The Walking Seminar

There ought to be more opportunities like Beta Local out there for artists and environmentalists. Artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz and geographer Javier Arbona with other artists and individuals in Puerto Rico, are leading participants on a immersive experience “in response to the changing landscape, its social and political uses and its representation through visual and other means.” A 3 week walking tour through the eastern coastal section of the island explores the food, flora, resource use, and Military and Post-military land use. Conservation and intercultural connections appear to be the focus. As much of this seacoast was once an American military base, I can imagine the residue of this installation still permeates the ecosystem. Learning by walking, experiencing the history of landscape, and developing a creative response to it through generative and playful means all involve place as a catalyst for inspiring ruminations. Replacing the artist studio with roaming interaction and discovered source material is an art practice that seems especially relevant to a people who have been the subject of a colonial power. How is this history disclosed in the artifacts of this struggle? How can the meaning and control of the ecosystem be taken back from the imposition and exploitation of the American military establishment, and what can this island landscape tell us about the past and the future of our relationship to the environment? I want to enroll and find out…

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