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_ What is survival?  Who and what should survive in the face of climate catastrophe? How do we build a world where conservation plays a principal role?

Whose jungle is it?

Whose is this mato?

The answers to these questions continue to be anthropocentric. Humans will remain at the center and hold the reins of the conversation, challenging all ecological concepts until they fit our needs. El mato is a new series of images produced by the artist in collaboration with AI that spring from a visit he did to the archeological site of Chiribiquete in the Colombian department of Guaviare, a series of plateaus with paintings on rock dating from 12,500 years ago and only recently discovered by the West.

The trip, which was shared with artists and Colombian trans conservation biologist Brigitte Baptist, put an emphasis on the strategies of conservation for both the paintings and their now ‘natural’ environment.

In this new project, Echeverri explores several of his main interests: on one hand, the creation of images and their arrangement in narratives that allow the viewer to visit partially imaginary worlds – transport them to a kind of visual literature or filmic narrative. On the other, territory, displacement, and survival processes for the construction of a new habitat that spring from concerns regarding the conservation of the jungle in general, and the Amazon in particular. Using photographs taken during this trip, the artist employs artificial intelligence as an ally and a tool to develop a conversation about the Amazon jungle (termed "mato"), its past and present inhabitants as well as its conservation. 

The sequences of images can be exhibited either as a digital slideshow with music provided by the artists or printed on paper thus collapsing the worlds in which they too live. The viewer is taken through an ancestral culture by its ‘elder siblings’ up to the political universe and the leaders of the countries touched by this jungle territory. Shifting between optimism and a dark vision of what awaits us, we traverse parallel temporalities in which they try to survive while the settlers, forced by new ecological dynamics, are forced to migrate to safer territories using whatever resources remain available. In a parallel narrative but complementary, politicians appear in desolate scenes, in disagreement, drawing upon desperate measures for the recovery of their environment after much lost time. 

Artificial intelligence creates images from commands and a blend of all existing images in human databases. Camilo, in conversation with the machine, manages to construct visuals from an imaginary space between reality and fiction, the present and the future, darkness and light.

Emiliano Valdés.

Chief Curator.
Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín

Click or Swipe to see the images

Photography Studio
© Camilo Echeverri 2021. All Rights reserved.

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