How can communities work together to dismantle oppressive infrastructures which harm our land, air and rivers?
Drawing on her own Colombian-American roots, multidisciplinary artist Carolina Caycedo is researching community-led alternative energy production across the Americas. The basis of her campaign for Back to Earth is her long-running investigation into human interaction with rivers, from access to clean water supplies to toxicity levels and the impact of dams.
“Infrastructure as we know it has been constructed with a climate pattern in place, but under the current uncertain and changing climate conditions, we have seen an increase of infrastructure damage and collapse, in the likes of bursting dam spillways, falling bridges, leaking pipelines, and mine-tailing dam collapses. We are so vulnerable, depending on an energy grid we have absolutely no control over!” – Carolina Caycedo
Be Dammed, which originated in 2012, is a project whose multiform outcomes (photographic collages, suspended sculptures formed by handmade fishing nets. drawings, books, collective actions and performances) have emerged out of Caycedo’s activism and long-form research methods. Be Dammed looks at the effects of damming rivers on the communities that live around them, and questions the simplistic explanation of hydropower as a clean transition away from fossil fuels.
You can read more about Be Dammed and many of the works connected to it in this audiovisual essay co-written by Cacyedo and ICA Boston here.
For Back to Earth, Caycedo is bringing together a bibliography of useful reference materials, which you can find at the end of this page, and highlighting grass roots organisations and campaigns that call for greater community action and engagement, applying a ‘Just and Fair Energy Transition’ away from extractive mining and towards localised, diverse and sustaining energy grids, while also providing pathways for fossil fuel industry workers to move into new livelihoods.
One of the many things you can do is to sign the petition for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Rivers:
About Carolina Caycedo
Carolina Caycedo (1978) is a London-born Colombian multidisciplinary artist known for her performances, video, artist’s books, sculptures and installations that examine environmental and social issues. She participates in movements of territorial resistance, solidarity economies, and housing as a human right. Her work contributes to the construction of environmental historical memory, as a fundamental element for non-repetition of violence against human and non-human entities. Among others, she held residencies at the DAAD in Berlin, and The Huntington Libraries, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California; received funding from Creative Capital, and Prince Claus Fund; participated in the Chicago Architecture, São Paulo, Istanbul, Berlin, and Whitney Biennials. Recent and upcoming solo shows include Care Report at Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź; Wanaawna, Rio Hondo and Other Spirits at Orange County Museum of Art; Cosmoatarrayas at ICA Boston; and From the Bottom of the River at MCA Chicago. Caycedo is the 2020 Wanlass Artist in Residence at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Caycedo is the 2020 Wanlass Artist in Residence at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and a 2020-2022 Vera List Center Inaugural Borderlands Fellow.
Back to Earth
Back to Earth invites over sixty leading artists, architects, poets, filmmakers, scientists, thinkers and designers to devise artist-led campaigns and initiatives in response to the environmental crisis.
This is a multi-year project that is unfolding across the Serpentine’s programmes onsite, offsite and online throughout 2020 and beyond, with a major group exhibition in 2021. Throughout Back to Earth, our website will become an ever-growing, living archive of artist campaigns – we encourage you to revisit often to discover new perspectives, resources and calls to action.
We invite you to join us on this mission to reimagine new ways of being on and with Earth in the face of a climate crisis which threatens our existence.
Find out more about Just Fair Energy Transition
- Read more about who has the right to energy - the Committee for Human Rights in Latin America, 2017
Read more about who has the right to energy in this publication by the Committee for Human Rights in Latin America, 2017.
- Read a strategic framework for energy transition - Movement Generation, 2016
Click here to learn about ways that societies can move away from Banks and Tanks and towards Cooperation and Caring.
- Learn more about Energy Transition in Colombia and Latin America
Visit transiciones.info, a website dedicated to building climate justice and energy transition.
- [SPANISH] Download this free book to learn more about Energy Transition in Latin America - Transciones
Click here to download.
- [SPANISH] Read more about Just Energy Transition - Pablo Bertinat, 2016
Click here to read Pablo Bertinat’s 2016 paper.
- Watch a Message From the Future With Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez - The Intercept, 2019