> Refractions, 2016

 

The video installation ‘Refracciones’ shows landscapes and scenes of everyday life and culture from different highland regions of Peru, where the overwhelming presence of nature and its cycles, still determines the life and world-view of its inhabitants. These images are gradually interweaved with clips filmed in diverse locations in Belgium and France, where technology and capital investment, are used to examine and exert control over nature, using scientific resources to tame its forces, tailoring it to the service of humans.

Progressive narrations appear within both parallel visual perspectives. Local people from a small village in the southern region of the Peruvian Andes, show aspects of their co-existence with their surroundings, illustrating the interdependency of nature and culture. While displaying different natural phenomena such as rain, thunders, rainbows, depicting the agricultural cycles, the video underlines how the landscape helps determine their culture and history. These visual narrations are juxtaposed with laboratory images of research processes in fiber optics and the fabrication of synthetic diamonds; as well as archival images from the science museum and the Royal observatory in Brussels.

Throughout the video, the relationship between science, nature and culture are examined, reminding us of the modern paradigm, in which the division between nature and culture was established. The shift of perception, brought by processes of industrialization and urbanization in European culture are revised, as well as the representation of the cosmos, and nature as mere object, drifting away ancient concepts of nature and turning towards “progress.”