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How do various communities of original peoples in the Amazon Rainforest appropriate digital technologies, what limits do they encounter when confronted with digital devices and algorithms conceived of from a Western-centered perspective, and what creative potential lies in those moments when different epistemologies collide at the same interface?
Event details of Digital Transformation in the Amazon Assemblage
21 May 2024

Organised by the seed funding group Exploring digital transformation in collaboration with indigenous communities in the Amazon Rainforest.

On May 21st, we invite you to join us as at Belcampo Café De Hallen to celebrate the visit of our indigenous collaborators from the Sateré Mawe community, who came all the way from the Amazon Rainforest to meet us here in Amsterdam. We will exhibit photography and paintings as well as community materials co-produced during two months of field research.

The research took place in what we came to describe as the Amazon Assemblage–a symphonic composition of living and non-living entities woven together in nets of mutual dependencies. Contesting prevailing narratives that limit the Amazon rainforest to its ecological significance, seeking to make its lands and waters legible and controllable through datafication and romanticizing its inhabitants through stereotypical notions of indigenous life, our research sets out to forge new narratives. It creates an imaginarium that contemplates the intricate relations between digital development, language revitalization and ecological preservation through the lens of original peoples and their needs. 

This research was part of a research project funded by the Global Digital Cultures Research Priority Area.

The exhibition will be accompanied by addresses given by Josias and Joao Sateré who will share their visions of digital futures. These addresses will then be complemented by academic keynotes delivered by two great decolonial scholars: Linnet Taylor (Tilburg University) and Paola Ricaurte Quijano (Harvard Berkman Klein Center), followed by discussions with the audience.

Drinks and warm snacks will be provided! Registration is required.

The event is organized by Paula Helm, Beatrice Bonami and Roanne van Voorst with the support of the Global Digital Culture Research Priority Area.


18.30-19.00 Exhibition and Socializing

19.00-19.15 Welcome Words & Information on Context

19.15-19.45 Indigenous Addresses (with direct translation)

19.45-20.15 First Keynote: Paola Ricaurte

20.15-20.25 Discussion

20.25-20.55 Second Keynote: Linnet Taylor

20.55-21.10 Discussion

21.10-22.00 Exhibition and Socializing

Background Information on the Project:

Project PIs: Paula Helm, Roanne van Voorst. Main Researcher: Beatrice Bonami

About the project: Driven by the ambition to put ideas of pluriversal design into practice, the project explores how various communities of original people in the Amazon Rainforest in appropriate digital technologies, the limits they encounter when confronted with digital devices and algorithms conceived of from a Western-centered perspective, and the creative potential that lies in the moment when different epistemologies collide at the same interface. Aware of its own positioning within a Western academic context (Haraway 1988), this project explores how engagement with non-westernized contexts of digital use opens the potential to shake and expand existing horizons of how digital transformation and integration can and should look like. Our effort to coproduce, and jointly learn with, our interlocutors, will be reflected in the plan of co-authoring research papers together with indigenous researchers as well as in the co-design of joint (drawing) workshops and exhibitions around Parintins and in Amsterdam. We thus consider this research project as an opportunity to put into practice inspirational ideas of what may be called cosmopolitical ethnography (Lassiter, 2005, Stengers 2011).