Telematic Rivers – Erica, Jeana and Diana

In our first iteration, we began wondering how we can make our voices heard with the use of silence. We starting exploring the work of John Cage and asked ourselves how can we break the silence by using silence itself? We began by creating a new prototype by experimenting with a handwritten quote by John Cage stating, “There’s no such thing as silence.” We wrote this quote upon tape and placed it on ourselves and in other settings throughout an empty space to see if we could effectively capture the presence of people voices being silenced. Through this process we eventually created our own quote which was “even though our mouths are closed, our presence makes noise.” After this process we began pushing forward towards our second iteration to examine the power behind the materiality of these contracts and agreement documents.

Our second iteration began to examine the materiality of the documents created by humans that are intended to protect non-humans.  We started to look at how these agreements are created upon human designed paper and what happens when we break down these items from the recognizable features? We decided to experiment with the process of recycling paper and how this may change our perspective on these documents. By breaking down the paper that represents agreements into a pulp substance to initiate the recycling process, we were able to give a visual representation of the intention of reworking these agreements. What can we take from these agreements that we find helpful, but also envision another form of the document that is more progressive and enriching to the future of our planet? Once we completed this prototype, we began to imagine how this experience may be if it was more participatory for the viewers.

The third iteration continued to use the materiality of the agreements but also asked participants to get involved in the process of recreating the documents. This is an act of reclaiming a more participatory aspect in the process of making an agreement on behalf of human and non-human entities. What is our agency in the paper as a substrate for agreements?  By performing an unfinished cycle of pulping, where paper could be generated, we question the process of making this agreement and we suggest a potentiality of a new agency. We transform the agreement and encounter its materiality. As material it loses its power, but at the same time it is open to the possibility to create a new one. But for now it is unfinished. We encounter with this prototype that we didn’t have a specific case study to contextualize our project that goes beyond the Paris Agreement itself. For this reason we turn our gaze to the legal representation of nature in certain parts of the world as a reference to interpolate it into nature itself, specifically the rivers we mention in our research and concept statement for our final project.