An overview of outcomes
At Valley of the Possible, we do not ask specific results from our participants nor do we believe in current narratives that often dictate we have to 'strive for impact'. We believe that if we are mindful of all the processes and circumstances intimately related to our residency programs and other activities, and if we take utmost care of all our relationships with reciprocity as our guiding principle, the results often exceed our wildest imagination. In other words: if we as an organisation practice ecological thinking, valuing relationships and interconnectedness in everything we do, the results, whatever they may be, will follow. In a world where everything is connected, it's unthinkable to not have an impact.
Since our first residency program took place early 2019, several of our alumni have continued to develop projects and works, some of which were conceived or further developed during their stay at Valley of the Possible. Below we highlight some of their most notable works and research projects.
Dutch visual artist and designer Xandra van der Eijk went on to develop the master's programme Ecology Futures at the St Joost School of Art & Design in Den Bosch, Netherlands. It focusses on how art and design can help define and change the narrative around today's anthropocentric worldview. The course includes the module Decolonizing Ecology Futures which features Mapuche philosopher Milton Almonacid and environmental sociologist Darko Lagunas. Milton, Xandra and Darko all met at Valley of the Possible in 2019.
Dutch media artist, designer and researcher Mark IJzerman had started to study southern Chile with help of sattelite data before his arrival to Valley of the Possible. His work culminated into 'As Above, So Below', an audio-visual performance, alongside French sound artist Sébastien Robert, that explores the changing landscape (due to deforestation) of La Araucanía through live visuals and sound. It was performed live by the duo during Rewire X Korzo festival in The Hague, Netherlands. See here for an in-depth feature with both Mark and Sébastien. Mark is also practice tutor at the aforementioned Ecology Futures master program, in the module Cartographies of the Vanishing Now, an ongoing research program that explores the potential of sensory art and alternative cartographic methods to remap reality in the age of environmental collapse.
Meanwhile French sound artist and researcher Sébastien Robert graduated from the Royal Academy of Art The Hague and won the Master Award of the ArtScience faculty. 'Rite Of Passage' is Sébastien Robert's newest installation. Initiated during his stay at Valley of the Possible, this project studies the influence of the Kultrun - a Mapuche drum - on the crystallisation of the Araucaria Araucana’s resin – an ancient tree sacred to the Mapuche and considered as living fossil – and explores the possibilities of preserving its ancestral rhythms in that medium.
Chilean designer and curator Juan Ferrer, director of Museo del Hongo (Fungi Museum), questions disciplinary boundaries by proposing new concepts in scientific engagement through artistic, immersive, and interactive experiences in a museum space. Museo del Hongo is an unconventional museum space dedicated to resignify the Fungi Kingdom. This year Museo del Hongo curated 'A Fungus Garden', an online exhibition as part of the Austrian digital arts festival Ars Electronica. A selection of their videos and performances can be seen on YouTube.
Dutch-Chilean environmental sociologist and researcher Darko Lagunas León, ended the year with the presentation of 'Voices of the North Sea': a research project aims at the representation of indigenous narratives of humans and non-humans in and around the North Sea and Zeeland, the Netherlands. His research, showing a more artistic side of Darko, was presented as 4 short films and was commissioned by the Embassy of the North Sea, part of Parliament of Things (iniated by French philosopher Bruno Latour). Earlier he co-developed with Milton Almonacid and Xandra van der Eijk the Decolonizing Ecology Futures module, part of the Ecology Futures at the St Joost School of Art & Design in Breda, Netherlands. Together with Valley of the Possible, he has initiated the 'Pewen Project': a research project (funded by WWF Inno Fund) that develops a convivial (literally: ‘living with’) conservation plan for the Araucaria araucana (Pewen) trees, based on indigenous Mapuche Pewenche knowledge, and their symbiotic relation with the Pewen trees. Artworks express this knowledge and relation, and function as a bridge between relevant stakeholders’ worldviews, and mediation tool during cultural frictions. In the meantime Darko continues to write articles and regularly acts as public speaker on topics such as non-western narratives, decolonization and rights of nature.
Last, but certainly not least, Nathaniel Popkin is a recognized writer and editor of fiction, non-fiction, film, criticism, and journalism from the US, who participated in our pilot program early 2019. He recently published his new book 'To Reach The Spring: From Complicity to Consciousness in the Age of Eco-Crisis', an urgent and deeply felt call to face our complicity in the earth’s destruction. In the shadow of an escalating eco-crisis—a looming catastrophe that will dwarf the fallout from COVID-19—how can we explain our society’s failure to act? What will we tell future generations? Are we paralyzed because the problem is so vast in scope, or are there deeper reasons for the widespread passivity? Nathaniel Popkin explores the moral, social, and psychological dimensions of the crisis, outlining a path to a future spring. 'To Reach The Spring' was partly conceived and edited during Nathaniel's stay at Valley of the Possible and the cover photo was also shot in the valley. The book was published late 2020 and is widely available online and wherever they sell books.
VOTP joins Green Art Lab Alliance
We have recently become an official member of the Green Art Lab Alliance: an informal, international network of art organisations contributing to environmental sustainability through their creative practice.
In gala's own words:
Planetary health has reached its tipping point. We established our alliance as a way to amplify the voices of artists and art organisations responding to the various social and environmental issues that are a result of this. We act as a ‘knowledge alliance’; strategically sharing resources, information and solidarity. Since 2013 we have grown with partners in Europe, Asia and Latin-America. Our alliance connects and empowers art centres, museums, residencies, art collectives, activists and grassroots initiatives that are strongly embedded in their local communities. Though some are big and others small, what we have in common is that we all perceive the arts as a powerful resource for social and environmental justice. We are all committed to our co-written Manifesto and act according to our Objectives.
Gala was founded by Yasmine Ostendorf, who is also active as associate curator at Valley of the Possible and a member of our selection committee.
Our first artist cabin is a Wikkelhouse
We are thrilled to share with you that we have built our first artist cabin!
It is a so-called Wikkelhouse: a small eco-friendly house made with cardboard as its main building material. Designed in Amsterdam, built by the local Wikkelhouse Chile team and with sustainably sourced Chilean wood. It has won various design and sustainability prizes and is a beautiful and durable construction, perfect for long term stays at the Valley. This cabin is the first ever Wikkelhouse to be built outside of Europe and will be available in 2021 for long term artist-in-residencies.
What started as a crazy idea about a year ago, quickly became reality when Oep Schilling (Wikkelhouse co-founder) and Rick Buchter (head of production) came to visit Valley of the Possible. They fell in love with the Valley and our project and Oep spoke the legendary words 'We are going to build you a house'. In Andrés Gutierrez he found the perfect local partner to start building Wikkelhouses in Chile. Andrés is an architect, furniture designer and founder of Tronco Noble, a company in Villarica specialized in high quality furniture and construction built with native wood.
We are incredibly grateful for the generous support from the Wikkelhouse headquarters in Amsterdam and the local Wikkelhouse Chile and Tronco Noble team.
BLACK EARTH residency program rescheduled to 16th April until 30th May 2021
Earlier last year, we had to postpone our residency program 'BLACK EARTH - cultivating biodiversity' until further notice. We are very happy and excited to announce that, if all goes well, it will take place during the spring between November 5th and December 19th 2021 in the Cañon del Blanco in Southern Chile.
This year's group consists of the following artists:
Sébastian Calfuqueo(Mapuche) - visual and performance artist, part of the Mapuche feminist collective Rangiñtulewfü. Their work proposes a critical reflection on the Mapuche's social, cultural and political status within contemporary Chilean society and Latin America. They use installations, ceramics, performance and video art.
Claudia Vásquez Gómez (Chile) - visual artist working in fields of performances and interventions in public spaces, in urban as well as in landscapes. The materialization of her work occurs through writings that become part of her installations and performances, as poetic acts.
Marit Mihklepp (Estonia) - artist speculating on possibilities of communication between humans and other-than-humans. With participatory experiences, microbial perfumes and scripted interventions she is mapping collaborative practices with trees, bacteria and everyday objects.
Amy Pekal (USA) - artist, researcher and writer who examines how dominant ideologies shape our understanding of the natural world. Her practice requires long-term and durational investigation of earths cycles and the communities that work with them.
Rosalie Wammes (Netherlands) - multimedia artist who works in various fields such as performance art, installations, music, scent and the practice of Ikebana. In her work she explores time and space, presenting new dimenions: a space to slow down and stretch time.
Nicolás Amaro (Chile) - photographer who mostly portrays landscapes and cultures and is specifically fascinated by rural communities. He seeks to deconstruct our notions of nature, blur the distinctions that limit our understanding in how we differentiate between natural and artificial, nature and culture, the living and the inert, animal, vegetable and mineral.
Simon Handy(UK) - artist living in London with a background in low-impact forestry and regenerative agriculture. A critique of neoliberal hegemony (and the mechanistic worldview that it entails) runs through all of his work.
BLACK EARTH is kindly supported by WePresent.
Nathaniel Popkin's new book 'To Reach The Spring'
Nathaniel Popkin (1970) is a recognized writer and editor of fiction, non-fiction, film, criticism, and journalism from the US, who participated in our pilot program early 2019.
He has just published his new book 'To Reach The Spring: From Complicity to Consciousness in the Age of Eco-Crisis', an urgent and deeply felt call to face our complicity in the earth’s destruction.
In the shadow of an escalating eco-crisis—a looming catastrophe that will dwarf the fallout from COVID-19—how can we explain our society’s failure to act? What will we tell future generations? Are we paralyzed because the problem is so vast in scope, or are there deeper reasons for the widespread passivity? Nathaniel Popkin explores the moral, social, and psychological dimensions of the crisis, outlining a path to a future spring.
'To Reach The Spring' was partly conceived and edited during Nathaniel's stay at Valley of the Possible and the cover photo was also shot in the valley. The book was published late 2020 and is widely available online and wherever they sell books.
Support by WePresent
The international digital arts and culture platform WePresent (the editorial platform of WeTransfer) is supporting Valley of the Possible with our BLACK EARTH residency program. A very courageous act in these times, also in light of the unfortunate postponement of the program. Their support enables us to greatly lower the fees for our three Chilean participants, who have less access and chances for funding. Furthermore it helps us to create a higher quality program and supports our mission to build sustainable and long-term relationships with our local partners and guest speakers. To say we are very grateful is an understatement, as this not only generates more equal and fair possibilities for everyone involved, it also gives us courage to continue with this program in the future!
top 10 Most Exciting Art/Sustainability Initiatives in Chile
'Point your actions in the direction of your values and dreams, in service of the better world we all know is possible.’
Valley of the Possible founders Mirla & Olaf speak about their mission in an extensive interview with Design Decode (a platform that 'brings together multiple voices from within design culture to experiment with, explore, and expand the living landscape of new possibilities united by the principles of Real Design.’)
SITUATION IN CHILE
In light of the current political and social crisis in Chile, we have written a brief statement in which we try to describe what is going on in Chile and we offer our advice to anyone who is considering to travel to Chile.
'What started as a student protest in Santiago on Friday the 18th of October, after a sudden rise of metro fares, has turned into a tsunami of unrest in which millions of Chileans have joined peaceful marches calling for an overhaul of the country’s economic and social model. Now well into it’s fourth week, there are still regular demonstrations, strikes and roadblocks in Santiago and most other big cities around the country.' READ FULL STATEMENT
Additionally we recommend reading a statement from activist, writer and one of Chilean's most famous artists Cecilia Vicuña.
Valley of the Possible welcomes three additional members to the board
We are happy to announce that Beatriz Salinas Marambio, curator and previous director of the National Centre of Contemporary Art in Santiago (Cerrillos), has been appointed as new Chair of the board. Current Chair Maria Tuerlings will continue as Secretary of the board.
We also welcome Chris Julien, research director of Waag Society, guest lecturer Critical Studies at Sandberg Institute and spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion NL. With an extensive background in science and community engagement, and currently working as project officer at EUSEA (European Science Engagement Association) in Germany, we are excited to share that Andrea Troncoso Quilaqueo is the latest addition to our board.
We are confident that with all this added wisdom, talent and experience, Valley of the Possible will continue to grow as mycelia and adapt and respond to current and future developments in the worlds of arts, science, ecology and Indigenous cultures.
podcast with founder Olaf Boswijk
Founder Olaf Boswijk was invited by ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) Green for a talk as part of a podcast called ‘Terug naar de Natuur’ (Back to Nature), in conjunction with Sublime FM and Club Groeneveld.
The conversation touches upon topics as how landscapes shape identity and culture, how not to go back to nature but forward towards it and how intuition almost always shows you the right way. “We live in a time where we need to look the beast in the eye. And, however daunting or difficult that is, we need to create new ways of living. We need to create different stories of what it is to be human.”
Listen to it on Spotify or via or the iTunes Podcast App
Valley of the Possible receives funding from the WWF INNO Fund!
For the research and development of the project 'Bridging worldviews for the conservation of Araucarias' - an inclusive conservation model for the ancient and sacred Araucaria Araucana tree, we have received support from the WWF Netherlands INNO Fund that stimulates global innovative conservation projects.
The aim of this project is to bridge diverse worldviews and develop an inclusive conservation action plan for the ancient and sacred Araucaria (Pehuen) trees in La Araucanía in Southern Chile. Valley of the Possible will initiate and host intercultural dialogues, where diverse stakeholders collaborate and unite to develop an on the ground action plan for the araucarias, providing a platform where heterogeneous (indigenous, ancestral, modern and universal) knowledges come together.
REVISTA ENDEMICO INTERVIEWED THREE OF OUR FIRST PARTICIPANTS
Revista Endemico, a Chilean virtual platform and annual publication that focuses on the connection between culture and nature, did a large feature about Valley of the Possible for which they interviewed three of our participants just after our pilot program in May 2019. Revista Endemico spoke to bio-art designer Xandra van der Eijk, multimedia artist Mark IJzerman and writer Nathaniel Popkin about their work and individual research projects. The interviews are all published and can be found here:
The Exploration of a Multiform Space
The Catholic University of Temuco (CL), Cookies (NL) and Valley of the Possible (CL/NL) are starting a joint preliminary study into the design of a shared space for artistic development: an inclusive space that does justice to the qualities, history and (indigenous) traditions of this region, where international artists, scientists and creatives can work side by side with the local community and students of the university.
The final phase of this study consists of the organisation of public programmes in both Chile and The Netherlands to present the results. The ultimate goal of the project is the realisation of this space, which will be partially built by the students of the FAAD, community members and participants in Valley of the Possible.
The Exploration of a Multiform Space project is kindly supported by Creative Industries Fund NL
Welcoming our first participants to 'Possibility of a Valley'
We are thrilled to welcome our first group of participants to the Cañon del Blanco valley in southern Chile! This pilot program is designed to explore what are the cultural, historical and ecological layers of our remote valley, and allows artists time and space to reflect on their individual projects and research. In addition, workshops, guest lectures and excursions are designed to investigate role and the potential future of the residency. We are so grateful for everyone’s support in making this refugio for art & research a reality, and can’t wait to share what new ideas, insights and challenges result from this first program.
Pilot program comes to an end
We are thrilled to have been able to welcome our first group to the Cañon del Blanco valley in Chile! Our pilot program 'Possibility of a Valley' was designed to explore the various historical, cultural, social and ecological layers of the valley and surrounding region and allowed the participants space to reflect on their individual projects and develop research. In addition, workshops, guest lectures and excursions were designed to investigate the potential future of the residency. We are so grateful for everyone’s support in making this residency a reality, and can’t wait to share future outcomes from this beautiful and intense month.
Please visit our Instagram for the most recent updates.
Valley of the Possible visits Catholic University of Temuco
Valley of the Possible will be visiting Universidad Católica in Temuco on Wednesday May 20th. Four of our participants (Sébastien Robert, Mark IJzerman, Nathaniel Popkin and Juan Ferrer) will be presenting their work and individual research projects for students of the Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design. Valley of the Possible founders Mirla Klijn and Olaf Boswijk will do a short introduction aswell. Everyone is welcome to join.
Wednesday May 15th at 15.00
Campus San Juan Pablo II
Admission is free and open to the public