NATURAL CONTRACT LAB

Walking with River, walking as repair

How can artistic practices reclaim an ecology of repair, and creatively design protocols with a regenerative approach to the loss of landscapes? Do we need other ways of justice, environmental laws and reparative actions? What kind of artistic processes do we need as a gesture of care for the planetary? How are transdisciplinary alliances a response to ecocide?

“We walk for the river, and as we hear the water we hear ourselves. We are not a protest. We are an ancestor of the water. We are bodies of water. The intent of this walk is to dialogue with the river as our ally. We’re telling the water how much we care and how we intend to hear its presence. We walk to demonstrate one's commitment as our walking becomes testifying.”

Study cases between 2021- 2023

Zenne River, Brussels 2021- 2023
Sijoumi Lake, Tunisia 2021- 2023
Rio Tejo, Portugal 2021- 2022
Rhone River, Switzerland 2022- 2023

Walking with a river is an artistic research to understand the politics of water bodies as a process to define the hydro commons and its entanglement. The performance ritual attempts to acknowledge the river as an entity and discover our allies and witnesses. The walk expresses a sense of becoming, always moving, flowing and following the streams. During the walk we set a talking circle, dialoguing with witnesses, sharing stories, bonding, creating community, mourning, grieving and imagining a final agreement with a river where we reconcile, commit and activate.
In Wanderlust, Rebecca writes that the kind of walking that is turned into an investigation, a ritual, a meditation, is a special subset of walking. Our walk leaves a trace, and creates a trail of repair and healing, turning an abstract intention and idea into a concrete reality. We walk to testify our relation to Zenne. We walk to observe, to listen, to find, to be present, to witness, to tell. We walk to repair.

How do we walk to repair?

As a methodology of walking, we have designed a Sustained Restorative Process Protocol, where we have elaborated 6 steps: 1) Mapping river relationality; 2) Documenting harms to Zenne and her relations; 3) Documenting existing repair and resistance attempts and processes 4) Engaging community in repair processes and elaborating commitments; 5) Concentrating and sustaining further repair processes; 6) Expanding ripples of repair to include larger community.

The walk can also be to document existing attempts at repair and resistance. The river has guardians and protectors. Their gestures, attempts and processes of repair and resistance need honouring, learning from, as they have left a trace and we can follow literally in their footsteps.

Another aim of the walk is to engage in processes of repair. We will hold a community restorative circle where we think on ways in which we can repair the harms that were documented and recorded. Some of these processes can be enacted during the walk, others can be discussed and initiated later, with a larger community. We also use material ways to repair, ex. seeding, and symbolic, ex. storytelling.

Credits

Body of Repair: Maria Lucia Cruz Correia (artist, initiator of the project), Marine Calmet (environmental jurist), Brunilda Pali (restorative justice), Evanne Nowak (climate grief), Lode Vranken (architecture/philosophy), Vinny Jones (scenography), Dave Balle (soil ecology/fertility), Mark Požlep (videography), Margarida Mendes (sonic guidance)

Co-produced by Kunstencentrum Vooruit (BE), NTGent (BE), Workspacebrussels (BE), far° Festival des arts Vivants Nyon (CH), Dream City (TN), C-takt (BE). Supported by Flemish Authorities and Be part
Produced by WpZimmer (BE

NATURAL CONTRACT LAB
NATURAL CONTRACT LAB
NATURAL CONTRACT LAB
NATURAL CONTRACT LAB
NATURAL CONTRACT LAB
NATURAL CONTRACT LAB
NATURAL CONTRACT LAB
NATURAL CONTRACT LAB
NATURAL CONTRACT LAB
NATURAL CONTRACT LAB
NATURAL CONTRACT LAB