TIF23 video

This video will give a short introduction to the international field laboratory Terra Ignota Forum (TIF) in march 2023. It migth help to get an impression of the territory, the participants and the research questions and objectives. Further down on this page you can read the detailed individual and collective reports and project descriptions.

Environment as a legal entity

Report by Claudia González and Paula Urdangarín

We arrived without really knowing what we were going for. We received the invitation to participate, and we embarked on the Terra Ignota adventure. We let ourselves be carried along a new, unknown path. 
In the immensity of the landscape, we could perceive our smallness, the tiny fragment we represent on this Earth. 
We knew that we had to merge with that landscape, to feel part of it, to understand. In that sense, it was fundamental to internalize, to understand the perception of the other members of the group. What unites us, what connects such a diverse group of people in terms of culture, trades, languages, ways of seeing life. In this extreme area of light, sea, wind, the movement of knowledge and experiences was fundamental.

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Geological observations

On the origin and habitability of the landscape in fjords and channels of Tierra del Fuego

The region of fjords, channels, and archipelagos south of Tierra del Fuego is characterized by rugged terrain, with high and steep mountains bordered by deep incised valleys that even govern the underwater landscape. Its origin ingeniously links tectonic and climatic processes, embracing persistent uplift as a result of endogenous folding and faulting, as well as depressions and exhumations caused by the weight and carving of glaciations.

Tectonics have continuously generated, earthquake after earthquake, the development of a complex network of faults and fractures, many of which reach the surface, creating jumps in the landscape as well as zones of weakness. Pleistocene ice masses, on the other hand, have taken advantage of the slopes and areas of weakness (high concentration of fractures and rocks crushed by faults) to settle and advance. Glaciers in their upper parts have eroded and polished mountains, defining the high peaks of the Darwin Range. Moreover, as they moved, they dug and smoothed wide valleys with gentle profiles, many of which were invaded by the sea in resonance with the melting of the ice and the rising average sea level.

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Archaeological report

1. Background

Early Settlement in Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego region, located in the extreme south of South America, has been the subject of archaeological studies to understand the early settlement of this inhospitable and fascinating area. Archaeological findings and advances in radiocarbon dating have revealed the existence of a land bridge in the Strait of Magellan, which connected the continent with Tierra del Fuego between 13,000 and 10,000 years BP2 (Before Present) (R. D. McCulloch et al., 2005; R. McCulloch et al., 2009; Ponce et al., 2011).

There is a general consensus among researchers that the initial waves of terrestrial settlement reached the Isla Grande of Tierra del Fuego via the mentioned route in the strait. The earliest radiocarbon dating indicates an approximate age of 10,600 years BP based on samples from the Tres Arroyos site. Another early site, which has provided valuable archaeological evidence, is the Marazzi site, located southeast of present-day Bahía Inútil, dating back to 9590 years BP (Laming-Emperaire et al., 1972; Morello et al., 1999; Salemme et al., 2017). Both sites are representative of the earliest hunter-gatherer human communities that settled in Tierra del Fuego and successfully adapted to the extreme environmental conditions of the area.

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The origin of this work dates back to 2015, following a visit to the Gusinde-Hagenbeck collection consisting of cultural objects originally belonging to the Kawesqar, Selk’nam, Yagán and and Aonikenk peoples, which are now housed in the Weltmuseum, Vienna (formerly the anthropological museum).

The review of this collection was initially conducted by Alfredo Prieto and Nicolás Spencer in collaboration with the curator of the South American collection, Claudia Augustat. This study aimed to achieve a more precise understanding of the objects and their anthropological value due to the different ways they were obtained; Gusinde acquired the objects through questionable anthropological purchase processes, while Hagenbeck obtained these cultural elements as “adornments” of people who were exhibited in human zoos.

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LDR timeline

For the Lapataia Valley crossing (TIF 2023) we experimented with different methods of ‘registering’ the way, time, movement, progress, rhythm, structure, topography, climate, social interaction
One attempt was a long duration recording (LDR) of the whole process. In total 416 hours of constant audio recording. Below you see the visual representation of that recording as a spectrogram mapped on the timeline. Certain events and conditions are characterized by their audible frequencies, highlighted and marked.

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Sketch 28.4.’23 – videoessay

Reality progressively begins to transfer its own identity (what it says about itself) and its corporeality (scopic) to a synthetic panoptic device.

An orbital paranoid eye that sees everything, and from its vision gives governance, ordering of the world and synchronized reorientation of the micro-politics in each subject and each survivor tends to a unique geometry of government, exploitation and reformatting (an ocular geometry).

In order to convert everything into a surface of inscription and registration at all scales, from the genetic and psychic architecture of the living, to the zoning of macro-regions. Everything will be metadata.

A paranoid orbital eye means here, that there is a totalizing superstructure whose univocal function is attributed to be the guide of the course, the form and the time by which all living forces must be conducted at all scales.

The southern tip of America and even Antarctica has been zoned by satellites, orbital eyes that guide the routes and mark the nodes of a fabric as a prelude to future conflicts, which we can forsee.

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The pan-american and Antarctic corridor

Note I
With these map sketches we try to review a Pan-American route that origins ca. 26,000 years ago in Beringia and will end in approximately 100 years in Antarctica.
At this moment we can locate a modern outpost, not more than 110 years old in Antarctica, as well as a development infrastructure configuration on the other side of the Drake Passage in Tierra del Fuego.

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Environmental Linguistics

To come with noise as wind through a hole, as a sound from a trumpet.
To make any buzzing noise as an instrument with a faulty tongue.
To breathe making a noise as when one has a cold, to pass air through the nose with noise.

(from Yamana English Dictionary – a Dictionary of the Speech of Tierra del Fuego, by Reverend Thomas Bridges, 1865)

Voice and terrain

Early travellers encountering Tierra del Fuego and its inhabitants had comments about the particular sound of their language(s). Written accounts, dictionaries and recordings reveal fascinating insights in to cultures that are deeply entangled with their natural habitat.

This project grew out of a commitment to those entanglements and attempts to trace exchanges between cultural features and material properties of the location. In particular language-landscape links that go beyond mere vocabulary encapsulations of topography, seeking instead elemental imprints of terrain and climate on the sonority of spoken words. 

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Acoustic Signatures – Oscillatory spheres

We live in a world that can no longer be read as a two-dimensional map, but must be understood as a series of vertical layers that go from the satellites that surround our planet to the tunnels that are in the deepest part of the earth.

Graham, S. (2016)

Towards a meta-natural realism

Inhabiting a world in constant oscillation, surrounded by natural phenomena, tectonic changes, drastic fluctuations in pressure, temperature, humidity, periodic alterations by gravitational attraction forces, but also, inhabiting a world constantly mutated by the impact of human activity, extraction of raw materials, seascapes soaked in burning oil, floating plastic islands and an exponential increase of portable wireless interconnected devices. Wandering through our (in)ability to understand the world we inhabit and of which we are part, being the reality that surrounds us increasingly complex, while consuming feeds of reality through digital environments which overflows us with information and counter information in a post-truth era.

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