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Amazon: Interzone

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Institute in Paris

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The interzone is at the heart of these three events: a web of landscapes intrinsically linked to multiform experiences in different places. Taking inspiration from William Burrough’s work, we explore less the conservation than the construction of the Amazon from “waiting room” to new spatialities and horizons in a crisis of globalisation.

Satellite aerial view of the Amazon by NASA

Interzone is the name given by William Burroughs to a spatiality of innumerable landscapes such as "vistas, palms, mountains and jungles", "onslaughts of epidemics of violence", "culinary odours from all countries", "a beehive shaken by the buzz of sex and commerce". Its layout is directly linked to the compositions and combinations of multiform experiences in different places.

His inspiration was, on the one hand, Tangiers and, on the other, the Amazon region in the 1950s. In Tangiers, he experienced the effervescence of 'revolutionary' acts and the impasses of 'liberation'. His experiences in South America, particularly in Panama, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, were imbued with a "horrible feeling of desolation and finality" in the "cities at the end of the road".

Burroughs recounted to Allen Ginsberg the degradation and misery of the peri-urban regions, where belief in progress seemed "like the return of Christ", despite the failure of countless economic and extractivist hopes. South America appeared to him as an enormous dilemma in which a fragmented and predatory modernisation coexisted with a particular and vibrant silence of the forest, beyond the potential of South America: "a place where the unknown past and the emerging future meet" an Interzone, a "waiting room", a state of suspension, a threshold.

It is this 'waiting room', the Amazon, that is today the Interzone where the crisis of globalisation - war, climate crisis, pandemics - must find its way to a new constitutive horizon.

The Amazon: Interzone is a series of three events

Brazil's future-Amazonia (Giuseppe Cocco)
Tuesday 14 November 2023 at 18:00 - 20:00 CET

The immensity of the interzone, its transnational dimensions, the flows: the recovery of Amazonia (fight against deforestation, recognition of indigenous rights) by Brazil implies, on the one hand, succeeding in inventing a new development model and, on the other hand, a policy that articulates the different Brazilian and national states (Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Guyana) to which Amazonia belongs. It is not a question of conserving the Amazon, but of building it, which necessarily implies a transformation of the national project, a future Amazonia for Brazil.

Reforesting democracy (Barbara Szaniecki)
Tuesday 28 November 2023 at 18:00 - 20:00 CET

Returning to the theme of the circulation of struggles (from the seringueiros to Brazil and Indonesia, via the United States), we will reflect on two axes: on the one hand, the problem we call "reforming democracy" (pollens of society with the help of Yann Moulier Boutang and the experience of João Meirelles with the melipona bees of Amazonia) and, on the other, the work on the notion of "culture without inverted commas" by the anthropologist Manuela Carneiro da Cunha.

Cannibalising the Decolonial or Decolonizing the Cultural Anthropophagy (Giuseppe Cocco and Barbara Szaniecki)
Tuesday 12 December 2023 at 18:00 - 20:00 CET

On the basis of the first two presentations, we conclude with the theme of the alternative between decolonising Brazilian cultural anthropophagy or anthropophagising the decolonial. We will take up the themes of the colonialidad of power (Anibal Quijano, Walter Mignolo) and open them up critically to Amerindian perspectivism (Descola, Viveiros de Castro) and to the struggles of the poor (Oswald de Andrade, Glauber Rocha, Hélio Oiticica) and indigenous peoples