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"Kowkülen (Liquid being)" 2020

Wall text

Wall text

Seba Calfuqueo  
Born 1991, Santiago de Chile, Picunche Territory. 
Mapuche. Lives and works in Santiago de Chile, Picunche Territory.

Pronouns: they/them


"Kowkülen (Liquid being)" 2020


single-channel video with stereo, sound, 4k

3:28 minutes 

Courtesy of the artist, Santiago de Chile.

In Kowkülen (Liquid being), Seba Calfuqueo poetically details Mapuche bodies of water as witnesses to the change and transformation of the natural and political environment. As a waterway flows quietly in the background of the artwork, the artist reminds us of the liquid ties of their body to the nonbinary waters of Wallmapu, the Mapuche homeland—occupied by the present-day nation states of Chile and Argentina—and visually cued by blue bondage rope.


The artwork refers to the Chilean Government’s 1981 Water Code, neoliberal legislation that deemed water a commodity, with its use granted and controlled by the government to the benefit of corporations. This legislation is a remnant of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship (1974–1990), which was characterised by state repression of opposition groups, catastrophic human rights abuses, and a vehemently pro-market economy. The widespread privatisation of many industries in Chile during this time resulted in the decimation of the environment and widened inequality, the effects of which are still felt today. 


Moving fluidly between the languages of Mapudungun, English, and corporate policy, Calfuqueo humbly resists the controlled and commodified status prescribed to water. They embody a liquid state and return to entwined Mapuche relationships and understandings of reciprocity and care for/with nature.


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