An ecotone is a transition area or meeting point between two biological systems. This area of transition may be narrow or wide, it may stand between regions, or even nations, but, more interestingly, it is an area of indisputable tension—a place where animals, biological organisms, and ecological networks confront and interact with each other. This interaction, across species and environments, is a fount of diversity, potentially leading to the creation of ecosystems which are diverse and unique. Ecotones occur in nature, but they can also be manufactured. The latter sort of ecotone, the one shaped and determined by humans, serves to reveal the intrinsic relationship between humans with the lived environment and the landscapes we have helped shape and create. The ecotone therefore acts as a metaphor and a sort of space where communities, both human and more-than-human, meet, integrating knowledge, exchanging experiences, and collaborating on how to create new ways of relating and learning with one another.
Ecotone: Chagras, Payaos, Camellones examines the intrinsic but often contested bond between ecosystems and the life that is sustained through them. It explores the consequences of how humans inhabit the world, in particular ecosystems. Some of the works included in this compendium attempt to recreate forgotten agricultural technologies in the Andean Mountains, others attempt to heighten and honor existing foodways, such as those distinct to communities in the Amazon. Other projects explore the use of mangroves in the Pacific Coast as an artisanal and sustainable mode of fishing, and others, the ritualistic exchange of seeds in Southern Colombia as an alternative mode of seed exchange. Other works think about fire as a distinctly transformative agent, capable of not only fusing but also generating.
Ecotone: Chagras, Payaos, Camellones asks questions about the nature of conservation, making us wonder why some things are preserved and others aren’t. It asks us to think about the role that climate change, the current food crisis and the loss of local knowledge as a consequence of the spread and homogenization of cultural practices play in the determination of landscapes, of culture, and of local ecologies. This compendium attempts to weave together a diverse array of commissioned works by artists, organizers, indigenous leaders, and students throughout Colombia, all interested in the sovereignty of their communities through their local food systems. The project will culminate in an artist’s book—an amalgamation of the different voices and knowledges that conform it with the hopes of offering a meeting point where we can share knowledge amongst ourselves with the aim of learning and unlearning from food, the natural world, and the culture around them.
— Juliana Steiner
The projects below are ongoing and will continue to be updated here: