Essayist and psychologyst
Original interview: http://www.goethe.de/ins/br/lp/prj/eps/nsu/pt16159670.htm
From your point of view, what are the main questions and problems of the Global South?
The usuals: impoverishment of the lower classes, media coverage brokered by market interests, industry exploitation, mass insecurity, depletion of natural resources in order to sustain developed countries, elites uncommitted to the interests of their own people who collaborate assiduously to maintain misery for their own interests, government corruption, monocultures destroying forests, simplistic development projects imported by rich countries with no attention to regional particularities, the lack of investment in local brainpower, etc.
What are the gaps in the South-South dialog? ?
When I arrived in Africa or in India, in the Middle East or traveled to countries in Latin America, I had the same impression: that I knew hardly anything about these places. There is a machine that produces information, which is transmitted by a, well, biased, fetishist media, and which does not deal with the issues from an informed perspective, but instead with opportune metaphors and ethnic discrimination; that constantly shows either traditional exoticism or the chaos of violence, terrorism or proverty. They try to hide ways of life, relationships, negotiations, ways of surviving or community relationships, promoting through this massive ignorance convenient ground for the most diverse “interventions” with the support of the mediotized.
I signal the media as one of the biggest problems in relation to dialog in the Globlal South, since they mediate “truth” and homogenize problems, forging images and giving them importance according to their pacts with market interests or war. Barring a few exceptions of media outlets that are more committed to criticism and the depth of the field – but even in those cases, in most, terribly vertical. At the beginning of the 21st century, the Internet was the great generational promise for more horizontal communication platforms, where through open channels, networks, emails, sites, blogs it was possible to access in a less mediated way local realities and with this you will have more access to the general occurences around the Global South. This type of access is more active, since it allows for manifestation, criticism, increased knowledge, more equal exchange among those interested. The Internet worked to broaden the terrestrial spectrum and still works and has brought us more clarity about the ways of life in “Third World” countries, since the ways of life in “developed” countries like the fateful American way of life, have been internalized in us ad naseum.
This promise, however, is at risk. All the horizontality technologically possible amounts to sites, bits of land, sources in dispute. A strange landscape drawn (programmed) by libertarians and mercenaries, the first being under the power’s watch, people driven to suicide, dead, hidden in fear, exiled; and the second create design, engineer projects, set trends, according to market interests and maintaining their own power. The rest are the users who still exercise their minor freedom while providing figures for big data, whether these figures are revolutionary or reactionary. What is interesting to note here is that communication remains mediated by market interests, but it is STILL possible, through the Internet, to create niche transcontinental relationships and, yes, niche relationships among the Global South. This is, at the very least, a process of disalienation and self-recognition that should be broadly strengthened by the involved States.
It is important, nonetheless, that these networks not be promoted only by States, or large corporations, or university conferences fashioned like those imported from Europe or North America, but rather that these relationships be promoted on a large scale, strengthening projects, meetings, massive exchange between these countries of the Global South. What would be surprising and liberating, in these encounters where new paradigms emerge over and above the timeworn idea of progress and development, would be that more real questions be debated, questions that are more linked to the demands of our planet and its inhabitants (eco-demands).
How do the episodes “At the Table” and “Technoshamanism”, in which you participated, relate to these gaps and problems?
I think that the important aspect of that table was to clarify a few questions related to technoshamanism. For example: it is not an anthropologists’ network, despite having some very interesting ones around. Nor is it a network of indigenism, despite its obvious indigenism and its many programs with indigenous goups’ participation and references to those groups. It is not an artists’ network, in spite of many artists being involved with it. It is not a network of permaculturists, in spite of its many permaculture and agroforestry projects. It is not an electronic music network, in spite of having much of this in it. It is not a technology network, despite having many technologists and this being a central theme.
It is a network of people interested in thinking and producing technology and ancestral knowledge, targeted at free, autonomous, collective, collaborative, open source technologies. And ancestry is addressed not only through traditional knowledge, but also through imagined knowledge, subjective statements, expressions of body knowledge, of art, performance, music, of rituals and free cosmogonies as well as for the future, or rather, through the utopias that will be generated by this coupling, and projects for the future (which is also the past), ancestral futurism .
Thinking about the modes of technological production, technological autonomy or the ideologies that pick up technology and argue over its ramifications is the work of this network. And at the same time, the work is about broadening the concept of ancestry beyond the human and linear temporality. So it is not an attempt to include people without technology in the use of technology; nor is it to spiritualize technocrats, but rather to promote negotiation between the fundamentals of technology and ancestry that promotes a more engaged science in a thinking that is more varied and vice versa, a thinking that is more engaged in a more varied science.
Perhaps in order to better understand one has to grasp the notion that we do not agree with the ideology that runs through the technological production of progress and development through market competition, because this competition relies upon halting the flow of goods, planning obsolescence and the promotion of irresponsible consumerism. Not to mention, the technology project currently flourishing is exactly one of extreme control and hyper-surveillance. We are in the hands of a perverse God, of great magnitude, who is enslaving us all and guaranteeing supreme life only for his chosen ones.
Bringing Shamanism into the technology discussion is important because it conflicts with the monotheist imaginary of the superpower, permeating it with spectral masses, souls, populations. Technology here is placed in the service of something other than power and control: that is to say, in the service of insurgent demands, local needs, scientific inquiry, collaborative projects. Technoshamanism is, thus, a collaborative utopia.
As a network of utopian collaboration (but also dystopian and entropic), these concepts and these practices are beginning to gain momentum through the encounters it promotes. It only functions in network, it is not a government project and it cannot be spread on a global scale, nor will it be bigger than itself, it is only boundless for as long as it lasts. But it is international and it is coping with associated networks, promoting debates, gathering knowledge that can be put to use by groups or small communities, transferring experiences from one side to the other, promoting free rituals, activating the imagination and the field of subconscious relationships. It is a social clinic for the future, exactly because it deals with this ancestry (subjective, clinical subconscious fields), with these societies (community networks, indigenous communities, Internet groups, international communities) and with these futures (imaginary dispute about the future, Antropoceno, de-antropocenizing practices). Subjectivity – Society – Future. What other humans could we be?
We don’t know for certain how much repercussion technoshamanism has in the countries of the South. We do know that in Latin America it has a great deal of connection, with very engaged people from countries such as Ecuador and Colombia. But I think it can be a great proposal to start to think in this confluence between the Global South and technoshamanism’s ancestralfuturism. There will be no technological or future transformation without the paradigmatic change of subjects and their ways of wanting.