americas for almost three years, their wish to start a meaningful project is taking shape: a place where we can help redefine our relationship with the Earth.

Stichting Valley of the Possible is led by an independent executive board with extensive knowledge of and international experience in the arts, ecology, nature conservation and artist residencies.
 
Members of the Board:

Maria Tuerlings (former founder and director of TransArtists, board member BAK Utrecht, board member Farm of the World, Netherlands)
Sarah van Overeem-van der Tholen (business coordinator at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, board member Art Table, Netherlands)
Astrid Vargas (conservation biologist, Commonland, Tompkins Conservation, Spain/Netherlands)

Associate Curator:
Yasmine Ostendorf (Head of Jac. P. Thijsse lab for nature research at Jan van Eyck Academy Maastricht, founder of Green Art Lab Alliance, Netherlands)
 
Producer:
Morgan Catalina (founder of Out-of-Office, independent cultural event producer and curator, USA/Netherlands)