< Live Streams




HD video, 17:38 mins. Spanish with English subtitles

This short film compiles materials from workshops, interviews and site visits that the Peruvian artist Alejandra Ortiz de Zevallos has been carrying out among communities that live alongside the Surco river in Lima. This pre-Hispanic hydraulic infrastructure is part of the millenary technologies created to irrigate the desert-plains of the Lima area, now home to a population of some 12 million people who have migrated to the city in successive waves, establishing, in many cases, makeshift settlements that are on the margins of urban infrastructure. Despite its heritage, the Surco canal today is as polluted as other bodies of water that run through Lima to the Pacific Ocean. In her work, Ortiz explores community cartographies of the body of water, delving into the sensory connections and lived experiences that limeños develop with this almost forgotten urban flow.

Alejandra Ortiz de Zevallos

Peru, 1995

Alejandra Ortiz de Zevallos studied Sculpture at the Faculty of Art and Design of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Since 2019 she has been working with communities around the Surco canal in Lima, intersecting pedagogical methods with audiovisual and installation practice, to explore emotional attachments and community mappings of this pre-Columbian but contaminated body of water. Ortiz is currently working as an art teacher in Lima and designing a participatory workshop of weaving and braiding of the natural fibres that grow on the banks of the river, using the Andean braiding techniques she learned in Moray, Cusco, during a residency with Mater Iniciativa in 2019. Her work was exhibited in the group show La posibilidad de lo común,at Galeria del Paseo, Lima, in 2021, and she participated in the exhibition KHIPU at the Museo de Arte de Lima in 2020.



Live Streams is curated by Lisa Blackmore (School of Philosophy & Art History and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Essex), Diego Chocano (Assistant Curator of Essex Collection of Art from Latin America/University Art Collections) and Emilio Chapela (Artist and Research Assistant at the University of Essex). This website was built by David Medina.

Art Exchange is the University of Essex’s on-campus gallery dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art from emerging and established international artists. It is directed by Jess Twyman.