1 Alto Pucallpillo native community
2 Alto Vista Alegre de Shitariyaku native community
3 Chirik Sacha native community
4 Chirikyacu native community
5 Copal Sacha native community
6 Dos de agosto de Palometa native community
7 El Naranjal native community
8 Huimba Muyuna native community
9 Ishichiwi native community
10 Kawana Sisa native community
11 Shabana Yaku native community
12 De Morillo native community
13 Mishkiyakillu native community
14 Nuevo Lamas native community
15 Panjuy native community
16 Pawana Anak native community
17 Pukallpa native community
18 Shucshuyaku - El Dorado native community
19 Shucshuyaku - Lamas native community
20 Simbakiwi Yaku native community
21 Solo del Río Mayo native community
22 Tornillo Yaku Zelandia native community
23 El Wayku native community
24 Ya ku Shutuna Rumi native community
25 Huaja native community
26 Sanango caserío (hamlet)
27 Chazuta centro poblado
28 Eladio Tapullima centro poblado
29 Shamboloa centro poblado
30 Uchpayacu centro poblado
31 Huimbayoc district
32 El Dorado province
33 Campo Verde native community
34 Charapillo native community
35 Nuevo Alianza native community
36 Nuevo Nauta native community
37 Nuevo Ponderosa native community
38 Nuevo San Martín native community
39 Nuevo Santa Rosa native community
40 Shawi San José native community
41 Villa Hermosa native community
42 Shampuyacu native community
43 Shimpiyacu native community
44 Yarau native community
A Alto Mayo Protection Forest
B Cordillera Escalera Regional Conservation Area
C Cordillera Azul National Park
D Rio Abiseo National Park
Walkers in Amazonia. The Calendar Project declares that the information gathered and organised regarding the forest lore related to the nurturing of the “mountain” and the chacra, as well as all opinions, have been obtained through consented dialogue with representatives from the Kichwa, Awajún and Shawi communities in San Martín, with Waman Wasi, at Lamas, as constant mediator. The information found here is cultural heritage of the communities that have kept it and regenerated it, generation to generation. Any possible use by third parties must acknowledge the rights of the communities and peasants that are mentioned in all curatorial pieces. The filming of Shifting. Slash and Burn, in January, 2023, coincided with the social upheaval that shook the entire country. There was restricted access to Awajún and Shawi territories. Both ethnic groups are represented through their community calendars, which we were able to gather.
Waman Wasi is an NGO with Public Registry N° 11002603, issued on May 29, 2002. It is registered in Agencia Peruana de Cooperación Internacional (Peruvian International Cooperation Agency). Its institutional team is comprised of a board of directors and a coordinator. Its purposes are bolstering community organisations through food security, cultural affirmation based on their traditional knowledge, acknowledging the wisdom of Amazon and Andean original peoples, training indigenous technicians, leaders and intercultural teachers and disseminating indigenous voices and images. The value of indigenous societies’ immaterial cultural heritage is now being acknowledged, due to its elders’ contributions to the care of nature. Their legacy, for the public benefit, is the health and education of new generations. Waman Wasi’s work has a regional scope, and initially focused on three provinces in the San Martin region: Lamas, El Dorado and San Martin, later widening its reach to the Moyobamba and Rioja provinces. The activities for the support of indigenous Kichwa communities in the past 17 years have been related to cultural affirmation, with an emphasis on agrobiodiversity, health and intercultural education, and complementing with research activities in environmental, forestry and ecosystemic issues. Waman Wasi works closely with State organisations in Education, Development and Social Inclusion, Agriculture, Environment and Culture. It also coordinates with the San Martin Regional Government and local governments in three provinces: Lamas, El Dorado and San Martin.
Grimaldo Rengifo (Tocache, San Martin, 1946) is a Peruvian educator and researcher, specialised in intercultural education. He cofounded Proyecto Andino de Tecnologías Campesinas (Peasant Technologies Andean Project, PRATEC, Lima 1988). From 2020 to 2023 he was a member of the National Education Council through the Ministry of Education’s Ministerial Resolution N° 410-2020. As an educator, he is interested in furthering biodiversity and the affirmation of native cultures, custodians of ancient wisdom related to crop nurturing, care for the environment and respect for nature. He is founder and advisor at Waman Wasi.
Luis Orlando Romero (Tingo Maria, Huanuco, 1963) is a Peruvian educator and researcher. He is founder and coordinator at Waman Wasi, institution that for more than two decades bolsters native Kichwa communities in the San Martin region, with the support of international cooperation institutions: Dutch Society for Nature Conservation, Terre des Hommes Germany, HelpAge Germany, Traditions for Tomorrow – Geneve and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, in order to carry out strategic programmes aimed at agrobiodiversity, food safety and climate change, territorial and rights governance and community intercultural education. It supports communities’ children, youths, adults and elders, as well as teachers in indigenous schools.
Zadith Coral (Lamas, San Martin, 1967), Peruvian, is manager at Waman Wasi since 2003.
Elizabeth Nájar (Lima, 1993), Peruvian, is a collegiate public accountant, and assistant manager at Waman Wasi since 2017.
Jhoselyn Yolanda Romero (Lima, 1993), Peruvian, is intercultural education promoter at Waman Wasi. She is an OB-GYN graduate, with studies in intercultural and community education. She supports processes of reflection and understanding for cultural affirmation by strengthening the capacities of teachers, education authorities and young leaders from the Kichwa, Shawi and Awajún native communities since 2019.
René Arbildo (Juanjui, San Martin, 1991), Peruvian, is intercultural education promoter at Waman Wasi. He has studied intercultural and community education, as well as being forestry specialist and physical education teacher. Since 2018, he supports teachers and young people in training processes for creating community calendars. He assists in teacher training for intercultural education. His camera skills aid him in this task.
Girvan Tuanama (San José de Sisa, San Martin, 1981), Peruvian, is community education promoter at Waman Wasi. Field technician and educator, he has experience at institutions such as Sacha Maman and Waman Wasi since 2011. He supports Waman Wasi since 2015, as head of the community education area, where he coordinates activities with the native Kichwa, Shawi and Awajún communities. His parents taught him how to nurture biodiversity, as well as teaching him Quechua; both skills help him in his work with communities.
Gregorio Sangama (Lamas, San Martin, 1974), Peruvian, is community education promoter at Waman Wasi. Field technician and small-scale farmer, he has experience in institutions such as Sacha Maman and Waman Wasi since 2006. He is skilled with the camera and has studied Andean-Amazon agrobiodiversity. He learned Quechua from his parents, as well as how to nurture chacra, “mountain” and water; both skills have helped him to connect with the Kichwa community.
María Gabriela Rengifo (Lima, 1990) is a Peruvian artist, graphic designer and communicator. She is in charge of communications at Waman Wasi. She has taken part in art exhibitions and festivals in Lima (Peru) and Quito (Ecuador). She has 15 years of experience as a graphic designer, and has designed more than 20 books. Among other mentions, in 2008 she won the first place in the Instituto de Publicidad y Marketing Leo Design creativity contest. In 2014 she designed the Escuela Nacional Superior Autónoma de Bellas Artes graphic identity, to celebrate its 96th anniversary. In 2018 she participated in Peru’s 1st Graphic Design Biennial.
Jorge Rengifo (Lima, 1995) is a philosopher, videographer and junior project manager. He is in charge of communications at Waman Wasi. He studied Philosophy at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. He published Sobre la reconciliación del laberinto (Ecuador, 2016). He writes chronicles for the Waman Wasi blog and is audiovisual producer at the Sachavideos label, found on Waman Wasi’s YouTube channel. He is a militant supporter of interculturality, and a chicha and masato enthusiast. He loves tangerines.
Rosi Marisol Cachique (El Naranjal native community, Rumisapa, San Martin, 1991) is a Peruvian forestry technician and researcher at Waman Wasi. She has working experience as rural development promoter and in forest inventory. At Waman Wasi she supports children, teenagers, youths and forest keepers from native Kichwa communities. She is part of the Bosques Secundarios – Purmas research team.
Alexia León (Lima, 1970) is a Peruvian architect, educator and urbanist. She graduated and received her Architect and Urbanism title from Universidad Ricardo Palma (Lima, 1994 and 2001). She received a master’s degree in Architecture, Urbanism and Sustainable Territorial Development (AUTS) from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú with her Atlas Río Mayo research (Lima, 2019). She founded Alexia León Arquitectos and leondelima (Lima, 2006). She was finalist at the II Mies Van Der Rohe Award for Latin American Architecture (Barcelona, 2000) and was acknowledged as Outstanding Project in the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP, Chicago, 2014). She was visiting professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (Boston, 2007) and Urban Future Initiative Fellow at MAK Center (Los Angeles, 2009). She was nominated to the BSI-Swiss Architectural Award, USI – Accademia di Architetture (Mendrisio, 2016) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Marcus award (Wisconsin, 2009 and 2021). She founded leonmarcial arquitectos with Lucho Marcial (Lima, 2012). In 2021 they participated in the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale de Venezia. In 2022 they were awarded, in Cusco, the Colegio de Arquitectos del Peru’s Hexágono de Oro for their Museo Nacional del Perú project. In 2022 the Lima Municipality granted her the Medalla de la Ciudad de Lima, and in 2023, in Chicago, leonmarcial received the MCHAP Outstanding Project acknowledgment. She is cocurator, with Lucho Marcial, of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Partecipazioni Nazionali – Pavilion of Peru (2023). Their proposal, Walkers in Amazonia. The Calendar project, was selected by contest by Patronato Cultural del Perú. Her architectural and urbanism practice integrates her research on territory and landscape in the Andean Amazon, San Martin, Peru.
Lucho Marcial (Lima, 1962) is a Peruvian-American architect, educator and urbanist. He studied Architecture at Columbia University (New York, 1985–1989) and received a master’s degree in Architecture from Harvard University (Boston, 1989). He founded Lucho Marcial Arquitectos (Barcelona, 1999), where he designs independent projects, as well as projects in association with Rafael Moneo and Manuel de Sola-Morales. He was professor at Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona (2001–2004), Universidad Internacional de Cataluña (Barcelona, 2004–2007) and Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Lima, 2009–2015). He represented Peru at the Bienal Iberoamericana de Arquitectura y Urbanismo (Rosario, 2014). He founded leonmarcial arquitectos with Alexia León (Lima, 2012). In 2021 they participated in the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. In 2022 they were awarded, in Cusco, the Colegio de Arquitectos del Peru’s Hexágono de Oro for their Museo Nacional del Perú project. In 2023, in Chicago, leonmarcial received the MCHAP Outstanding Project acknowledgment. He is cocurator, with Alexia León, of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Partecipazioni Nazionali – Pavilion of Peru (2023). Their proposal, Walkers in Amazonia. The Calendar project, was selected by contest by Patronato Cultural del Perú. His architectural and urbanism practice integrates education and research on constructive processes.
José Orrego (Callao, 1963) is a Peruvian architect. He leads Metrópolis Oficina de Arquitectura, with more than 33 years in the market. The office has specialised in different project areas, among them its residential buildings, corporation offices, large-scale projects, mixed uses buildings and commercial complexes. From 2012 to 2014 he wrote for Semana Económica’s Immobiliaria X blog. Since 2012 he is the commissioner in charge of the Pavilion of Peru in the International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Partecipazioni nazionali. He has been granted architecture awards in biennials and by institutions. He is founding member at ARQUIDEA, Peru Green Building Council and Asociación de Estudios de Arquitectura. He is director of Patronato Cultural del Perú, member of the board of advisors at the Universidad de Lima Architecture Faculty and member of the investment committee at Fit Capital.
Patronato Cultural del Perú is a private non-profit institution, created in 2010 to contribute to the country’s development, furthering and working with the State in long-term cultural projects, both national and international, as well as in the recovery of Peru’s material and immaterial cultural heritage, with the purpose of bolstering the country’s cultural wealth, citizenship and national identity.
Vicho Castillo (Lima, 1975) is a publicist. He has been creative director in agencies such as La Contra, Fahrenheit DDB, Properu Lowe, TBWA Perú and Mayo FCB. He is at present general creative director at Copiloto, a creative agency for brands with a purpose, considered 2020’s Peru’s Best Independent Agency by El Ojo de Iberoamérica, and which is in Ranking Crema’s 2023 Top 10. He has been part of BBH World Compass and received different international acknowledgments, among them El Ojo de Iberoamérica, FIAP and the SAB–Miller Mercatus Grand Prix award. He participated in The Wrong Biennale, based in Sao Paulo, with the project Ícaro. He has produced several music events, among them the Concierto de las 6 Naciones.
Vered Engelhard (Lima, 1993) is an artist and scholar based between Lima and New York. Their work is centred on Andean and Amazon ancestral technologies, as well as feminist ecologies. They activate with ASYCA, the Association for Water Sowing and Harvesting, dedicated to community design projects for water stewardship in the Peruvian Andes. As a sound designer, they work with expanded methods for field recording and sonic cartography, in collaborations for poetic and socioenvironmental justice. They also perform as experimental music project Canto Villano. Engelhard is a PhD candidate in Latin American Cultural Studies at Columbia University, New York.
Víctor Checa (Lima, 1986) is a Peruvian director, screenwriter and producer. His work has been screened at several film festivals and exhibitions all around the world, among them Tallinn Black Nights, Locarno, Montreal, Havana, Malaga, Neuchatel, Beijing, Los Angeles, Chicago and Guadalajara, as well as festivals and shows in Peru. His first feature film, Tiempos futuros (2021), won the jury prize at the Beijing International Film Festival (BIFF), in the Forward Future category, for new directors.
Valery Pavlova (Crimea, 1994) is a photographer. After studying in Moscow and New York, she explored Mexico and Peru. After two years, South America feels both an adventure and home. Photography has allowed her to express herself more emotionally and to connect with places and people.
Billy Silva (New York, 1985) is an award-winning Peruvian-American director. Throughout his career he has worked in a wide array of genres and styles, from documentary to fiction, as well as commercial, experimental and sports entertainment projects. He has directed and produced the acclaimed sports series Dunk League Vols. 1 and 2, the BMW-produced documentary series The Future of Art and films for National Geographic, CNN, Boiler Room and The Global Oneness project. He is currently developing something fun.
Edgar Girón (Piscobamba, Áncash, 1971) is a Peruvian cameraman. For more than 20 years he has loved capturing images and sound, and is particularly interested in documentaries and historical films.
Juan Carlos Huincho (Huancavelica, 1991) is a Peruvian photographer. He is studying Visual Projects Direction and Photography at Centro de la Imagen, after graduating in Direction and Advertising Design. He participated in the 16th National Documentary Photography Contest, Espacio Tiempo (Trujillo, 2019), where he was awarded an honorary mention. He has participated in the exhibition Serpens Cauda, at Fisura Galería (Lima, 2020) and in the Lima Metropolitan Municipality Feria de Artes -FAS: Edición Artes Visuales. His photographic work reflects on daily events, pertaining to human nature.
Samuel Chambi (Lima, 1983) is a Peruvian photographer and arts manager. He has taught photography at Centro de la Imagen, Corriente Alterna and Escuela Nacional Superior Autónoma de Bellas Artes del Perú. He has participated in exhibitions both in Peru (El Ojo Ajeno gallery, LimaPhoto, Museo MATE, Fundación Euroidiomas and Fundación Telefónica, among others) and abroad (Galerie Younique – Paris, Casa de las Américas – Madrid, FOLA and Buenos Aires Photo – Buenos Aires and El Museo gallery – Bogotá). He won the 4th Salón de Fotografía – ICPNA, was awarded the Repsol award honorary mention and was finalist at Pasaporte para un Artista. At present he is focused on photography projects and directing Fisura Galería.
Alessandra Pinasco (Lima, 1974) is a Philology graduate from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Her love of words has led her to write for several magazines, among them Vogue Latin America. Her work as translator and copy editor, specialised in art publications, has made her a frequent collaborator with Patronato Cultural del Perú for its written material for the country’s participation in La Biennale di Venezia. She is the author of poetry book Lost and Found and of an autobiographical cookbook, La Marmita Encantada. She is part of poetry publisher Álbum del Universo Bakterial and editorial director at poetry publisher Templanza.
Michael Prado (Lima, 1988) is a Peruvian anthropologist, graphic designer and poet. He is editorial designer at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú’s Architecture Publications Department. He has recently published the poetry book Bodisatva en el Centro de Lima (La Balanza, 2022). He leads the Caracol de invierno haiku workshop at Comunidad Budista Soto Zen del Perú.
Marisol Michilot (Lima, 1996) is a Peruvian architect. She studied Architecture and Urbanism at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Lima, 2020) and obtained her degree with her research Red de caminos para la conservación de bofedales en el Altiplano. She wrote the article “Heterotopías panópticas”, published in Arquitectura & Investigación. Arte, tipología, política (PUCP, 2021). She is Peru coordinator for Walkers in Amazonia. The Calendar Project at leonmarcial arquitectos.
leonmarcial arquitectos (Lima, 2012)
Its work includes cultural, education, housing and mixed-use projects aimed at creating a dynamic understanding of scale and context, redefining our relationship with the weather, incorporating economic responsibility, welcoming any change in plans that may arise with time and understanding non-human relationships in the context of our landscapes. The studio is itself an open platform that seeks ways to boost the design process through transversal conversations on structure, space and materiality through prototype development, a process that analyses not only the possibilities of what can be built, but also sparks the question of what can be built now, responsibly and thinking of the common good. The studio’s practice dissolves the borders between architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. Its projects are the result of extensive collaborations with multiple professionals, among them craftspeople, carpenters, engineers and gardeners. At present the studio is working, among others, on affordable housing projects and community infrastructure.
Alexia León, Lucho Marcial
Waman Wasi et al.
Zadith Coral and Elizabeth Nájar
Jhoselyn Romero and René Arbildo
Girvan Tuanama and Gregorio Sangama
Jorge Rengifo and Gabriela Rengifo
With the collaboration of
San Martin Local Education Management Units (UGEL)
Director of the El Dorado UGEL – Carolina Pérez
Head of pedagogical management at the El Dorado UGEL – Joisi Sangama
Coordinator in Perú
Construction details coordination
Alex Cuadra and Henry Villalta
Calendars and Waman Wasi
Juan Carlos Huincho
Sublimatto, Federico Vallejos
Ana María Chávez
Coordination and management in Venice
eiletz ortigas | architects
Patronato Cultural del Perú
Grupo El Comercio
Shifting. Slash and burn (2023)
and first cameraman
Sound design and recording
Darwin Velasco (Pajarito)
With the support of
Peru Export and Tourism Promotion Board – PROMPERÚ
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
Hilite with Iluminación ERCO
Sasha Cutter Hsu & Aaron Hsu
Gisela Zapff Dammert de Carter
Pepe Palma – Illusione
Tania Jelicic – balkanica
Nicole Bernex Weiss
Luisa Graña de Belmont
Delfin Amazon Cruises
UNIADUANAS Agente de aduanas
Librería Arcadia Mediática
Universidad de Lima
Luis Zwiebach – Power Technology
With the additional support of
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Culture
Asociación Peruana de Estudios de Arquitectura
Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería
Universidad Privada del Norte
Colegio de Arquitectos del Perú
Susana Majluf, Pilar Majluf, José Antonio Majluf,
Iago Masías, Renato Fernandini, Isabel Elías,
Isabel Ballón, Alina Canziani, Jorge Villacorta,
Paulo Dam, Carlos Penny, and Lucy Cudeña.z
The Patronato Cultural del Peru is a private non-profit institution, created in 2010 to contribute to the development of the country, promoting and working hand in hand with the state in long-term cultural projects at national and international level and in the recovery of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of our country in order to value our cultural wealth, civility and national identity.
WALKERS IN AMAZONIA
The Calendar Project
Edited by LEONMARCIAL Arquitectos S.A.C.
Calle Víctor Maúrtua 140, of. 603
San Isidro, 15073
Patronato Cultural del Perú
© Alexia León and Lucho Marcial, 2023
© for the prologue: José Orrego
© for the texts: Alexia León
© for the images: see images captions
© for the drawings: leonmarcial arquitectos
Printed in Spain by Artes Gráficas Palermo
Avda. de la Técnica, 7
28522 Rivas Vaciamadrid
First edition, May 2023.
Legal Deposit in the National Library of Perú
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocoping, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission.
The Patronato Cultural del Peru is a private non-profit institution, created in 2010 to contribute to the development of the country, promoting and working hand in hand with the state in long-term cultural projects at national and international level and in the recovery of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of our country in order to value our cultural wealth, civility and national identity.
Amazonia is inhabited by future times. It is a place where networked stories are heard; stories that insist on a mutual nurturing of the territory, a nurturing that depends on walkers and their paths. On their regional walks, or puriy, the walkers cross rivers and overcome a rough terrain. They exchange the specific lore with which they care for their territories, in this way building an extended historical ecology. Their stories are as ancient as they are young and recent, and they traverse Peru in its entirety, diluting the longitudinal bands that divide the country into coast, highlands and tropical rainforest. The walkers, porters of a reality with a rich history, have suffered massive disruptions. However, neither colonisation nor modernity have succeeded in evaporating their social organisation. The collective, which is constantly updated, has resisted, even welcoming all new arrivals – be them human or not – with hospitality. Their exchange of care and maintenance lore has made it possible to regenerate the forests even today. Nowadays, from their marginal position in territorial management, they put their trust in mutual aid. In spite of everyday conflicts and disagreements, they evolve novel ways of dealing with these new times, and with the uncertainty caused by the planetary crisis. What are their real needs today? Apparently, what they need is to remain connected. To live in community, articulating life spaces: house, chacra, mountain, water. These are anchored to a dynamic reality that does not allow a person to remain in the same spot for long, much less to walk alone. While colonial modernity imposes separation upon them, they insist on finding each other, in order to restructure society and strengthen their trust-based networks.
In these times of separation, the fragmentation of Amazon territories is a constant in public policies, through the official design of planning, urbanism and land-use regulation. Modernity and its utopia of progress disturb their diversity, by demarcating the administrative conservation borders in its pursuit of development. The urban centres / rural peripheries dichotomy is constructed upon Eurocentric, imported models that impose a concept of time as separated from events, a diminishment of community life itself. Designing a great void, deprived of culture and always homogeneous, benefits a market economy that uses highways to connect resources, thus dividing – both physically and politically – other ways of caring, maintaining and modifying the territories through collaborative exchanges. Environmental management units have imposed monocultural patterns on community realities from above, therefore fragmenting the care networks that make a life attuned to the non-human possible. In order to decolonise knowledge, we must slash and burn these notions; we must walk, collecting and acknowledging the coproduction processes for conservation content. We must also expand the teaching methods that result from a dialogue around lore between many actors in synchrony. The ecological crisis affecting both water and rainforest, the crisis of life, demands a mental and physical shift from the utopia of progress in order to begin to imagine, and restore, imposed and urgent protection mechanisms that propel us violently towards a choice: Do we conserve with people? Do we conserve without people?
Waman Wasi, “House of the Sparrow Hawk”, is an institution that mediates between the homogenous perspective of the State and the plural indigenous biodiversity visions around forest conservation in San Martin. It asks: How should we educate? How can we create new capacities that allow us to conserve with people? How can we enrich a habitat, coming to terms with permanent change? Its path begins with accepting that education in the region remains a colonialist project, opposed to a nurturing of the territory. Hence it proposes the creation of a “fissure” in the system, in order to renovate learning, acknowledging the indigenous wisdom disseminated along the community territories. It can then revitalise this wisdom through a system of educational tools that are constantly circulating and expiring, and which include the other. The Calendar Project, together with its time shift technologies, presents us with the workshop of the future, both in and out of the classroom; a workshop that reconfigures an educational fabric that bolsters inhabitation as part of a network. With more than two decades in the Andean Amazonia, Waman Wasi accompanies the Kichwa communities – which it considers “teachers” – in this collective restoration effort, and has recently included the Awajún and Shawi communities. The project reinforces the community-school binomial, inviting teachers in rural schools and the different UGEL (local education management units) to a dialogue with the forest keepers from native, mestizo and migrant communities, its leaders and community makers. Thus, they coproduce contents that further a return to a time of regeneration of life, to the fulfilment of the collective; a time when a lore ecology is born, when humans and non-humans nurture each other, become bonded, creating a new pattern language of restoration, a bioculture that sheds any notion of exclusion and of rupture with the realities of the communities, which are always dynamic, in constant mutation.
The Calendar Project creates for and with “the other” a new, “familiar” access to knowledge, from its foundation: building trust among those who are different, from the starting point of walking together day to day. It is in this way, through conversation, that the environmental technique is recovered; it is later reproduced through commented drawing. The project invites us all to reform our practices, which are nowadays governed by a linear concept of time, in order to transform us into agents of change, committed to renovation, all together, with one voice. In the process it trains us, both physically and mentally, to walk with others; to acknowledge and collect, together, its pre-existing knowledge; to get to know other ways of life and make adjustments hand by hand, in its physical configurations, which are understood as “obsolete” or non-existent from the perspective of the project of modernity. It teaches us to listen to new languages, to be uncomfortable for a while, in order to create new relationships of resistance based on differences and variations of encounter, renewed in collective exchanges and celebrations. By interlacing knowledge spatially, and participating in the matrix of dialogue, we strengthen the school-community binomial, and make our commitment with the knowledge of these marginal realities visible. Thus, we further the acknowledgment of the historical rights of small family agricultural communities who are in charge of the maintenance and care of forests and their water sources. The networked collective action of an environmental conscience, articulating micro social efforts attuned with each other, dampens the dominant, mercantile voice calling for the extraction of resources in order to build the “Amazon city”. Waman Wasi amplifies the fissure in the educational system, disseminating it to other inter-disciplinary local and global contexts, outside of its comfort zone. As architecture practitioners, have we been taught to listen to the other? How can we overcome our own training when facing complex realities which we don’t know, which we don’t inhabit?
The Pavilion of Peru reimagines the laboratory of the future, offering its gratitude to the coproducers of Andean-Amazonian plural knowledge, the guardians of the forests – represented by Waman Wasi –, for their sustained inclusive work in the San Martin region. The value of their time-technology tools, as management and planning instruments, is acknowledged in the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. These tools further the integration of social, economic, political, ecological and cultural territories, nowadays spatially fragmented and disconnected due to the road infrastructure pertaining to modernity and its territorial ordering. It is equally a tribute to rural educators, especially UGEL directors and the heads of education representing the State from the base of the education system pyramid. Tenaciously, and from the margins, they strive to walk in a network with the communities and become attuned to their intergenerational knowledge. We would like to acknowledge especially the native Kichwa Lamas communities, the seeds of this restoring project; the women teachers who have transcended their ethnic borders and the comfort zone of their families in order to join the reparation efforts with the Awajún and Shawi communities, sharing with them the care of Cerro Escalera, across boundaries. We are grateful to the community makers who have succeeded in disseminating the calendar through their close circles, thus ensuring food security for the most vulnerable communities. They have been a resistance collective during the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when teachers were unable to reach the communities. Walkers in Amazonia. The Calendar project proposes an audiovisual installation inviting visitors to immerse themselves in a public space of listening and collaboration that encourages a networked transference of knowledge and amplifies voices of hope. As curators and educators, we are conscious that we are mediators of a certain way of life, one which is fragile, relevant and endangered. Therefore, we feel responsible for keeping it company, disseminating it and renewing it, attuned to the spirit of the chacra-orchard culture. The audiovisual installation will allow visitors to explore it freely, interacting with instruments that are here together for the first time; thus, they will be able to reinvent and connect their own realities to that of remote, dispersed territories. The spatial reconfiguration of the Sali d’Armi at the Arsenale will bring visitors closer to the walkers’ sense of time, as well as to the multiple voices and the synchronicity of their historical ecology. We hope this dynamic experience will allow the public – and ourselves – to shift our usual ways of seeing, understanding, communicating and doing, and to readjust the modern concepts of progress that remain entrenched since their emergence during the colonial possession of Amazonia. This is an active path towards starting new conversations about future times.
The laboratory of the future is familiar. It is a living textile, an exchange. It fosters trust. It is there with us while we reflect and do, hand by hand. It is a fissure in the establishment. It interlaces knowledge from dispersed inhabited spaces. It is a vehicle for life preservation. It distances itself from an opposition between forces. It is based on love; it makes no enemies. It stimulates respect and curiosity. It has no fixed, definite shape. It does not separate. It keeps an active peace, in a fresh and vital spirit, always uncensored, unashamed of mutual nurturing. It does not erect categories between its actors, nor retaining walls for its desires and emotions. It reproduces spaces for encounters, instead of fields for fighting. It is able to intertwine. It demands fidelity and resistance in the mission of keeping the harmonisation between matter and spirit active. It grazes and temporarily burns its soil in order to regenerate and allow itself a leap in scale.
Amazonia is shaped collectively, through small networked actions. Who designed it? Who are designing it now? The ecological history of the Andean Amazonia contains multiple stories. We may begin by telling one of them, a story that unfurls many others. Together, these stories have succeeded in building Amazonia, making multiple synchronised adjustments, always attuned to change. Walking connects the physical and social experiences, interweaving the human and the non-human. The walkers of the Middle Huallaga, Upper Mayo and Lower Mayo rivers know, determine and modify living spaces through synchronised and repeated actions. In this way they care for, repair and regenerate – with variations – the forests and their distressed ecosystems. Through their inter-regional walks, the walkers travel long distances back and forth, crossing land and water territories. Thus, they agree to care for living spaces in forests, rivers, riverbanks, hillsides and ravines. As Richard Sennett (2012) says, “technical skills come into two basic forms: making and repairing things”. The coproduction “by hand” of biodiverse territories not only entails putting trust in cooperation; it also requires creativity and tenacity from its makers, in order to keep weaving relationships between social, economic, familiar and cultural networks. The daily mutual support that reproduces diversity and variation demands that the collectives update their own tools for resistance. With or without rain, with or without the sun, with or without the moon, with or without landslides, with or without unexpected swells, walking ensures constant social and physical contact; it is a cultural affirmation. Contact and reciprocity between diverse entities has reinforced an interweaving of dynamic micro-territories; integration has been, and remains, constant.
The walkers of the Middle Huallaga and Mayo rivers are survivors of a long history of hardship. Amid permanent conflict, they have resisted domination by outside forces that have attempted to colonise them through evangelisation, limiting their unrestrained walks by means of new boundaries of control, dominion and property, through the demarcation of provinces and counties. Their skill, however, was taken advantage of; they were used as porters during the intense trade in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, always under unequal terms. The forests, which until then had been understood as places of learning, became their shelter, their resistance. It was the place where they gave life to the network. At the same time, their forced labour, which meant food security for the new arrivals, was thus ensured. The process of collaboration between Spaniard dominators and the dominated indigenous was neither acknowledged nor made known in any of the spheres of power. Maps or cartographies in the “world of the other”, still unknown both by Jesuits and Franciscans, spread without limits, concealing the social organisation behind local knowledge. Pre-Hispanic walkers were the principal “agents” that were needed for gaining access to the knowledge required to extract “infinite” resources. We argue that most walkers in Amazonia have the capacity to interlace and articulate life relationships based on a networked knowledge. These skills, however, remain unacknowledged by official land use planning. The walkers’ urbanism and their social matrix are absent from all public policy narrations. Understanding Amazonia as a craft project undertaken by walkers allows us to hear a story kept under a veil until now; a story of resilience under hardship. It also enables us to both acknowledge and regenerate its authors’ role as caretakers and modifiers of the territory, and therefore to stop repeating colonial history. Acknowledging these regenerative processes is essential in order to understand the construction of the Amazon present from a positive perspective. What is it that these caretaking cultures do?
The Kichwa Lamas chacra-orchard culture maintains that the forest and the water, joined by paths, are a representation of the world.
Understanding the collective begins with engaging with the non-human, and it is this which enables its conservation. The notion of family community and of the common good is built upon the care and maintenance of the forest. For the Kichwa forest keepers, wandering to the forest is a way of restoring their emotional stability. It has been a constant, especially during times of domination. Maintaining the forest was a way of resisting and learning to distinguish variations in light, colour and temperature. They understood, collectively, the cycles of rain and drought. Their survival depended on this coordination. (León 2019)
The dynamic coexistence between humans and non-humans, driven by caring with affection, is opposed to the Western division between society and nature. For the walkers of the Mayu river (now known as River Mayo),
…their chacras-orchards replicate the forests. They recreate their concrete ecosystems and dynamics through specific actions, in which parent crops such as maize, beans, yucca and plantain become interrelated through extremely active processes: grazing, slash and burn, picacheo, rameo, sowing, harvesting, clearing and weeding, always attuned to the seasons, winter and summer. An understanding develops of times of rain and drought, of the synergy with the sun and the moon. The natural subsistence species (fruits, fruit-bearing trees, timber-yielding trees, non-timber-yielding trees and medicinal plants) keep together a balance between the Llullupurma (the tender regenerating rainforest), the Machupurma (the old regenerating forest) and the Machusacha (the old rainforest). It is upon this relationship that the outlook and environmental action of walkers and their farmer families, organised into networked communities, is built. (León 2019)
Training in the lore of combining crops and pieces of forest ensures the spatial rotation of shadow and avoids soil erosion. The variety of shrubs, vines, epiphytes, weeds, roots, etc., with their different paces of growth, creates a coexistence with birds and other rainforest animals. Crop diversity regulates temperature, especially the summer sun and the wind storms. The soils record these forest interactions. Its depth, in altitude, creates nutrients for all living beings. Being attuned to the weather is essential for a mutual maintenance between human and non-human family communities; the set of variations and multiple details is what makes the reforestation of the forest possible. (León 2019)
Farmer families have acquainted themselves with the dynamics of water; with the rivers Huallaga and Mayo, its ravines, its cochas or lakes, its streams, but also with the hillsides, with dry gulleys and its edges, its waman samanas. All of them become points of reference.
In the chacra-orchard culture, territories are pieces of a great mosaic which needs to be taken care of, and kept company, every day. The walkers sow seeds in different chacra-orchards in alliance with other families. They learn together from “other pieces”, as they drift towards other boundaries of care. The physical and social spheres are interweaved. They support each other in relationships based on reciprocity: the choba-choba, minga and maki-maki, which become more intense during festivities. In them, all of the paths (the purinas, the horseshoe paths, main paths, farm paths and personal ones) are activated. Here, the inter-family and inter-community networks become stronger. (León 2019)
Learning is greater when it occurs collectively. Communities are the agents that are always ready to become attuned to the unexpected. If communities are resistant as part of a network, what is it that makes them vulnerable? What are walkers concerned about regarding the future?
The strategy of “modernity as idea of progress” – sustained by the “positivism” that arose following the war between Peru and Chile, known as the War of the Pacific – continued to erode the social fabric. The East of the country (the Amazonian “mountain”) was incorporated into the national territory, a geographic space devoid of culture. Road infrastructure conquered the jagged geography, rich in resources. San Martin, the “national pantry”, embarked upon an unprecedented process of environmental and cultural degradation. The Carretera Marginal de la Selva, a 1963 transnational road project by president Fernando Belaunde Terry, cut off community territories and increased the population on the Central Huallaga and Lower Mayo River areas. The excessive emphasis placed on the large-scale yield resulting from agricultural policies focused on single-crop farming encouraged internal migrations that densified all inhabitable spaces in the Amazon territories. This degraded the relationships with a diversified family agriculture, linked to a culture of care and reciprocity. The region then underwent violent times. During the 1980s and 1990s, the internal armed conflict caused by Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru (MRTA) and Sendero Luminoso, in addition to drug trafficking, shook Bajo Mayo, leading to a large inter-regional migration. Public policies were protected by legal frameworks and regulations, delimiting provinces and districts where new, compact cities became disconnected from dispersed settlements. This led to a vulnerable rural periphery lacking basic services and dependent on a centralised urban economy. The environmental management tools began to be defined by a market policy. Communities remained deprived of economic, social and political guarantees; the constant demographic pressure and an education disconnected with local lore led to significant malnutrition problems.
At the waman samanas (resting stops on the hillsides, between the Mayo riverbanks), community leaders sit down on flat stones on the wider ridges, looking at the opposite riverbank. From there, they contemplate the degradation of their territories, constrained by the recent migrant belt that encircles them, occupying headwaters and managing their water sources by deforesting according to external patterns. They talk about the future and the weather, and make a commitment to heal together from the trauma of modernity. They feel vulnerable in the face of the complexity of the territorial crisis. Above all, they are vexed by the large percentage of protected areas, where new controls have been imposed, limiting their capacity to manage these territories. Thus, a history of networked knowledge, bonded with free, unlimited walking, becomes marginalised. The Kichwa native communities of Middle Huallaga and Lower Mayo share the care for ancestral territories with the Lower Huallaga and Yurimaguas Shawis, and with the Awajún, mainly from the Upper Mayo, together with other migrant communities. CODEPISAM (Development Coordinator for Indigenous Peoples from the San Martin region) and FEPIKRESAM (Federation of the Kichwa Indigenous Peoples of the San Martin region) come together under AIDESEP (Inter-ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest) in order to be able to reach the Central Government. These associations deal with issues related to defending community territories and legislation, and share problems such as deforestation and its impact on the planet. The Kichwa Lamista communities, with their extended network in San Martin, defend the ancestral community territory known as Cerro Escalera (the Cordillera Escalera Regional Conservation Area – ACRCE 2005) together with the Shawi ethnic group. The Awajún are trying to recover the Alto Mayo Protection Forest (BPAM), acutely degraded by the community itself, by renting it out to immigrants. The Kichwa Lamista communities, together with the Yine, Shipibo Conibo and Cashibo Cacataibo, cohabit in the Cordillera Azul National Park (PNCAZ). In Amazonia, native federations are articulated through peasant, mestizo and immigrant communities; by sharing the issues they have in common, they become integrated under a community identity. They become stronger through alliances which respect their differences, and fight for conservation in solidarity. An Amazonia devoid of cooperation furthers a homogeneous, fragmented, unequal reality; it is divided into lots and remains on sale. Which institutions amplify local knowledge and the mutual nurturing that is practised in these communities?
Institutions that, lovingly, strive to do their best for Amazonia, are another source of care for the region. Waman Wasi, the “House of the Sparrow Hawk” – that all-seeing bird –, creates a community space in Lamas. It is a small non-profit organisation, fragrant with the breeze of future times. It has chosen conservation with people. Since the late 1990s, its founders, educators Grimaldo Rengifo Vásquez and Luis Romero Rengifo, actively carry out their commitment to protect conservation efforts by the San Martin indigenous communities. They began working with the Kichwa communities. From within its earthen walls, Waman Wasi fosters relationships between mestizos and natives, through informal conversations. It is building a new sense of community that is healing territorial, social and political fragmentation. Single-crop farming has affected diversity, impacting the subsistence of indigenous groups with its landscapes of rice, maize, coffee and pastures. The new cultural practices brought by migrants, to whom local rhythms are foreign, progressively densify and fell their smallholdings, leading to increasing landownership. This pressure on the soil impacts the environment. Mismanagement of resources and waste prevails. Forests and rivers are deteriorated. Waman Wasi encourages communities,
…by acknowledging their history as keepers of the territory, as guardians of the forests, shining a light on agricultural diversity at a time when no attention is paid to local family self-supply economies. They trust their ability to regenerate agriculture, medicine and culinary culture together with communities, considering them key elements for restoring the balance. (CLR 2023)
In this way, they reaffirm their identity, based on a mutual nurturing that takes into account diversity and plurality in a context of inequality. For Grimaldo Rengifo, Waman Wasi’s cofounder, “in Amazonia, education remains a colonial project; it is a modern process by which its inhabitants become subjects that receives an education that teaches them to transform, rather than to nurture nature; in this way, predesigned models are transferred to the community” (CGR 2023). He points out that education is in crisis, and that a new, intercultural education governance is of the essence; it is imperative to find another way of educating, thus reinvigorating the knowledge of local groups whose modifications are attuned to the particular vocation pertaining to Amazonia. According to Rengifo,
…the new education cannot do without a nurturing of the territory. In order to ensure it, it is essential to build bridges between the school, which represents the State, and the communities. This bridge had been lost to an excessive concern about test results and work education, such as the school vegetable garden. It is important to offer a new training process for the teachers themselves, who have not been formed in the system; this will allow them to do research and to acknowledge ancestral lore as valid. (CGR 2023)
Waman Wasi, as mediator between them, “fosters a new education scene, by insisting that the communities’ education culture is as valid as the official one. It acknowledges that the community offers answers, that the school, likewise, offers answers, and that alone, separately, they will not be able to face global challenges” (CGR 2023). For Grimaldo,
…it is crucial for school and community to be a binomial, joined in the effort to conserve life. This task requires the State to territorialise, to place itself within local histories, and for teachers to get to know their contexts, resorting to great creativity. Both require an effort in training in service abilities, which will enable them to interpret nature’s dynamics. (CGR 2023)
This leaves us along a path towards imagining a new education system; “an attuned education fabric, a new lore ecology, a weave of knowledge that is able to regenerate the balance between human and non-human” (CGR 2023). In this challenge regarding collective care, what is important?
For Luis Romero Rengifo, coordinator at Waman Wasi, it is important to be able to articulate different education cultures. As he says,
What do you teach? How do you learn? Where do you learn? These questions are related to an understanding of your own space, the one you care for. The Kichwa, Shawi and Awajún groups care for their landscapes wisely. Through agriculture, food and medicine, they achieve a biocultural equilibrium that allows them to compensate for the transgressions by other visions. This learning, which is always intergenerational, falls on the elders, the abuelos or grandparents. They pass to the new generations the concepts of nurturing and diversity, related to caring for the forest and the water. The one who teaches must have charisma in order for the student to be receptive. The wise person does this with affection; thus, knowledge shifts and flows. (CLR 2023)
Waman Wasi asserts that
…care for life itself is considered a community educational culture, and is passed on to other actors that are present outside of the community. They encourage the role of native communities, together with other actors, in the creation of pedagogical content. For them, the greatest challenge is to trust in multiculturality, and this has taken time. They began by keeping the Kichwa group, in the Lamas province, company; then, they extended their reach to the El Dorado province, and finally, to the San Martin province. Its challenge this past decade has been to be with the Shawi communities, to keep them company in an elemental way, and recently, with the Awajún communities, to build relationships based on trust. A pride in knowledge is nurtured at school; it is there where students have been disconnected from their matrix of knowledge, their territory (CLR 2023).
What to do? Waman Wasi, as education reformers, as mediators of the complexity of knowledge, believes in the day-to-day experience that dilutes ethnic differences between mestizos and natives, as well as economic and power differences, with equity, walking all spaces of life in order to create a fissure in the education system. As Lucho says,
…in order to understand how we take care of each other, together, we must understand agricultural cycles, the cycles of fish, the cycles of trees, together with our own cycles; in this way we become connected, little by little, with lifeforms. In this collective walking we know, we learn when to do, when not to do (CLR 2023).
Walking helps them to accept and shine a light on the fact that there is a knowledge that creates a link with the landscape: it is the knowledge of mutual nurturing. Through this biocultural pact aimed at seeing the future, Waman Wasi creates a cooperative educational fabric, one in which the forest keepers, teachers, community makers, students, leaders, the State and new arrivals guide education processes and projects, together. It is “A matrix of diverse actors, where an interaction of different knowledge is put into practice to achieve proper care, in addition to adapting and integrating to dynamic realities” (CLR 2023). Their greatest challenge is to encourage a dialogue between diverse people in a context of separation, to link intercultural community education with the education mandated by the national syllabus. It is a situation that constantly requires developing new abilities. “In the educational fabric, each actor weaves a dialogue of lore, sharing their signs and secrets. The different pedagogies thus relate to one another, but keep their own place, rhythm and time” (CLR 2023). How does one collaborate with another? Is there freedom to be found in mutual aid?
Waman Wasi puts its trust in “educational peers” in order to bolster collective learning and support the other, those who have always been there. Waman Wasi and the communities work together with community makers and teachers, and are supported by community leaders and the State in their aim of reproducing the diversity of the partnership composed of, on one hand, students and forest keepers, and on the other, the forests and the water. To achieve this, being ‘within’ the other is of the essence. For Waman Wasi,
…the community maker, together with the community, and in coordination with the teacher, decide on the content of the projects and learning sessions. The teacher relates with the territory, the community maker coordinates and supports the teacher, organises local knowledge with the help of the forest keepers, and adapts to the circumstances that arise from community learning experiences (CJR 2023).
These relationships bolster a wider network of diverse actors sharing the same space. For María Carolina Pérez Tello, director of the El Dorado UGEL, the greatest challenge lies in achieving equity and inclusion, in order to provide an education service that is connected to the communities’ realities. For her, conserving the territories implies a biocultural understanding of community.
The education service requires talking, reflecting, deconstructing our own practice as teachers, so we can reach our students in different contexts. I work in San Martin, shaping my own network as well as creating networks between different UGEL, connecting them to rural schools and their teachers (CCP 2023).
How do we come into synchrony? For Joisi Sangama, head of pedagogical management,
…what is most challenging is for everyone to act in unison, for us to feel that we are part of a whole; that we can act to root out, or at least bridge, the gaps between urban and rural. I trust it is possible to develop competencies and abilities for ideas, thoughts, actions and lore to become articulated, between everyone (CJS 2023).
She acknowledges that the greatest step has been for teachers to accept that
…learning doesn’t take place in a single, fixed space; rather, everything becomes linked there where language is born. They have understood that classrooms are not the only places where learning can occur. One can learn from the river, the chacras, the houses, the forest (CJS 2023).
For community makers, walking is a cultural affirmation. It is by walking that the ancestral lore related to care is updated. Paths join them with other paths. For them, territories are their life. They are the legacy bequeathed by their ancestors, who have entrusted their safekeeping to them. Gregorio Sangama and Girvan Tuanama are the first community agents at Waman Wasi; they have been there for 18 years. They became community educators, and during the COVID-19 pandemic they went on to be known as community makers. For Gregorio, “community makers must encourage and invigorate their ancestors’ actions, so others can watch and learn; for this, it is essential to foster encounters between them” (CGS 2023). For Girvan Tuanama, “the territory is the learning space. Indigenous lore can be found in different spaces. They are open classrooms, connected by the paths, where there are always people. Community makers get support from the leaders” (CGT 2023). Misael Salas Amasifuén (leader of the Kichwa community known as Solo del Río Mayo, which is fighting for its ancestral territories to be acknowledged by the State) insists that “the Kichwa people have land to take care of, and the forest to protect; it is all for them, because it nurtures them, and feeds them” (CMS 2023). For Misael, “migrants don’t think about the future; they don’t take care, they deforest” (CMS 2023). Leonel Rodríguez, mayor of the San Antonio del Río Mayo community, represents the mestizo communities. He points out that “the mestizo communities are the real hinges with the State. The separation between natives and mestizos cannot be strengthened anymore. It is fundamental to interweave, always being respectful to official law” (CLR 2023). Miguel Miyari, apu of the Nuevo Lamas Kichwa community, which is settled within the confines of the Cordillera Escalera Conservation Area, maintains that “they are the old park rangers; they take care of the rainforest. They get support from their social organisation” (CMM 2023). Which instruments does Waman Wasi propose for encouraging a dialogue between these visions? Is it possible to reproduce capabilities with them?
The Calendar Project expands mutual nurturing in Amazonia. Waman Wasi began the project in 2002, when it started working with the Kichwa Lamas communities. In 2008 it took part in the national collective for community and environmental education, in alliance with the Ministry of Education. In 2018, Waman Wasi proposed a certification programme on Andean-Amazon Biodiversity and Intercultural Education. This allowed Waman Wasi to persuade several UGEL, as well as teachers, to take part in training programs for adapting education contents to different territories, and therefore to the realities of indigenous communities. In 2019 it included Awajún teachers, and in 2022 it incorporated two Awajún communities (Yarau and Shimpiyacu), as well as the first Shawi teachers. Waman Wasi is committed to a set of simple, intertwined instruments that are in sequence and have emerged from the community itself. They show the links between caring for the territory and mutual aid, or maki-maki (hand by hand). These tools for collaboration between a diversity of actors are useful for decolonising knowledge and reaffirming culture. Grimaldo Rengifo describes the value and the challenge presented by these instruments for change:
The challenge lies in solving uncertainties as a community. The community calendar is made of links, bonds, relationships that can gather us around a table, urban and rural inhabitants together, mestizos and indigenous people, the forest-dweller and the small farmer. It can encourage those that are different to start a conversation. The calendar is an instrument for territorialising the knowledge that is scattered throughout the entire territory. It is an instrument that can stimulate the regeneration of all the diversity existing in the planet. It shows us communal time, a lived experience comprised of a set of events of variable duration that manifest in a place and are recreated each year. The duration, the mark of the lived situation, a time lived cyclically as in the muyuy, the fabric of life that spins, rotates and goes full circle, and in each cyclical movement […] is led by a crop, a celestial body, a climate event or a celebration. Time and place are strongly related, they are one and the same (CGR 2023).
The community calendar expires and is updated collectively, encouraging the different actors to listen to each other, and to communicate swiftly in order to receive and transmit this knowledge.
In the multi-situated workshop, contents flow and are mutually redefined, always with respect and attuned to each other. In order to depict the calendar, one must first walk through the territory, create the matrix that organises knowledge and write the forest lore booklets. The calendars are collectively recreated and repaired. One learns from each edition, from every modified detail; this process builds a critical commitment with the other. For Lucho Romero, “the biodiversity community calendar displays the way a community walks. There are details that, even if they’re not depicted in the calendar, are present in the collective mind, since life is dynamic” (CLR 2023). The Calendar Project is open to the experimentation pertaining to a dialogue of lore in constant mutation. Jhoselyn Romero (OB-GYN) and Gabriela Rengifo (visual artist) are daughters of founders Lucho Romero and Grimaldo Rengifo, respectively. As the second Waman Wasi generation, their task is to further intercultural and interdisciplinary education based on this collaborative instrument. For Jhoselyn, “the community calendar is an instrument that allows them to establish a dialogue with the community, get to know their territory, compile and organise information regarding climate change that may then be organised initially in the matrix and in the lore booklets” (CJR 2023). For Gabriela, “calendars are important for the library to be well stocked, since forest lore changes year to year; it is necessary to gather information in order to keep it up to date. Change intervenes in the four spaces of life” (CGR 2023). For the Ministry of Education, “the calendar becomes a basic tool for an equitable and intercultural educational practice, one that is close to the reality that values the culture of the children and teenagers” (MINEDU 2013). The educational fabric encourages, with freedom, the social assets; it encourages them to become conscious of diverse exchange relationships between humans and non-humans. Which are the tools used by Waman Wasi? Why are they important?
The first tool consists of taking a walk with the forest keeper, to talk. The intercultural learning projects, with their biocultural initiatives, enable a transfer from the workshop to other living spaces: house, chacra, forest, water. During the training process, the teacher-walker partnership is very active: community makers and teachers walk in order to talk with the forest keepers, together with families and students. Jhoselyn Romero describes their roles in detail:
Community makers, together with the forest keeper, are cultural mediators. The teacher reaches the community via the school; through the calendar, she gets to know the community and, attuned to its reality, can better design her teaching plan. In this way, the calendar helps to achieve an education that’s not foreign to what is going on there. After taking part in these activities, she introduces the content to the school. She develops the pedagogical treatment through the learning projects (CJR 2023)
Jhoselyn explains the bidirectionality of this knowledge transference. “It’s important to acknowledge that the teacher isn’t the only one who teaches, nor the community the only one that receives. The community teaches too.” (CJR 2023). In this multi-situated workshop, this educational partnership is immersed in the living spaces and its production processes. Walking with the forest keepers and elders, the everyday, common, collective actions of peasant and forest communities are acknowledged and appreciated; it bolsters the intergenerational transmission of customs and lore, as well as its diversity. By walking and taking part in in situ activities, a connected, multi-situated inhabitation and an attuned governance can be perceived, both a non-human one, which takes place in the forest and the water, and the human one, which happens within the house and in the chacra; both governances are interdependent.
Walking is a tool that strengthens the social network. It fosters a relationship between youths, family and community. As Waman Wasi explains,
The creation and management of the plan of biocultural initiatives emerges from the affection young leaders have for their community, furthering the organisation of cultural strengthening and vindication processes, giving new life to traditional practices that had been discarded and reinvigorating those that prevail. These plans are recreated periodically, and updated in consensus with community authorities and in assemblies where families participate as a group (CWW 2022).
Walking is always collective and active. As they point out,
These processes, guided by community makers, have achieved a recovery of a set of practices that aid the conservation and respect for common goods: in the forest, activities are carried out to keep the paths in good shape, there is a return to the paths to the salt mines or the paths to the seeds, purges or colpas. In the chacra, cultural practices such as sowing beans, maize, peanuts and yucca, among others, take place, as well as activities that bolster and reinvigorate mutual aid, or choba choba. In the water, initiatives to care for the springs or puquios, the maintenance of ravines and rivers. In the communities we give support to activities such as preparing medicinal plants, beverages, giving maintenance to the tambos, paths and canals, pottery, weaving textiles, etc. (CWW 2022)
The activities are sequential and articulated. They offer variations in each community, and are part of the creation processes of educational content. They link school and community, and are ready to adapt to the unexpected.
This instrument organises the cyclic experience of visiting the forest keeper carrying a field notebook, recorder or camera. It is the synthesis of the partial matrixes, independent of living spaces (house, chacra, forest, water) that structure the knowledge found in the activities and practices. The matrix of knowledge is nourished from the prematrixes that are the production cycles, as well as the cycles of the “mountain” and its relationship to animal life. Waman Wasi points out two requisites for having access to this information: “a teacher that is sensitive, capable of listening to the community’s knowledge and the education culture that supports it, as well as nurturing in a climate where honesty can emerge among elders and parents, so they are able to communicate with their lore” (WW 2021). A warm dialogue, based on listening and mutual respect, is essential in order to reach the forest keeper. For Waman Wasi,
…great patience and perseverance are required in order to understand that the smallholder doesn’t always speak along a linear, progressive timeline, such as the one “professionals” are used to. A chacra-owner family carries out its activities following a cyclical time. Therefore, forest keepers have their own “order” for telling what happens. It is the teacher or community maker who has to later organise this information based on the linear time established by the school curriculum. They structure it according to the moment each activity takes place, so that the data mentioned by the forest keepers correspond to what is described in the forest lore organisational chart (WW 2021).
It is equally important for Waman Wasi to learn from other external tools:
The teacher makes a graph of the weather, taking as reference the year before the date when the research takes place. Preferably, monthly average data regarding rain, humidity and temperature, together with an exploration of forest lore, where each teacher is in charge of a couple of spaces (WW 2021).
This set of matrixes represents the collective nurturing of an articulated, dynamic territory.
In these matrixes, the dimensions of in situ knowledge are discovered, and production processes are integrated with education processes. As Waman Wasi describes it,
…the house is the space where trades are learned, as well as where the social, family life takes place. It is the space for making, and the space where culinary culture is made manifest, in relation with production cycles. The house is the space where after-harvest activities are carried out, where medicinal plants are prepared for the family’s healing. Meanwhile, homes are built and rebuilt, paths are cleared and public spaces are cleaned, textiles are weaved with fibres from the chacra or the “mountain”. The house is where social relationships with other families are interweaved; it is there that family, community and intercommunity festivities are celebrated (WW 2021).
The house becomes a forest when seeds are tested in its orchard; the forest becomes a house when it is nourished with the seeds that have been tested by the woman in her house. It is a regional laboratory which depends on collective, interregional walking. Waman Wasi defines the chacra ecology as “the cultural and biological dynamic processes for a dynamic regeneration of a family-based, multicrop agriculture, one that is attuned to its milieu” (WW 2021). Waman Wasi studies the transitory dynamics between chacra and purmas (the forest’s different regeneration states), as well as the large and small campaigns that pertain to winter and summer. As they point out,
…diversity allows them to face, with a certain degree of success, the challenges of agriculture and livestock farming. What happens in the chacra is the development of a multiplicity of agricultural cycles that are coordinated by wide family hubs that in San Martín are called “choba choba groups”, that is, “hair with hair”, in a reference to the close-knit relationship between families that, together, carry out forestry activities in the chacra and the river (WW 2021).
The riverside chacra, settled on the mudflats, becomes the river during high water; in turn, the river becomes the chacra when the water is low. House and chacra are governed by human actions. Experience brings the acknowledgment that horticulture and forestry are in all the living spaces, connected through walking, and always from a collective maintenance effort, based on mutual aid.
The matrix discovers inhabiting the forest and the water. As Waman Wasi says,
…the forest is a living space where human and non-human collectivities are associated in order to harvest what it contains, ensuring the balance that makes its regeneration and sustainability possible. It is a space for healing and reinvigorating life. Here, the regeneration cycles for birds, mammals and fishes take place, the animals that are related to the forest. […] Among Amazon peoples, to lose the management of forest and chacra is to lose autonomy and food security (WW 2021).
Citing Varese (2006), Waman Wasi explains what lies behind “controlled burning” in family agriculture. “As Varese says, slashing and burning trees is not only meant to clear the field; it also transfers to the soil the rich nutrients from vegetation that are stored in the trees (Varese, S. La sal de los cerros. Lima 2006:26)” The matrixes of forest dynamics that Waman Wasi creates are an example of what happens with the “mountain” cycles and their relationship with animal life. For Waman Wasi, “the water living space helps to explore the world of the cochas in relation with the rivers, springs and other lesser bodies of water” (WW 2021). They are also interested in understanding what happens in these spaces during high and low water periods. Collective actions keep these natural ecosystem processes company. Waman Wasi says that in Amazonia, “the time of mijaneo (community fishing) is when larger fishing takes place; it happens during the dry season, between May and October. It is an expression of the fishes’ reproductive cycle” (WW 2021). It also underscores that “No activity, on the other hand, is individual. They are all collective, and show variations in each community” (WW 2021). Making the matrix demands understanding the signs, secrets, organicity, rites, food and festivities.
The matrix also requires the following conditions, according to Waman Wasi:
…having collected information about the weather each year in the living spaces in specific activities, and all the signs that are understood as a reading of nature, or “indicators” in each space: the stars, the Sun, the Moon, constellations, clouds and the rain’s particularities. It is necessary to have listened to the secrets, the guidelines that regulate behaviour. Respect for what happens in nature is also essential. It is necessary to have understood organicity: the knowhow that is inseparable from humans’ collective action and the extra-human world, both of which share gifts, thus ensuring that kindness does not become merchandise. To feel the ritual: to ask for permission and be thankful for the reciprocity, the affection and the joy between collectivities in order to celebrate a spiritual dialogue. To have enjoyed the festivity that places rhythm, sound and natural dancing at the beginning and the end of a cycle; the festivity is for everyone (WW 2021).
For Waman Wasi it is also necessary “to have flip chart paper, markers, rulers, masking tape, etc. To form a collaborative team for drawing and writing. To respect local nomenclature, and to verify and control the data that is consigned in the matrix” (WW 2021). Waman Wasi describes the order in the matrix of forest lore:
The matrix is comprised of six vertical columns, for the month, the season, the house, the chacra, the forest and the water. The 12 rows are for the months. The lore that has been collected is placed in each grid, indicating the activities that take place in the four living spaces: house, chacra, forest, water. Each piece of lore, with its signs and secrets, is placed, in synthesis, in the matrix. It systematises, month to month, the community’s knowledge, while the calendar depicts it (WW 2021).
The matrix adapts itself. According to Neolith Lozano, a Kichwa teacher at Shucshuyaku school, “the matrix allows me to work according to different complexity levels and to respect each student’s rhythm” (CNL 2023). The matrix requires a high level of coordination between a diversity of actors. Since it is permeable, it is a tool for the future; other instruments for collective care can be projected onto it.
This is a transitory time-shift technology instrument, showing the action plan and time commitment of a specific community. It shows “Amazonia as a craft of walkers”, showing the presence of in situ physical encounters between attuned humans and non-humans, in the workshop, both in and out of the classroom. As Waman Wasi describes,
…the community calendar is an abridged version of time-space events carried out by indigenous families in their living spaces. In it, the events that take place in a community, and that are intertwined and marked by the Sun and the Moon’s cyclical paths in a year. Each cycle associates, links and integrates a diversity of climate events with domestic, agricultural, forest and water activities, in a sequence of chained events. The calendar is a teaching aid that is observed by multiple persons both within and outside the community. It is a collective challenge, that serves to reaffirm values and skills; it is a representation of capabilities (WW 2021).
For Carolina Pérez Tello, director of the El Dorado UGEL, “the calendar is a powerful teaching tool that helps students to understand how their community is doing and to reflect on ways of development. It gives clarity for a consensual planification, with different actors” (CCP 2023). The calendar reveals paths that integrate the four living spaces where reference points for mutual nurturing are shared, where those who inhabit the air, the soil, the water are connected with the weather’s mutability. It orientates us, and reaffirms that the forests are inhabited, and are part of the city; that people regenerate their environments in association, keeping the non-human company, hence encouraging us to interact as peers. The Calendar Project invigorates the two other tools in a life-regeneration instrument.
The calendar is a simple, didactic, flexible and mutable collective tool, demanding rigour and coordination. As Waman Wasi says,
…in its fabrication, community members, children, community makers and teachers participate, together with other technicians. The visual and written message must be clear, precise and orderly, so that anyone may understand without being knowledgeable in agriculture or in forest or chacra ecology. Beside each illustration there must be a brief sentence that clarifies the drawing. Its creation is an imaginative moment, high levels of participation and a display of the drawing abilities that many teachers and others have (WW 2021).
Waman Wasi explains its fabrication:
The calendar has different parts: a drawing of the community in the centre; in the next circle, the months of the year, showing the dry and rainy seasons; the next circles show the four living spaces (house, chacra, forest and water), ordered by months and seasons, allowing them to be useful when it’s time to incorporate local knowledge in the syllabus. […] The delineated circles don’t need to be fixed; they are referential, since an activity often overflows the time limitations of month and ecosystem. The matrix information is put down in each circle, month to month (WW 2021).
The calendar is taken to schools and the community, and when it expires, it is important for its
creators to look at other calendars, in order to observe the differences, which will allow them to
adapt to the circumstances. For Grimaldo Rengifo, it has an inter-scalar impact:
The calendar is a tool that allows us to adapt wisdom to a specific territory. It is a regional, national and global project, furthering the regeneration of the basins inhabited by the forests. It is an instrument that can stimulate the regeneration of all the diversity existing in the planet. One cannot stay silent in the presence of a calendar. It is not meant for silent, but for commented reading. The calendar does not only show a way forward; it also gives you the possibility to walk with it in your own life (CGR 2023).
The fourth tool is a small, softcover booklet, with up to 10 pages and many illustrations. It communicates primary information to the general public. For Waman Wasi,
…the forest lore booklets are an indispensable tool for forest lore research; they show its diversity. Their periodical production provides the necessary teaching aids that allow to put into context the lore of intercultural learning in teacher training centres, the UGEL and other State organisations. Through brief written narrations, the booklets shine a light on a lifestyle corresponding to a specific world view. They contain different practices, prohibitions and prescriptions that testify to a relationship in dialogue, in equal terms with nature. (WW 2021).
In order to locate the knowledge, Waman Wasi points out that
…creating a written text becomes a necessity; it must be an expression of the conversations that take place between teachers, forest keepers, inquisitive people, family members. It is not interpretation of what they say, but a transcription (in order) of the words of the persons that have provided their wisdom. These brief written narrations show the community walkers as protagonists. Since they feel represented in them, they share the booklets with their children, so they can be informed, and if they deem the content useful, so they can adapt it to their biocultural conditions. Due to their simplicity, agility and visual record of local lore, they become reading material for teacher training programmes (WW 2021)
The forest lore booklets are extensions of the encounter with the forest keeper; they strengthen a larger network of territory knowledge.
The booklets are classified in chronological order in the community libraries, as a form of record-keeping. They are shared with the entire community, read through and disseminated, together with books that are donated by private donors or institutions. For Waman Wasi, the booklets aim to
…bolster the child’s cultural affirmation, as well as that of parents and teachers; to recreate and recover some of the practices that are being lost, reflect on practices both personal and of others; encourage reading and writing, both in Spanish and Quechua; create teaching aids; diversify the national syllabus design, incorporating local knowledge in the institutional education project (WW 2021)
Once the booklet is finished, it is systematised; it goes from “test booklet” to “edited booklet”. How is an exchange space created, one that allows the children to enjoy the forest lore booklet? Gabriela Rengifo believes it is necessary to
…create a space of trust, a playful space, with the aid of different media, such as video, music and theatre; in this way, activities become like games. This dynamic way of sharing knowledge allows the children to absorb it more fluidly. Learning requires a non-hierarchical space, where one can learn from mistakes. Children love a video workshop; it makes them laugh. They love seeing themselves represented in visual teaching aids. In addition, videos of the walks encourage them to do some exercise (CGR 2023)
…it is important to continue to compile the information through the booklets and calendars, in order to keep the library up to date and well-stocked. It is important to understand the sequence of climate change, since it has an impact on what goes on in the four living spaces. They allow us to talk about people’s daily life, their experiences within the community and outside it, where we share micunas (meeting spaces where the diverse harvest can be shared in breakfasts, lunches or suppers). This creates links between us, the people that are outside the community and the people within the community (CGR 2023)
The community maker is in charge of the community library. As cultural mediators, community makers want there to be multiple interactions with audiovisual media. Video projectors, laptops, radios and TV sets further their work.
In these times of separation, The Calendar Project provides us with the transitory shape with which we can integrate and take action for conservation, through design. How to share this project in Venice?
How to reflect on indigenous societies from an architectural perspective, from the standpoint of urbanism and planning, without designing buildings or infrastructure? In Amazonia these practices have been historically linked to exploitation processes and the destruction of natural assets. Could it be possible to link them instead to educational and health processes that benefit the different communities? How to dilute the impact of colonisation, which has ravaged the structure of Amazon societies? How to ensure the continuous exchange of specific forest lore? How to extinguish the passivity of dualistic visions, in order to further social, economic, political, ecological, educational and health interactions? How to stop reducing and isolating the indigenous, mestizo and migrant realities, among others, which are integrated in daily life, through sustainable alliances with dynamic identities? How to stop dividing sources of knowledge and, even worse, erasing the creators of these infinite cultures of care? How to stop building borders to control and nurture territories that have their own regeneration rhythms? How to imagine a diverse future, assuming there are mutual aid networks already in place, ones which respect differences? What are the specificities of these social networks, their dialogues, the configurations of their lore? How to mobilise interweaving methodologies between disciplines in order to repair, together, inhabiting every scale? How can we avoid remaining numb when faced with the dimensions of the problem, with inequality diagnostics, with the homogeneous reality brought by semistructured surveys, in order to cross the threshold of pain and be able to think/do from a place of strength, partaking in the collective creativity that is spread out in the territories? How to avoid getting stuck in tragedy and sensationalism, how can we overcome violence and collective trauma? How can we dodge the entertainment provided by an exoticisation of knowledge? How can we contextualise the necessary adjustments for the future, in tune with the social organisation? How can we support this change? Is it possible to do it together?
Walkers in Amazonia is created with the purpose of bolstering the native communities’ sustained work for the social reconstruction of their networks of care and nurturing, from the standpoint of its project for the conservation of tropical rainforests. It remains relevant in spite of the impact caused by the national road infrastructure project, whose main aims were the urban project and the expansion of the agricultural border in the Selva Alta. Our standpoint is an acknowledgment of its ancient historical ecology, based on exchange and a coproduction of networked knowledge, which is activated through interregional walks. The Calendar Project inscribes itself in this path and is born with the intention of supporting the sustained work undertaken by Waman Wasi. This institution has worked consistently for more than two decades, as mediator between different actors in an educational process of alliances, a project for the self-affirmation of trust networks that repairs –by means of a rift– the conflict between State and community. To present a project of interwoven Amazon societies is to require a process of reproduction of social organisation capacities for a mutual nurturing of the territory between humans and non-humans. This constitutes a process of collective reparation worthy of being shared in the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. The Pavilion of Peru brings to the plentiful table of this cultural event a perspective of positive reconstruction, a way of thinking/creating the future from an ethical standpoint, based on integration. It is an absolutely essential proposal in this context of political and social crisis and of Peru’s upheaval, which echoes those in the Panamazonia and the entire planet. We are interested in establishing trust in order to be able to imagine a system that articulates societies living through crisis. Where should we begin?
For this past five years working with Bajo Mayo leaders, we have met other transdisciplinary institutions carrying out cultural work worthy of sharing. Waman Wasi is part of a network of institutions that support an education culture based on nurturing territories; together with Pratec, Choba Choba and Paz y Esperanza, it strengthens the collective efforts of the diverse societies inhabiting San Martin. As the Pavilion of Peru curators, we understand ourselves to be mediators of an institution and of content that is relevant for the future, as well as fragile and endangered, due to its ephemeral nature. We believe it is of the utmost value to show the real education processes related to care for the territory by becoming part of them, by sharing time with the educational fabric and participating in the dialogue of forest lore in the coproduction of pedagogical contents. We also understand that in a context of poverty and inequality, compounded by deforestation and food insecurity, giving ourselves the time to listen becomes even more important. Immersing ourselves on site helped us to imagine spatially an attuned collective nurturing of the territory, with people. Traveling to San Martin, becoming part of the communities’ activities in the living spaces (house, chacra, forest and water) created multiple exchanges and allowed trust to develop in collaboration processes with others. Since we did not want to walk alone, it seemed important to build a matrix of diverse collaborations that could add different voices, training ourselves in adjusting our own outlook and our own voice. Going to the place that was the context for The Calendar Project faced us with the challenge of acting in unison, of being part of Waman Wasi’s rhythm, of that of the representatives of communities and rural schools.
In this process of decolonisation of knowledge, and in this shift, we have walked with many others. With his 2020 No da risa (It’s not funny) campaign for the UN and the Ministry of Justice, with Isla Negra production company, Javier “Vicho” Castillo, from Copiloto, builds a valuable active horizon, bringing to the table his critical conscience, his sense of humour and his defence of the human rights of the most marginalised social groups. Víctor Checa, director of the film Tiempos futuros (Future times), reimagines the future from a fictional perspective; he helps us to envision a new time landscape in which a community and an intimacy are built simultaneously. They are joined by Valery Pavlova (head camerawoman) and Edgar Girón (sound engineer and cameraman, and documentary enthusiast). We included sound artist Vered Engelhard after listening to Dirty River (Buh Records). We were intrigued by his sensitive and dynamic approach to local knowledge, integrating music and environmentalism. Edi Hirose brings us the necessary freedom with which he documents the transformations of cities in the entire Peru. Edi always brings new questions regarding the future of ecosystems and landscapes. We called Samuel Chambi, director of Fisura art gallery, where the barriers upheld by mainstream art spaces are torn down through exhibitions that address political, gender and racial issues, in a frontal way. His photography captures the craft that transforms a photographic documentation; this is why we wished to include his voice. Juan Carlos Huincho joined the team. His record of the daily events of the human condition caught our attention, especially his treatment of speed (we are still impressed by that horse!). During the trip, Valery Pavlova surprised us with her dynamic record of the territory, always in a collective human / non-human construction. Lucho Marcial brings his spatial gaze, the vision of the waman, the sparrow hawk, which encompasses more than what is happening. With its transversal matrix, Michael Prado’s graphic design is integrated in all the pavilion’s surfaces. We wish to thank the leonmarcial crew: Marisol Michilot, Walkers in Amazonia coordinator, amplified each collaboration’s capacities with her tenacity, her steady hand and her creativity; she was supported in logistic issues by Sandro Casanova, Gustavo Reyna’s insight and Alex Cuadra and Henry Villalta’s attention to detail. With this collaborative team, always attuned to events, mutual gain is amplified; the future, to be shared in Venice, makes its appearance.
The Pavilion of Peru immerses us in a context of collective exchange, in a scaffolding of multisituated, connected life, imagination and care experiences between humans and non-humans, inspired in Andean-Amazon landscapes. The audiovisual installation will temporarily reconfigure the public space in one of the Sali d’Armi in the Arsenale, offering visitors the possibility to reimagine distant territories, as well as connecting them with their own realities. The installation brings the experience of the walkers’ sense of time, their multiple voices and their synchronicity; the time of the muyuna, of constant turning, linked to the event, that is always changing and renewing. We are interested in the public exploring a new understanding of ways of thinking/doing, from a standpoint of exchange. We trust that participating in the dynamics of the education matrix will encourage the audience to include new “others” in its paths. The installation offers the visitor the experience of the obverse and reverse of a concrete reality: it shows new ways of regenerating the universe, in one voice. The obverse of the scaffolding, inspired by the maloca, the community house, displays 64 calendars made by the Kichwa, Awajún and Shawi ethnic groups, which have been recovered and are gathered there for the first time. With Edi Hirose’s photography we wished to amplify their dimensions and transfer them to tocuyo, a coarse cotton fabric, in order to be attuned with the public scale at the Sali d’Armi. The new scale allows us to observe the details of the adjustments made in each territory; thus, the set of mutual nurturing relationships, integrating territories that have been separated, is reinforced. This experience builds the “imagined space”, a diverse, dynamic atmosphere constantly expiring and regenerating. The reverse of the scaffolding unveils the community voices and their landscapes. The audiovisual installation (Shifting. Slash and burn) builds the space for listening which allows us to travel virtually. The images in movement invite us to have access and get to know the reality of the new Walkers in Amazonia; we go, spatially, through a living textile. We chose not to show the workshop dynamics in the installation; their absence builds the necessary freedom to imagine the process and place our attention on the educational fabric.
Walking from the obverse and reverse of the scaffolding, always articulated, proposes a waiting period. It provides a space for rest and dialogue, a waman samana with a view to the Arsenale, a meeting at a crossroads. The interweaved experiences offer a new pattern language that encourage the visitor to take part in mutual nurturing. The exhibition links together curatorial elements that reconfigure time and space. A cotton beam that works as a threshold hangs from one of the Sali d’Armi’s perpendicular beam, marking a moment of immersion in the sound experience. Thus, an atmosphere is created that connects us to the human and non-human worlds. Two banners rest on the walls; the smaller one (“small harvest”) welcomes us, while the larger one (“large harvest”) presents the educational fabric in the official conservation context. A lightweight structure occupies the central position. It rests on the floor and uses the existing wooden beams as a guide; it configures two textile planes at an angle, displaying 64 calendars. The porous cotton fabric allows a dilution of the calendars within the maloca. The reverse space accommodates an audiovisual installation with multiple projection screens. The projections and the structure are integrated; obverse and reverse connect through the experiences of sound and walking. The elements have an elongated dimension, encouraging walking and turning. This will hopefully encourage the public to move around, integrating their own voices to the other voices, and allowing us to rebuild, through these encounters, a new understanding of community among us. Furthering conversation and thus creating multiple rhythms that allow the future to resonate. Each calendar is different. We invite the public to see them and discuss them; once we are able to perceive the differences between them, we know we are improving, learning to talk from the standpoint of codes different to our own. Each calendar communicates a technique of relational care of living spaces. The installation’s materiality is simple; it is conceived in an artisanal way, allowing it to be reconfigured and adapted to any space. The lightweight cotton cloths travel easily anywhere.
The world shares its protest banners. We can hear the voices that, all together, fight local and global threats; the new generations demand a certainty that they have a future, and they have made it loud and clear they want to participate in any changes necessary. “It’s our future”, “Save our only home”, “Allow me to have a future”, “Our future is in our hands”: even if they are mottoes, they all show the need to be connected to concrete realities. This new critical conscience, in a context of uncertainty, demands to be channelled. To think about the future requires to reflect again on learning from the standpoint of a nurturing of the territory; it is necessary to unlearn notions of learning that have led us to the cultural and environmental degradation we are in. It calls us to contribute to the dialogue of knowledge. Learning is a collective process that demands new synchronicity capacities. Walkers in Amazonia. The Calendar Project shines a light on a specific banner: “The territory is our life”. It comes from the Waman Wasi photography archive, from its first forays with the Kichwa Lamas walkers in San Martin. The walkers carry banners defending their ancestral territory, Cerro Escalera. They carry their learning, their tools for conservation. The Pavilion of Peru, from a diverse, heterogeneous community perspective, acknowledging an integrated human / non-human inhabitation, amplifies some among these voices, dispersed throughout the planet. Proactively, it offers its attuned action to explore the world we share and to care for the source of diverse knowledge that depends on our understanding and action with non-human life. In Venice we encourage the audience to take part in a critical experience process, created hand by hand with the participants. We do so even if understanding the contradiction in the coexistence of the community project (which regenerates life through dialogue) and the context that thinks and produces (which has scarce communication and is, therefore, in permanent crisis).
Walkers in Amazonia. The Calendar Project insists on Amazonia as a craft project by walkers. This experience has given us the opportunity to be part of the construction of a tambo (a lightweight structure built on chacras, as a shelter from the rain) at the cemetery; thus, the Solo del Río Mayo native community, together with newcomers, have paid homage to their Kichwa Lamas ancestors, the forest keepers. The shadow –built in synchronicity with preexisting horseshoe paths– will allow walkers to bid farewell to their dead and to keep creating encounters between peoples. In spite of the Carretera Marginal de la Selva, the riverside community provides integration by inhabiting the north and south hillsides, which modernity divides into “urban” and “rural”. We have walked along the Río Mayo, crossing from riverbank to riverbank, from hill to hill, going up and down, acknowledging always inhabited living spaces. We have participated in an intergenerational encounter of forest lore at San José de Sisa –a territory that has overcome violence and drug trafficking– which gathered 14 Kichwa Lamas communities. Under the shadow of the forest facing the community centre, the walkers exchanged nurturing expertise, shared lunch, and danced to a band; some even played a football match, making the most of the flat field under the sun. Conversations in San Martin houses, chacras, forests and water, as well as long-distance conversations from Lima, brought us closer to understanding the educational fabric that conserves community territories. We have participated in other paths, such as the Río Mayo and Río Huallaga paths, or the path from Chazuta to Nuevo Lamas, within the borders of the Área de Conservación Regional Cordillera Escalera. It has often been said that Peru is a country of paths. We believe Peru is a country of walkers, with a community conviction, with a biocultural pact insisting on safeguarding the time for mutual nurturing. Their story has not yet been told. The future is reinvented through them, in mutual aid. We say goodbye through two of their voices.
The future for the territory lies in its having people. Without people, the territory is nothing. The territory is the space of learning. Indigenous knowledge can be found in different spaces. These spaces are open classrooms. The paths integrate us to these living spaces. We are not divided. The territory, the human being, the seed. Everything has a path. We must relate in order to harmonise life. With the path there is a mutual nurturing. A nurturing around us. Without the path there is no conservation. With the path, and with the inclusion of people, there is life. Walking affirms you in your own culture. It affirms your life, where you are from, where are you going. Within the indigenous community there are no limits. You can go wherever you go. There are no borders. It is a path without end. These administrative borders divide the peoples, they divide knowledge. They divide forest lore. They divide the relationships between ethnic groups. Without limits, life is better.
Girvan Tuanama, Kichwa Lamas community maker. CGT 2023
We go uphill walking.
Yes, I walked.
I arrived at night-time, walking;
they got here by walking.
That is how we lived: walking.
That is how we came, walking,
carrying our burden,
that is how we walked.
I walked carrying.
That is how I walked.
Yes, walking, like that.
Like that, walking, you learn.
Have you tried it?
Yes then, walking, we exercise by walking.
That is how I walk, yes.
That is how I walk.
María Ishuiza, apu of the Kichwa Nuevo Lamas Native Community. CMI 2023