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Salar de Uyuni – Bolivia expedition

Maristella Svampa

EXPEDITION LOGBOOK
Sala de Uyuni, Bolivia
20.1338° S, 67.4891° W
3,656 metres above sea level

In 2017 Tomas Saraceno and a small group of photographers, documentalists, artists and geographers visited the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, one of the world’s largest salt flats.

They were looking for images in which the horizon disappears as a result of the reflection of the sky on the water-covered surface of the salt flat, investigating the perception of floating in the clouds during the day or in the constellations of stars at night.

This Aerocenic gathering was a seed for many initiatives, connections, and cosmogonies that would later come together: the development of an international Aerocene community and the World Record making of Pacha flights in Salinas Grandes, piloted by Leticia Marques carrying the message of the native communities for climate justice.

But the reality we encounter in the mesmerising landscapes of Latin America’s salt flats is that the disastrous effects of the mining industry on earth inherently extend both upwards and downwards.

Aerocene imagines a future era in which we learn together to float and live in the air, but also in which we recognize that we cannot do so without reaching an ethical alignment to the atmosphere and our planet Earth.

Today we share this beautiful trip with the Aerocene community, through a selection of texts from the trip’s open logbook. We invite you to read the excerpts:

Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016
Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016
Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016
Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016
Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016
Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016

“The point is that what was expected was found wanting: the rains and liquid volumes were long overdue. So we kneeled and burnt incense, we encircled shrines and listened to the bemoaned wailings of agrarian villages crying to their lord – or lords – to turn it on, to bring the rain – it was long. long overdue.”

Jol Thoms

 

“Por la noche en el salar comenzó a soplar un viento infernal. Con la guitarra toqué algunas canciones para entrar en calor pero el frío y el viento hizo que me metiera en la pileta de lona con Tomás que estaba todo tapado con varias mantas en su bolsa de dormir. Una vez dentro de la pileta en mi bolsa de dormir y tapado con las mantas intenté nuevamente tocar la guitarra. Al sacar el mástil hacia arriba, el viento hizo vibrar las cuerdas produciendo unos sonidos y unas armonías ya que modificando la inclinación de la guitarra o girándola apenas iba variando una melodía con notas más graves o más agudas. El instrumento de cuerdas se transformó temporalmente en uno de viento. Más tarde nos dormimos con un cielo totalmente cubierto de estrellas.”

Maxi Laina

 

“Next morning we find the lake covered with Bubbles. No idea where they come from. Air inclusions rising from the salt ground? Algae blooms?…
The feeling of hovering in space is back a last time. When approaching the tripod of my camera I actually lose my balance. Jan is reporting the same feeling.”

Bernd Pröschold

 

“Arrivati in ostello, eravamo presi tutti da un’euforia strana, finalmente pioveva ed era una cosa importante non solo per il nostro progetto, ma anche per tutti gli abitanti di Coqueza che aspettavano questo giorno da varie settimane. La serata si è trasformata in una festa cantando, suonando la chitarra e giocando a carte!
La mattina dopo ci siamo svegliati all’alba, eravamo in mezzo a uno specchio d’acqua. Il cielo e le nuvole si riflettevano nel suolo, tutto era doppio e il sole brillava forte come mai ho visto prima.
Questo è stato uno dei giorni più speciali del mio viaggio e sicuramente un ricordo straordinario che porterò sempre con me.”

Martina Pellachi

 

“No tenemos agua, pero, tenemos sandía”
Sasha Engelmann

 

“It started to rain a few days before the end of the expedition, but the salt lake was so dry that the water just fully got absorbed.
Suddenly at night it started to rain seriously: you could hear it very loud on the zinc roof.
I went to sleep with this exciting feeling I had when I was a child and the first snow was falling during the evenings, just before bedtime.”
Daniel Schulz

Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016
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Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2016
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Read more about the fight for Climate Justice and against unsustainable Lithium Extraction

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