Vanessa Ramos-Velasquez

The Coming Catastrophe and Its Possible Decelerators || The Future Is Ancestral


I was a visitor at the opening of ZNE! in 2010 and now I am very honoured to be a participating artist in its 2023 conclusion, also in Berlin. What I wish to propose with my multisensorial installation is an “Indigenous Turn” as essential for the aesthetics of sustainability. In my conversations with ZNE! curator Adrienne Goehler, we have discussed how natural materials abundant and renewable in nature are often overlooked and dismissed as potential materials for large scale applications. This conundrum reminds me of growing up in urban society in Brazil hearing that everything that comes from outside the country is better and more advanced. This often meant relying on expensive imported products industrialized in the global north with our own Brazilian natural resources. My own indigenous ancestry, almost entirely lost to colonialism, inspires me to look for other values and practices of care. This has meant to study with people from indigenous cultures in the Amazon and in the Andes, not to “go back” as a motion toward the past as it is often interpreted when looking to indigenous traditions (which might also change), but to go forward with a better comprehension of the complexity of nature as a subject that generates life, such as ours. I invite the ZNE! visitors at the opening on 11.5.2023 to enter the contemplative space of my installation The Coming Catastrophe And Its Possible Decelerators // The Future Is Indigenous, by stepping on the earth lightly. This installation is a microcosm of my experience with the Shawãdawa people in the Amazonian Forest of Acre, Brazil. At the closing of the exhibit on 16.7.2023, I invite the visitors to collect an amount of earth to take home. The earth covering the floor of the installation will have received the vibration of the Shawãdawa chanting by Txãda Shawã and Daosha Pássaro Alegre (which can be experienced every day) since the exhibit opening on May 11.

The aesthetics of sustainability in the arts for me means that no materials in my work become garbage. Materials are either reused and/or repurposed.

The production of my installation has been kindly supported by the Kreativfonds at Bauhaus University Weimar.

The 5m3 of sieved topsoil was donated and supplied by Frank Blaschzik/Baum und Park Landschaftsbau GmbH Potsdam.


Vanessa Ramos-Velasquez (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Media Artist and Interdisciplinary Researcher, lives in Berlin, Germany; works in Berlin and in the Amazonian forest region of northern Acre, Brazil.