Korebaju, While the Earth Remains
César Cuspoca
Curated by Sandrine Servent at Mina Raven
June 10 – July 24, 2021
01. Afterglow

Afterglow is the glow that remains after the light is gone.

The starting point of the installation is a re-interpretation of ‘Diorama,’ a device which was invented by Louis Daguerre in 1803, and uses light to create animated scenes.

Afterglow is based on a series of video portraits, Korebaju Portraits of Resistance, taken of members of the Korebaju community. Each participant remains silent and motionless in front of the camera for several minutes, while the forest environment carries on in the background. At times we can hear a dog barking, children’s voices, birds or even sound of a boat drifting by.

My first feeling with the location of the abandoned stable was to find myself in a place where there were a lot of things going on that you couldn’t see. It is a place full of history but also a place full of life: plants, insects, rodents and fungi inhabit or use the place at different times of the day.

I started by examining the place, trying to identify the animals and the presences that inhabit it. Then, I redefined the possibilities and the constraints that we had in order to be able to set up an installation. After occupying the space for a while, I began to imagine the shape of the installations and to identify the elements that I could use. The idea was to invest in the space but also all the land surrounding it. The central Afterglow installation, located inside the arena, allowed me to organize the other installations as a ritualistic journey around a central event.

–César Cuspoca

In this immersive installation, Cuspoca creates a ritual space using elements of the local environment: the sand, stakes and ropes are arranged and balanced precariously to evoke life’s simplicity in the Amazon Rainforest. Acrylic glass hangs from the roof in the centre of the space, appearing as a totem. The video portraits are projected through the glass and reflected onto the wall. Cuspoca then pours liquid latex onto the glass, thus activating the installation and the images of the Korebaju appear in the center of the space.

The use of latex makes reference to The Amazon Rubber Boom, a critical period in the exploitation of rubber in the Amazon Rainforest which forced mass human displacements, triggered massacres, and caused the deaths of thousands of people, including the Korebaju’s ancestors.

Installation, Saint-Loup, France, 2020

While the Earth Remains

In November 2020, the local community of Saint-Loup in France provided Mina Raven and artist César Cuspoca with an abandoned horse stable to create an event that the local people could visit. Together, they decided to show four in situ installations of César Cuspoca created from recorded materials while he was spending time with the Korebaju, an indigenous community located in the Caqueta region of Colombia.

Bring the Korebaju presence in this small french village is like a poetic journey to introduce worlds that would never meet in real life. More than an exhibition, Korebaju, While The Earth Remains is the starting point of a story, a myth around an event that one day happened in Saint-Loup.

“The Korebaju project was initiated by my meeting with the linguist Jenifer Vega, who for several years, has been working on the phonetic description of the Korebaju language. She was the one who first told me about the Korebaju, introduced me and the production team to the land, and presenting us to the community. They hosted us for a month and gave us permission to make sound and video recordings. It was a very rich and rewarding human experience.” –César Cuspoca

02. Firewords

Video Installation, Saint-Loup, France, 2020

Gathering around the fire to tell stories and myths is an integral part of oral transmission in indigenous communities. This immersive installation seeks to confront the viewer with the presence of Saulo, a member of the Korebaju community. As the video progresses, the image disappears and the sound continues. The viewer remains in dark, listening to only the voice of Saulo.

03. Echoes of the Soul

Sound Installation, Saint-Loup, France, 2020

A traditional beverage made from plants, Ayahuasca has been a indigenous remedy for thousands of years. It is used during the ‘yage ritual’ which purifies one’s body and soul. The ceremony is guided by a shaman and other members of the community, who accompany the person on their spiritual journey with music and songs. In this installation, the visitor can hear the sounds of the ritual inside the tent which is used to create an intimate and enclosed space, cocooning the observer. The tent evokes also evokes the idea of modernisation and globalisation.

04. Doorway

Installation, Saint-Loup, France, 2020

Spirituality and rituals are an essential part of the life among the Korebaju; one must purify oneself to connect with the spirits of the forest. The three mirrors at the entrance symbolise the passage between these two worlds. Standing before the three doors, the visitor is confronted with the reflection of his soul.

The visitors were mainly residents of the village of Saint-Loup. From the start, they witnessed the process of intervening in the arena. They saw me walk by everyday with my 50 meter extension cords that I used to conduct electricity to the area. We exchanged words from time to time but they didn’t inquire too much and I didn’t want to seem too forward. We did a small event when the installation opened. They came to discover the exhibition and share a moment with each other as they used to do a few years ago. We exchanged, and discussed. Sandrine Servent, the curator and organizer of the exhibition, told them the story of the project. The place was alive again for an evening, and made this encounter possible between these two worlds that did not know each other.

–César Cuspoca

César Cuspoca
César Cuspoca is a Colombian artist, based in France since 2012. His artistic practice principally nourishes questions of perception, the duality between appearance and disappearance, and materialism and immaterialism. It is, however, more concretely the idea of experience which takes a central role in his approach and which allows him to structure his creative process…
Sandrine Servent
Sandrine Servent is a curator and an art producer based between Paris and Lille. After seven years working as an art producer and an agent in the photography industry between London and Paris, she launched Mina Raven, an non-profit organisation to promote visual art around Europe…
Mina Raven
Mina Raven is an organization working with public and private institutions to produce and promote photography. The objective of Mina Raven is to inform and inspire a vast audience by presenting bold and interesting emerging artists from around the world, with a focus on diversity, inclusion and environmental issues…

This exhibition is made possible by the following sponsors: