Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol, the Chilean Pavilion at the International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennial 2022
The Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol Pavilion is a collective project led by curator Camila Marambio that proposes an experimental path towards the conservation and visibility of peatlands, a type of wetland considered to be the most efficient natural ecosystem for accumulating carbon in the atmosphere and yet one of the least researched.
Presented by the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Chile at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, which will have its official opening on the 23rd of April, was a collaborative work between art, science and traditional knowledge, promoting research and ecological transition from the environmental humanities. In this sense, a diverse multidisciplinary team was brought together: sound artist, Ariel Bustamante; art historian, Carla Macchiavello; filmmaker, Dominga Sotomayor; and architect, Alfredo Thiermann.
They are joined as co-writers of the project by ecologist, Bárbara Saavedra, Selk’nam writer, Hema’ny Molina, and cultural producer, Juan Pablo Vergara, among many others: Rosario Ureta (design), Mateo Zlatar (web design) , Carola del Río (web development), Freja Carmichael, Caitlin Franzmann, Christy Gast, Randi Nygård, Renee Rossini, Karolin Tampere, Agustine Zegers, Simon Daniel Tegnander Wenzel (smell), Sebastián Cruz (museography), Nicolás Arze and Christy Gast art direction), Benjamín Echazarreta (photography direction), Isabel Torres (voiceover), Constanza Güell (catalogue), Fernanda Olivares (Selk’nam guide), Nicole Püschel (climate change and biodiversity), Antonia Peón-Veiga (lighting), Susanne Abel, Matthias Krebs, Jan Peters (Sphagnum Lab) and Alessandra Dal Mos (Italy production).
The central theme of the Art Biennial 2022, “The Milk of Dreams”, curated by Cecilia Alemani, takes its title from a book by Leonora Carrington in which the surrealist artist describes a magical world where life is constantly rethought through the prism of imagination. It is a world where everyone can change, transform, and become something or someone else. A perfect theme that sought to open up questions about: How is the definition of the humane changing? What constitutes life and what differentiates plants and animals, humans and non-humans? What are our responsibilities towards the planet, other people and other life forms? And what would life be like without us?
In this sense, the Hol-Hol Tol Pavilion, which would be the “heart of the peatlands” in the language of the Selk’nam people, one of the original inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego who suffered genocide from the second half of the 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century, seeks to give visibility to these important ecosystems in the context of climate change with a process of reparation based on the union between science, fiction and traditional knowledge. A way of telling the story of how peatlands around the world occupy a fundamental place in indigenous cultures and other ancestral traditions, and therefore urgently need to be valued as a reservoir of memories.
For these reasons, Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol was a work in close collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society-Chile, the Karukinka Park of Tierra del Fuego and the Selk’nam Hach Saye Cultural Foundation.
Check ArchDaily’s interview with architect Alfredo Thiermann and stay updated with the latest news of the pavilion on its official Instagram account @turbatol.
Photographs by Ugo Carmeni, Courtesy of Turba Tol and Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage of Chile.