by Catalina Restrepo Leongómez
As human beings, we are supposedly part of the earth and nature. However, sometimes it seems like we are foreign bodies to this planet. On the one hand, we marvel and are surprised by the variety of landscapes, shapes, colors of rocks, animals. We feel small when we see the celestial phenomena and practically everything we find when leaving the cities. And on the other hand, we exploit everything that surrounds us as resources in favor of our “survival.”
We are not even halfway through 2019 and we have already seen the most frightening scenarios: uncontrolled wildfires from Argentina to Canada; people dying in hospitals because of water and air pollution; rivers and lakes dry because of political decision making by corrupt leaders; seas flooded with plastic; melted glaciers; extinct species; policies that defend the indefensible such as Fracking (so as to not reach), which literally breaks and poisons the earth, the soil, the planet we live in.
This is an urgent matter and the central subject of this issue. It combines the visions of different artists who approach the subject from the contemplation of the greatness of our world, to others who bravely and incisively manage to get to the bottom of the political problems related to the exploitation of resources. In this issue, we reflect upon the responsibility of these acts in the environmental crises that we all face without exception.
We are proud to present the portfolios of Olafur Eliasson, Michael Reynolds, David Maisel, Melanie Smith, Alberto Baraya, Carolina Caycedo, Ursula Biemann, John Gerrard, Lothar Baumgarten, Peter Fend and Tania Ximena. In our projects section we have Nora I. Gómez and Scott Sternbach. Furthermore, we include a visit to Paula Cortazar's studio by our editor Dominique Suberville and an interview conducted by our beloved collaborator Gloria Cárdenas with the artist María Fernanda Barrero.
We also present three very interesting articles: Mercury. A Failed Communication by Daniela Galán, who tells us about the history of this element and the first time it contaminated our skies on behalf of the Spaniards during the conquest; Now, Think! by Gonzalo Ortega, who addresses the issue of progress towards sustainable development; and finally Animist Museum of Lake Texcoco: Reverting is Desiccation, by Fernando Pichardo, which deals with the work and exhaustive research carried out by the Colombian artist Adriana Salazar in this emblematic place in México City.
Our recommended exhibitions are: America Will Be! Surveying the Contemporary Landscape at the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas, USA; Ursula Von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling National at the Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.; Janet Laurence: After Nature at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; Ocean-Bound at The Midway Gallery, San Francisco and the 10th edition of the festival ¡Despierta! El planeta te necesita at Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain.
In our Special Guest section, we present the Foldscope project, an ultra-affordable paper folding microscope developed by Manu Prakash and Jim Cybulski. This invention makes it possible for anyone to take a look at a parallel universe of bacteria, particles and microbes, which we can’t perceive with the naked eye.
As always, we hope you enjoy this issue as much as we did and were enriched by as we put it together. Hopefully you will find in the varied positions and work of each one of the artists that make it up: different visions, previously unconsidered arguments, new doubts, answers that inspire them; so as to cause even the slightest action.