Digital history & historiography

The map is not the territory - Perspectives on the Amazon Basin

28 February 2024

Perspectives on the Amazon Basin - Laura Colmenares Guerra
Hands on History talk with 3D artist Laura Colmenares Guerra.

As you read these lines, the Amazons Rainforest keeps on burning. During the month of August 2018, the news spread fast over social media platforms. Hashtags such as #wildfires #AmazonFires #SaveTheAmazons made their trends for not more than seven days. Other trends rapidly covered #AmazonFires trends. Approximately one million hectares of high biodiversity forests have been burned so far since the #AmazonFires started. Almost 20% of the Amazon rainforest has been devastated. Reports from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show that in the first seven months of 2019, the deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon increased by 278%. Experts estimate that it would take 200 years for those forests to regenerate.

The Amazon is the largest and most diverse Rainforest in the world. It extends over 7.8 million km2. It's home to millions of people and countless species. It plays a crucial role in mitigating the effects of climate change, balancing the climate, distributing rainfall, and capturing massive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2). However, the management of the Amazon Basin as a whole is limited due to the differing public policies defined by the nine countries it spans across, hindering cooperation mechanisms. There exists an unfortunate and persistent view of Amazonia as a remote territory full of infinite natural resources, open to new forms of agriculture and extractive colonisation, which has only become more complicated over the last 50 years with the integration of the region into national and international economies.

At a national level, the Amazon Rainforest is viewed as a territory capable of ensuring energy sovereignty and a source of income based on the production and commercialisation of raw materials. On a global scale, the region provides significant quantities of commodities while also being recognised as the most important source of fresh water and biodiversity, as a regulator of the Planet's climate, and as a carbon sink for large quantities of greenhouse gases.

Laura Colmenares Guerra. Photo by Joachim Devillé

Laura Colmenares Guerra is an artist working with installation, sculpture & digital narratives in the field of 3D (animation, Virtual Reality and 3D printing).

She explores the intricate relationships between contemporary Western societies and the natural world, encompassing ecosystems, the environment, and all living beings. This research leads her to create immersive settings that relate to the politics of landscape and the notions of territory. Her works explore the constructions of the concepts of nature, natural and language as a foundation medium for reality.


Wednesday, 28 February 2024

14.00 - 15.00

Hybrid event: C²DH Open Space (4th floor, Maison des Sciences humaines) and online.