Photographic Installation “We are part” - Puerto Ayora, July 2022

“Any destination, for long and complicated it may be, actually consists of a single moment: the moment when a man knows forever who he is.”

Jorge Luis Borges

 

As a result of the national strike, where many social sectors of Ecuador participated, claiming a fair right to equity of conditions, we could evidence a disconcerting division of the identity as a society. ¿Have we managed to identify as a nation? ¿How do we identify in our close environment that reflects as a nation? These concerns brought me to question if, us, who live in a Patrimony of Humankind, do really identify as a community or, being “galapagueño” is just another tag around a unique destination in the world that it’s been building in a social diversity almost ignored.

The Photographic Installation “We are part” looks for transmitting these social diversities that day after day is building the Patrimony of Humankind, this society that has the great responsibility to take care of patrimony that belongs to the world and that is extremely sensitive. ¿Are we building an identity conscious about the ecosystem in which we are living in? ¿Are we getting involved, all of us, from our own spaces, in this construction of the patrimony? Or is it that, ¿Only the hegemonic powers are the ones that assign an identity and divide us in archetypes? The construction of the Patrimony as well as of the island identity shall be conceived from an integrating view, a view of authentical commitment to respect the ecosystems, a non-disruptive view that connect us as society and that allows us to build in a sustainable way the Patrimony of Humankind.

The images developed in the Chlorotype technique or Chlorophyll Prints, belong to archive images from 2019 thru 2022 of people living in the islands from different productive sectors; inhabitants who were born in the islands and those who have arrived from mainland Ecuador and that I have portrayed in different social contexts. From a total of 200 selected images at first, only 100 images seemed to have the necessary contrast during the digital process to continue with the OHP acetate print process. Off the 100 printed images, only 60 images resulted with the needed contrast to make the insolation process. Due to the low sun conditions during the process of insolation, only 31 images developed successfully. All the leaves were gathered from a garden bougainvillea flower (Bougainvillea sp.) that belongs to one of the introduced species of flora in the Galapagos islands. Every image, after making the fixing process, chemical process that allows to break the leaf cell wall through baking soda and replace it with copper sulphate and glycerin to maintain elasticity of the leaf, to avoid the development of fungi during its natural process of decomposition and to protect the leaf from the radiation impact; the leaves were set between two layers of glass of 10x15 cm, to be installed in a public space at ground level.

About the semiotic concept of the work, I chose the bougainvillea plant, also called “summer flower”, because Galapagos is often related to holidays, to summer, to the dream destination to visit due to all the endemic species that inhabit the archipelago. The bougainvillea as well as humans, are introduced species to the ecosystem and we are all part in the construction of the Patrimony of Humankind that many people dream about visiting. We have been adapting ourselves to the existing living conditions; however, if we are not conscious about the responsibility that means to live in the islands from a balanced and conciliatory conception, we are running the risk of losing the natural wealth we live in, just like the sun fades the chlorophyll, the patrimony may also fade due to the intensive use of the resources. The selection of the place where the Installation took place, calls for reflection of the art as an integral part of our society, it’s inviting the audience to see beyond the evident, to be able to reflect on its natural environment. All the plates were situated at ground level in a green area at one of the local plazas, inaugurated recently just in front of the sea.

The Installation “We are part” took place on the 9th of July, 2022 and received many visitors from the island as well as national and foreigner tourists. For most of the people, it was the first time the saw an art work like that, for some, especially locals, was confusing to find a photo show that “was not on easels” and that somehow can be evident and sumptuous. There were many people who said “I passed by because I thought nothing happened”, others, following some tourists that were “looking to the ground” decided to stop by to find out “what was it that the tourist were looking at” and found out the images; and some others, that founding the images couldn’t understand how can the photographs be there and only after I explained them the context of the work, decided to stay and explore every of the images.

The relevance of social participation in the construction of an identity cannot respond to biased promises nor individual interests; the conservation of ecosystems is a global responsibility, it is necessary to reach an authentical understanding from the roots, from respect to every one of the species that live in the ecosystem. Sustainability is reached with equity, with a genuine commitment of holistic understanding, a commitment detached from the individual vanity where the legitimate value of every actor is recognized.

In memory of my father after one year of taking his greatest journey.

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