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Press release

Indigenous lifeworlds as an interactive video installation in Rio de Janeiro

Videoinstallation der Ausstellung Xingú Entangled
Interaktive Videoinstallation in der Ausstellung: Xingú Entangled

Results from the research project Amazonia as a Future Laboratory of the Ethnological Museum, the Institute for Museum Research and the Ibero-American Institute of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, the Botanical Garden Berlin and the Museu Nacional Rio de Janeiro will be shown internationally as part of the exhibition Existência Numérica (27 March - 23 June 2024). For the first time, indigenous perspectives on the interdependencies between humans and the environment will be made visible in the form of the video installation Xingú Entangled, which combines documentary film footage with interactive visualisations.

Among the indigenous communities of the Upper Xingú, one of the major southern tributaries of the Amazon, artefacts, places, plants, myths, rituals and hyper-beings are considered to be intertwined entities that share a lifeworld. In ethnological collection presentations, the focus is usually one-sidedly on the objects, while plants are shown in botanical collections and the wider context lies dormant in libraries or remains untold. The interactive video installation Xingú Entangled shows man-made objects from the Xingú region in a larger context, weaving objects, actors, events and places into non-linear narratives in which complex connections are revealed. The two-channel video installation consists of a projection and an interactive information visualisation. The interactivity allows users to break out of linear narratives and navigate between scenes, as well as learn more about certain objects and their wider contexts.

Since 2021, an interdisciplinary team with experience in design, ethnology, botany, cultural mediation and archives has been developing visualisations of the interconnectedness of artefacts, plants, places and spiritual entities. In close collaboration with indigenous communities in Brazil and Colombia, material practices and spiritual knowledge are documented in workshops. For the indigenous partners, the focus is on the intergenerational transfer of knowledge. From a design perspective, the collaboration offers unique opportunities to develop and evaluate new interfaces. For the collecting institutions, it is about overcoming disciplinary boundaries and communicating complex contexts in exhibitions. The project is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation as part of the Digital Culture Fund and will run for a total of four years (project end: end of 2024).

Xingú Entangled will be shown in Rio de Janeiro in the exhibition Existência Numérica, which is critically dedicated to the role of data in a world of states of emergency. The works of art and design on display use data as a material and object to thematise the fears and hopes of the present. Against the backdrop of numerous threats - from wars and viruses to the climate crisis and loss of biodiversity - the planet is shrinking and doubts about our continued existence are growing. The exhibition addresses various interrelated emergencies, reinforcing the sense of urgency in the face of life-threatening situations and highlighting the need for new approaches and practices.


>When: 27 March - 23 June 2024
> Where: Espaço Cultural Futuros - Arte e Tecnologia
Rua Dois de Dezembro, 63, Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro
> Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 11 am to 8 pm, free admission


Prof. Dr. Marian Dörk
Research professor for Information Visualization & Management
Co-director of Urban Complexity Lab (UCLAB)
Fidel Thomet
Akademischer Mitarbeiter im UCLAB im Projekt "Vernetzen-Verstehen-Vermitteln: Amazonien als Zukunftslabor"
Akademische Mitarbeiterin im UCLAB im Projekt "Vernetzen-Verstehen-Vermitteln: Amazonien als Zukunftslabor"