Symbiotics (surglobal otherness)
Digital illustration and collage
Part of the project "On Seas, Parrots and Intruders: A Global South contribution for decolonizing the invasion ecologies approach", made by Colectiva Ecostéticas
Maps of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance were covered with illustrations of mythical creatures and monstrous beasts that depicted dangers and threats to humankind in certain latitudes. These representations warned navigators and explorers of potential dangers in unexplored oceans and lands, and consisted of animal-like hybrid species made of parts of animals and plants, both imaginary and from scientific textbooks. Oftentimes they included references, both visual and exemplary, to the Biblical Bestiary from the Christian bible. They were shown as Eurocentric symbols of areas that were dark, enigmatic and unknown to science, as well as of areas yet to be colonized, with harmful and ferocious monsters to be destroyed. The aim was to safeguard the navigator carrying knowledge and civilization.
The monsters on these maps were purely political: they were visualizations of otherness, imageries of the foreign, expressions of the barbarian and symbols of the irrational. The visual aesthetics corresponded to the fragmented and denied appreciation of the Other, and it was an excuse to wage war against aberrant chimerical beings that spawned Dionysian violence.
Beasts are subalterns: problematized subjects who do not fit into the hegemonic discourse, and whose mere representation turns them into voiceless invaders who need to be controlled. The contemporary monsters in this project are nothing but resignifications of those old monsters whose connotations are dragged along and impregnated with new ones as a result of current paradigms. They are the imagery from which the otherness of thirdworld geographies is conceived and narrated, from a colonial point of view. They are silent and undervalued subjects. According to Spivak, subalterns are not subjects with a discursive position from which they can speak or respond. (Can the Subaltern Speak?, 2003) They are objectified subjects who should be feared because of their difference. They are invasive objects.
Myiopsitta algasus. Emerged species between the Argentine parrot and the southern brown algae. It can submerge up one meter and photosynthesize when there is food scarcity due to overpopulation in Spanish lands.
In On Seas, Parrots and Intruders: A Global South contribution for decolonizing the invasion ecologies approach" we work together with Mariela Yeregui and Gabriela Munguía with the argentinian parrot which in Europe is considered an invasive species. However, and paradoxically, europeans were the ones who brought these birds to their territories for the pet trade. So, are the parrots the real invaders?
Again, a problem of stories.
Myiopsitta bordurisis. Urban species that emerged between the Argentine parrot and the red algae of Ushuaia. It is believed that it appeared due to the need to change vision perspectives and to observe with more attentive eyes.
The species created for the project are typologies born in this era of the Colonial Anthropocene. There are no longer individual or autonomous beings but symbiotic intertwinings in which different kingdoms and policies coexist without differentiating. In the words of Anna Tsing, they are polyphonic ensembles. Seaweed, parrots,, human plots, colonialism, otherness and hegemonic stories of invasion are mixed.
Ulva tsingunus. Species inhabiting the abyssal zone of the oceans. The association between types of algae have caused this organism to triple the generation of oxygen as well as the absorption of carbon dioxide generated by the colonial anthropocene.
Corifluxus jellyfish. This organism inhabits the oceanic coasts and has capabilities to detect invading ships responsible for overfishing and ecosystem destabilization. Its variable length tentacles have evolved parrot eyes to be able to see in strategic places.
Squalus ventigris. It developed between the Argentine parrot and the Patagonian spiny shark. It inhabits the european depths and has the ability totake flight to cut fishing nets in case of shellfish extraction.