This collaborative work between artist and filmmaker, Diego Piñeros García, and community activist, Jorge Clavijo, features a series of interviews with elders from the semi-rural community of El Charquito, a settlement on the outskirts of Bogota, the capital of Colombia, adjacent to the River Bogota, the city’s main waterway. Once an inspiration for Alexander von Humboldt, who measured the height of the spectacular Salto Tequendama waterfall, a cascade flanked by a luxuryhotel and reachable by train in the nineteenth century, today the river is described as a corpse: a body of water full of pollution from the industrial and urban waste that flows into it and downstream toward the Magdalena River. The voices in the film weave a story of the construction of the first aqueduct that siphoned water from the river to feed this community, a settlement founded alongside the construction of the country’s first hydroelectric plant which provided the first electric street lighting to Bogota as the city celebrated the centenary of Colombia’s independence back in 1910 with lavish events and exhibitions. Clavjio and Piñeros García made El Charquito (2020) through a collaboration cultivated through their participation in the entre—ríos network.
Funded by “Mi Casa un Escenario para la Cultura,” Soacha, 2020. Secretaría de Educación y Cultura, Alcaldía Municipal de Soacha
Jorge Clavijo & Diego Piñeros
Clavijo is an economist, musician and environmental activist who lives in the village of El Charquito, in Suacha municipality, on the banks of the Bogota river. There, he works with community groups on water protection, biodiversity conservation, food sovereignty and wetland reforestation project, articulating the education and agricultural projects Escuela de Pensamiento Ambiental y de Paz Humedal El Charquito and Red de Agricultores de la EPAP Humedal El Charquito. His collaboration with Piñeros was born from the need to create an audiovisual historical memory that stimulates the sense of belonging, environmental awareness and the sustainable development of the village as an example of a community that bases its daily life around nature conservation and the arts.
Piñeros García’s practice spans video, painting, installation and collective processes, taking great influence from cinematography, science fiction, history and music. He studied art at the Universidad de Los Andes, but believes in making art that does not look like art. Humour and irony play constant roles in his work, where he posits disappointment as an effective means of exploring and learning, positing failure and error as the only authentic acts of which human beings are capable. Piñeros García is interested in human-technology relations, the erroneous idea of progress and the construction of nationhood, questioning institutional history from a poetic perspective. Since 2013, he has been part of the artist collective Calderon & Piñeros with Elkin Calderón Guevara.
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.