“Why are we so afraid of falling when fall is all we’ve ever done?,” asks the indigenous leader and thinker Ailton Krenak as a provocation not to be afraid, and to turn the act of falling into something exciting and edifying, perhaps even as an act of healing. He insists, in his book Ideas to Postpone the End of the World, on the need to build “colourful parachutes” that help us to slow down and to allow our dreams and imagination to inform our actions.
I dreamt about the Salto del Tequendama but I have never been there before: I know the cascade only through the photographs and stories of my colleagues and friends which have got entangled within my dreams. In my dream, I dropped a video camera down the waterfall to record the fall: the camera stirred and turned immersed in the polluted waters of the Bogotá River. What I don’t remember is if I saw the camera falling in the distance while standing still or if I was falling along with it, dazzled in dirty waters. I imagined the pollutants in the water as lines of colours flowing close together. I woke up agitated. It was then when I realized, that for some time, I had been falling too. The dream that provoked these paintings happened some months before stumbling into the work of Ailton Krenak. However, after reading Krenak, the lines of colour transformed into parachutes that slowed down the fall. One day, I might go there and throw a camera down the Salto del Tequendama. (Emilio Chapela)
Emilio Chapela is a visual artist, researcher, and PhD candidate at the University of Plymouth. His art practice explores connections between science, technology, and ecology, examining notions of time and space as manifested through matter and forces such as rivers, astronomical phenomena, light, gravity, rocks, plants, and volcanoes. His work has been exhibited widely in museum and gallery exhibitions in Mexico and abroad. His most recent museum solo show, En el tiempo de la Rosa no envejece el jardinero, for which he collaborated with architects, astronomers, and other scientists, was held at Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico City in 2019. Chapela is a guest curator and artist with entre—ríos.
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.