De iura Fluminis et Terrae, 2022
digital video, colour, sound
Voices of Rivers, 2021 – ongoing
Score by Daniel Mancero
Film by Boloh Miranda
Courtesy the artist
Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Commonwealth through the Council on Australia Latin America Relations, which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Arts for the Commons (A4C) have created De iura Fluminis et Terrae, a two-act film featuring a classical score and scenes of the Vilcabamba river in Ecuador, the first country to recognise rights of nature within its constitution.
The score has been created from a digital algorithm. The first Act called Te Awa Tupua fed the computer GPS coordinates of rivers and other ecosystems that have been granted Legal Personhood, a concept of Western legal thought that has allowed for certain rights to be given to nature including bodies of water. These include the Vilcabamba river (Ecuador), Whanganui river (New Zealand), Yarra river (Australia), Atrato river, Cauca River, Magdalena River, Coello, Combeima and Cocora Rivers, La Plata river (Colombia), Yamuna river, Ganges river (India), Turga river (Bangladesh) and the Colorado River (USA). Act Two, titled Pachamama is made up of data locations of bodies of water whose cases have been brought to the International Rights of Nature Tribunal, a forum that allows for people from around the world to speak on behalf of nature and to make recommendations for the earth’s protection and restoration.
Joining Acts One and Two is the Intermezzo which focuses on the Cuencas Sagradas the Sacred Headwaters of the Amazon region (Napo, Pastaza, and Marañón rivers), an area heavily threatened by extractive industries. This area holds ancestral significance for many Indigenous peoples and thus has intrinsic rights even though these bodies of water are not recognised by or protected by western law.
Through the online platform Voices of Rivers and programs during the Biennale, A4C continues to bring together rights of nature activists and communities around the world including connecting with an Australian working group who are part of the collective movement to protect bodies of water.
Visit the Voices of Rivers online platform here: https://www.voicesofrivers.net/voices-at-the-biennale/