“Ciné-Cipó – Cine Liana”: The Amazon Rainforest as one of the earth’s „Critical Zones“

Brazilian Filmmaker Barbara Marcel embarked on an adventure to capture different exchanges in the Amazon Rainforest. You can now see what she discovered in a video installation called “Ciné-Cipó – Cine Liana”. It is part of the virtual exhibition “Critical Zones – Observatories for Earthly Politics” by the ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medien) Karlsruhe.

Ciné-cipó - Cine liana

Together with the two Amazonian local activists Natalina do Carmo and Milena Raquel Tupinambá, Barbara and her team visited ATTO last year. They wanted to learn about the daily lives of the scientists working at this observatory in the remote Amazon. But they also wanted to know the tower is for, and what benefit it brings to local communities and indigenous people. They discovered an interesting parallel. The focus of our research at ATTO is the exchange between the forest, atmosphere and soil. In the same way, their visit was about exchanges: between the scientists, who study the forest, and the communities who call the forest their home. Fueled by curiosity and mutual respect, they bridge their differences and speak the same language.

Trailer "Ciné-cipó - Cine liana"

The videos take you on an exciting journey of discovery. On the one hand, you can witness Natalina and Milena telling the international scientists about the healing properties of the trees studied at ATTO. And you can watch, as ecologists explain to them how indigenous communities have inadvertently domesticated the forest for centuries. Come along as the activists climb the tall tower to broadcast to their community radio. As the overlook rainforest, they share what they have learned on the trip of a lifetime.

Critical Zones - Observatories for Earthly Politics

The project “ciné-cipó – cine liana” consists of six videos featuring different episodes of the activists’ journey. Within the virtual exhibition, they will be available online until the end of July. It was commissioned by the ZKM Karlsruhe, with additional funding from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry and the Instituto Serrapilheira. Further, it was supported by the INPA-National Institute of Amazonas Research and Goethe-Institut São Paulo.

Many of our ATTO scientists, as well as lots of colleagues from the INPA were involved – look out for them when you watch!

The “Critical Zones – Observatories for Earthly Politics” exhibition is curated by Bruno Latour, Peter Weibel, Martin Guinar and Bettina Korintenberg. It will open in a physical space at the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany on July 24. Subsequently, it will be open to the public until February 2021. Due to the Corona pandemic, the ZKM had to postpone the exhibition from its original May opening and moved temporarily into an online space.

Conceived as an “exhibition of ideas”, the project works with artists, researchers and activists. Together they explore the concept of “critical zones” used in geochemistry, biology and ecology. Scientists use the term to describe the thin layer of the earth in which living organisms, soil and water mutually impact one another. The exhibition is available in its virtual space here: