Universes in Universe

For an optimal view of our website, please rotate your tablet horizontally.

Selva Cosmopolítica

The Amazon rainforest from a biocentric, cosmogonic and political approach. Long-term artistic and multidisciplinary research project incorporating ancestral knowledge. Initiated in Colombia, curated by María Belén Sáez de Ibarra.

Curatorial text and presentation of the initial exhibition at the Museo de Arte Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, 2014.

Ursula Biemann / Paulo Tavares, Miler Lagos, Delcy Morelos, Fabián Moreno, Abel Rodríguez, Miguel Ángel Rojas

The Art Museum of the National University of Colombia integrates a Cultural Heritage program that proposes to work transversally, through art, memory and bioculture. Selva Cosmopolítica (Cosmopolitical Jungle) is a program initiated in 2012 by researcher, producer and curator María Belén Sáez de Ibarra in collaboration with several artists, which focuses on the exchange with the communities that inhabit the territories of the Amazon rainforest. Within the framework of the program, experimental projects and long-term research are developed with working teams from the artistic, scientific and philosophical fields, in collaboration with indigenous people, on the basis of their knowledge and epistemologies.

María Belén Sáez de Ibarra clarifies, that "from a biocentric and cosmopolitical approach, we want to recognize the Amazon rainforest as a cognitive, semiotic, historical and political entity at the heart of an ethics for thinking and acting in affirmation of life, which includes other ways of knowing, conceiving and imagining possible worlds, in the midst of the planetary humanitarian and environmental crisis."

After the exhibition El Camino Corto by Miguel Ángel Rojas, the program took shape in 2014 with the group show Selva Cosmopolítica, continuing in 2016 with El Origen de la Noche, in 2018 with Conjuro de Ríos, and, in 2022 and 2023, with Forest Mind, Vocal Cognitive Territory and Devenir Universidad.

Ten very conflictive years worlwide have passed since the opening of Selva Cosmopolítica at the Museo de Arte UNAL in 2014, which Universes in Universe had the opportunity to visit and feature at that time. In these 10 years, new and old conflicts broke out in the region, as well as wars in the world; pandemics, populisms, hatreds and uncertainties have emerged. In the current situation, unfortunately, the planetary human-environmental crisis seems to have been relegated to the background, out of the current focus. In view of this, Universes in Universe publishes here a totally renewed presentation of Selva Cosmopolítica in the conviction that its proposals, reflections and searches have become more relevant and necessary than ever.

Curatorial approach

The approach of Selva Cosmopolítica is cosmogonic, because it embraces the atavistic indigenous culture and knowledge; but also cosmopolitan, from a planetary vision and an intercultural outline; and furthermore, political. Not only because it shows the lack of awareness and care about a notion of life and the living, but also because it points to the "other", to another culture in friction, which essentially different from our prevailing social and economic structures -- ultimately mediocre and opportunistic-- which could be and inevitably will be, re-examined, while life is vulnerable to the absence of conscience, and the damage appears already irreversible.

In the exhibition, we see ailing cultures in friction that struggle to find their course and their survival: which is of crucial importance that in this tension, the concept of life breaks through above all the interests and ineptness of contemporary society.

What can we learn from indigenous knowledge and how can we contribute to evaluate and revive our relationship with the Earth and the living world? These are questions that are posed to us.
(María Belén Sáez de Ibarra)

See also:
Curatorial text ►
María Belén Sáez de Ibarra: "Selva cosmopolítica: Naturaleza, territorio, raza y cultura"


Museo de Arte de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Ave Cra 30 #45-03 Edificio 317
Teusaquillo, Bogotá
Location on map

Texts edited and translated by Universes in Universe, on the basis of information provided by curator María Belén Sáez de Ibarra.
© Photos: Haupt & Binder, Universes in Universe

Back to Top