Thu Feb 10 15:00


By Camila Marambio

Sound bites from Turba Tol Hol Hol Tol, the Chilean Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale curated by Camila Marambio.

Rumor 1

Here you are --- bodies in a simulacra that begins to fade. What is left, sensual bodies. Breathing in oxygen exhaling carbon being sequestered by the peat. You are touching each other through the air. The vibrations you sense moving up through your feet are sensed by the moss too.

It is watching you.
It wants you to dance. I want you to dance.

Do you dance? Follow my rhythm. Let the beat start shaking some part of you and pick it up.
Begin to shake, and as the shaking gets faster, more vigorous, it will be seen by the moss, by the persons facing you. Keep breathing, keep shaking. Feel the heat, transpire, sweat. What is moving is molecules, bouncing around, through blood, tissue, mucus. Let go of your head, get into the rhythm and enjoy the enveloping rhythm. You are being watched, witnessed; dance for the peat.

Rumor 1 is made by:

Carla Macchiavello and Camila Marambio (text)
Isabel Torres (voice)
Cecilia Vicuña (original ñirre chant)
Ariel Bustamante (sound adaptation)

Rumour 2

When we hear the word forest, our brains quickly place us in one of them. If we hear the word peatland, there are few people who can imagine one of these places.

Peatlands are places where the ground is like an immense sponge, which absorbs thousands of liters of rainwater. Walking on them is not easy: shoes sink at every step, and there are even areas that resemble quicksand, only instead of sand, there are plants. This immense sponge consists of many dead plants, especially mosses, which build up slowly in layers as if it were a gigantic “thousand layers” cake. This dead material is known as peat. The accumulation of layers can reach thousands of years of age, and in each one of its layers, plants have managed to trap an immense quantity of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is meticulously stored in the peatlands. It is for this reason that this ecosystem comes in first in the ranking for greatest accumulation of organic carbon. It seems incredible that while covering only 3% of the planet’s terrestrial surface, peatlands are able to store twice as much carbon as the world’s entire forest biomass.

Peatlands are a type of wetland, sites flooded with water, with little oxygen, few nutrients, and as acid as orange juice. Although these may not seem like the friendliest living conditions, its inhabitants know how to tap into their advantages. The beings that live in peatlands must endure very extreme conditions, which makes them highly specialized beings. Truly, they have earned the moniker of engineers. The most outstanding of these engineers is the Sphagnum moss species, which in the south of Chile is known as “pompón”. This plant is the one responsible for these ecosystems’ great water-absorbing capabilities, a characteristic that has also been appreciated in agriculture. The moss is used instead of soil for growing other plants. Although Sphagnum gets most of the attention, there are several other surprising beings as well. Peatlands are where we can also find intriguing carnivorous plants, which await patiently in order to feed on the insects that live in peatlands.

These ecosystems carry out fundamental ecological roles such as: regulating water cycles, capturing and storing carbon, and providing a home for a singular biodiversity, among many others. Nevertheless, their contributions to human beings go even further. Marketable products such as peat and moss can be extracted from peatlands, but these actions can leave indelible footprints in these ecosystems. The most critical case is that of peat extraction, which eliminates thousands of years of work from nature and sentences peatlands to extinction. Additionally, there’s also the recollection of living moss, which may be considered as a renewable resource, even when it has not been exempt of ill practices that have damaged and then left numerous peatlands in a state of abandonment.

In the south of Chile, peatlands are socioecological systems that have an impact on people’s quality of life in several ways. To some localities, they carry out a fundamental role in storing their water supplies. To others, the recollection of moss provides a livelihood for their families. For all these reasons, peatlands are desperately calling on us to generate new forms of engaging with them, in which their recovery, conservation, and sustainable use may lead us to “good living” (sumak kawsay), a harmonious way of living.

Rumor 2 is made by:

Carolina León Valdebenito, Bernardo O’Higgins University (text)
Isabel Torres (voice)
Ariel Bustamante (sound adaptation)

More rumors on the Turba Tol web.



FEBRUARY 7–11 • 2022


Presented by the SeedBox