Inspiring examples of sustainability outcomes achieved through artistic collaboration. Read introduction here
Case Study, published 8/21/2023 (written by Maja Rimer)
Every second, Guanabara Bay receives 18 thousand litres of untreated domestic sewage and 90 tons of floating waste daily, as well as unaccounted amounts of chemical sewage and petroleum and oil released by industries. Oil and gas production spills that come from over 6000 naval, chemical and petroleum industrial facilities have contributed to the slow death of the territory of Guanabara Bay. The increased temperature of the oceans with climate change and noise pollution generated by the ships, are other important factors for the loss of marine life.
The environmental degradation of Guanabara Bay affects the local population living in the area, especially the fishing communities whose lives depend on the waters, and so these conditions impose a necessity to change the life of the communities that can no longer survive on fishing. Together with the communities, Sensitive Territories discover possibilities for the reuse of waste, asking what we can learn from these ruins and how we can imagine new futures for them.
‘Sensitive Territories invites us to think about what kind of relationship we can create with territories in ruins’ says Walmeri Ribeiro. ‘In the relationship of art, fishing and life, we found a way together to initiate dreams and to connect our bodies with the territory that we inhabit.’
Guanabara Bay encompasses 16 districts and is home to 8.6 million people. Environmental destruction forces them to find a new relationship with the territory and build resilience. Covering an area of 412 square kilometres and listed as a UN World Heritage site since 2012, the area is important not only for the local communities but for the entire ecosystem in Brazil.
Created as a research platform in 2014 by Brazilian artist Walmeri Ribeiro, Sensitive Territories investigates the impact of climate change and industrial pollution on traditional communities that live on the shores of Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro. Throughout the project, artists, scientists and local communities immersed themselves in the environment of water and mangroves to investigate possible solutions to water pollution. Sensitive Territories aims to rethink the creation of artistic practices, exploring ethical, political and aesthetic modes of producing art to address environmental challenges. Believing in the political dimension as much as the sensory experience of art practices, the project encourages ways of imagining a new coexistence among humans and non-humans.
Territórios Sensíveis| Baía de Guanabara from Walmeri Ribeiro on Vimeo.
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