The Word for World is Forest

Fig. 03. Abel Rodriguez, from the series Annual Cycle of the Plants of the Maloca. Courtesy of the artist and the Tropenbos International Colombia’s Archive.
Fig. 03. Abel Rodriguez, from the series Annual Cycle of the Plants of the Maloca. Courtesy of the artist and the Tropenbos International Colombia’s Archive.
The Word for World is Still Forest, Intercalations 4, K Verlag & HKW
The Word for World is Still Forest, Intercalations 4, K Verlag & HKW
Katie Holten open access Trees typeface
Ana Vaz, Apiyemiyekî? film still (2020)
Ana Vaz, Apiyemiyekî? film still (2020)
Ana Vaz, Apiyemiyekî? film still (2020)
Ana Vaz, Apiyemiyekî? film still (2020)

Community. How do we usually define this word? What happens with the notion of Community when we hold space open for other than human beings?

Place Forest Territory. Is the forest only what we see? Are there non-perceivable dimensions of this place that may have a bearing in what we do?

Walking Weaving Thinking. What happens when walking, weaving and thinking are one and the same verb? Can knowledge be accounted for in non-representational and symbolic modalities?

University Pluriversity. What is the role of education in the current planetary crisis? Is the territory also a text where we inscribe meanings/senses?

Justice Ethics Positionality. Can the recognition of other ways of knowing contribute to justice in Indigenous territories? What do we mean by cognitive justice?

Recent climate negotiations have reiterated the urgency to collectively halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation in the Amazon by 2030. Although this region plays a major role in international platforms like COP26, Indigenous people that actually live there still have limited leverage in large-scale and long-term decisions for their own territories. As a way to address some of these post-colonial challenges, the Inga People in Colombia’s Andean Amazon have embarked on an ambitious mission to create a new Biocultural Indigenous University. In a context of recently achieved but fragile peace, their project aims to bridge different knowledge systems in what they refer to as a living cognitive territory.

Together with the Inga community leader Hernando Chindoy Chindoy, some initiators of the Indigenous Biocultural University and a small group of Inga students we will spend 5 days in an environment that is a common denominator: the forest. Throughout this week, we will be guided by 5 topics that we strongly share an interest in with the aim of producing knowledge we can share with others afterwards. Through walking, discussing, cooking, eating and dreaming collectively, we will open up, occupy and embody a space of encounter between Western and Amazonian worldviews. A challenge arises in questioning how to create a common ground for discussion and reflection between realities and mindsets that seem so far removed from one another?

All together, we will explore the Swiss woodlands, affecting each other and allowing ourselves to be affected by the forest and the world of knowledge it words to us. This Encounters #3 we will allow us to listen deeply to a plethora of worlds, embodying the word Forest.

This seminarweek is part of an ongoing collaboration between ETH Zurich and the Inga People of Colombia. It is a collaboration that started with the studio A New Indigenous University In The Rainforest In Colombia of Prof. Anne Lacaton and currently continues with the Fachsemester Grounded Theories – A Collective Manifesto. Learning from the Inga of Prof. Philip Ursprung and the LUS doctoral fellowship of Santiago del Hierro. The Chair of Affective Architectures plans a future Summer School with the Inga Community and a studio or diploma semester focusing on Building Pluriversity. This seminarweek aims specifically at students with an interest in this ongoing collaboration, who have been, are or are interested to be part of the other mentioned programs in this context.

Enrolment here