Learning from Wallmapu
This paper is about a place called Chile and another called Wallmapu, which is either inside, below, or outside the former, depending on your point of view. Wallmapu is a place where complex histories are inscribed – overlapping, boundary-crossing, and globally entangled. These are narratives of composition and assemblage; of hybridity, difference, and multiple perspectives. The Wallmapu has another name: Araucanía. This is the name given by the Chilean state to the region south of the Bío Bío River, where the Mapuche – Chile’s largest indigenous group – originally lived, and where some of them still do today. Wallmapu, on the other hand, is the term used by the Mapuche themselves. It is therefore political, since it represents a different perspective on the territory. Wallmapu ex situ is a complex and multi-layered work that includes a series of online conferences; these were first streamed on a dedicated website and are now archived on it. Nina Willimann and I (working under the group name Trop cher to share) were responsible for the conception and artistic direction of the project, which we developed in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of experts. A large part of our work involved making contacts and building a network of people who have some sort of relationship (whether biographical, academic, emotional, or artistic) to Wallmapu. This historiographical practice is on the one hand based on the ideas and arguments of the French sociologist and philosopher Bruno Latour, and on the other on the Mapuche worldview, which sees humans as a part of nature and credits natural entities with agency and voices. This text is an attempt to beat a narrow path that allows me to name the territorial and historical conditions that have shaped the relationship between Chile, Wallmapu, and Switzerland. In talking about how we developed Wallmapu ex situ from my own perspective, my aim is not least to relate stories of traveling (and not being able to travel), and of virtual interspaces.

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