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World Rivers Day


Date: 27th September 2020

Time: 2- 4 pm CEST

Rivers, lakes, oceans, these are the words we give to water, these words have meaning that help us think through water and think with water. We do not live in water, but human activity is having an impact on rivers and oceans as much as on the land. This impact sometimes remains invisible to us as we tend to think of water as the matter in between territorial agencies. But what if it was the other way around? What if it was land that connected the rivers and the oceans? What if we could see that land, water and atmosphere are connected in profound and complex ways, and that these connections and interactions create a dynamic disequilibrium, sustained by life forms, and that it is this that makes life on Earth possible?

Water is a contested zone, on the one hand, oil companies, fisheries and mining industries and military enterprises affect the legal status of water. On the other hand, the Whanganui River in New Zealand became the first river in the world to be recognised as a legal person in 2017, when it was given environmental personhood status. And it matters what stories tell stories, says Donna Haraway in her story-changing book Staying with the Trouble, because, when it comes to water, it matters which stories push us to extract and deplete and which ones help us to connect and heal.

In this webinar we will ask a panel of artists to share their work with us and to help us to create new stories. Through their practices, these artists will help us to map and scan rivers and oceans in our imagination, to dream up visions of interconnectedness, to explore new entanglements and to remind us that the contract between humans and nature is not only about human rights alone but also about human obligations.

No single entity exists in itself, because life is made possible by symbiotic connections. We urgently need new stories that can remind us of our responsibilities and that can help us to create practices of care and custodianship of water and its life. These artists put forward stories that speak of integration and cooperation, stories that help us to understand life as interdependencies and entanglement, as consortia rather than individuals.

Marina Velez Vago


Webinar recording available here:


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