In Conversation with Nestor Pestana
This is a recorded conversation between artist Nestor Pestana and Sámi film maker and commissioner Liisa Holmberg; designer and interdisciplinary researcher Dr Johanna; and transmedia artists Jatun Risba. This event was recorded on 31 August 2021 on Zoom.
Nestor gathers artists, researchers and an indigenous thought leader for a unique and insightful discussion to explore how climate change is affecting communities and how better understanding and building empathy with other species might offer us new ways to tackle it.
In 1902, an Act of Parliament was passed to protect the natural environment that forms the view from Marble Hill in Richmond, U.K., the only act of its kind in England. More recently, similar actions have slowly taken place around the world, with the aim to protect rivers and forests, granting them with legal personhood. These are sparse and fragmented cases, but what if they were extended to include all, or at least most natural ecosystems? Can worldbuilding and storytelling help us envision such a world and inspire transformation?
Based on such questions, this conversation aims to discuss the practical issues of how climate change is affecting communities, such as the indigenous Sámi people; and the poetics involved in understanding the human and non-human in a more equal level.
Deeply rooted in indigenous traditions, we will gain insights on the cultural importance of storytelling through the lens of the Sámi people. Building on this, we will discuss ideas about interspecies entanglements, through storytelling devices encompassing language, performance and designed objects.
Liisa Holmberg is originally from the Finnish side of the Saamiland. She is a film commissioner at the International Sámi Film Institute, in Norway, and has worked internationally with Indigenous film makers in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Sápmi and Russia, with the purpose to establish an Arctic Indigenous Film Fund (AIFF). She is also a filmmaker and has worked in the film industry as a producer, production manager and film consultant since 1994.
In 2018, Liisa joined the European Film Academy and was also nominated Chair of the Council for the University of the Arctic. She has worked as a rector of the Sámi Education Institute in Inari, Finland, supporting Sámi languages, cultures and livelihoods.
Dr Johanna is a designer and interdisciplinary researcher. She is a professor of design at Folkwang University of the Arts. Her inquiry-based work explores the intersections of design, art, science, technology, and futures. She holds a degree in Digital Media from the University of the Arts Berlin (UdK) and a MA and PhD from the Royal College of Art London. Her work has been published, awarded, and exhibited internationally, including at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the National Museum Stockholm, the Venice Biennale of Architecture, and Ars Electronica Center Linz.
Jatun Risba – ‘ki’ – is a transmedia artist, sower of kinship and parrhesiast (truth-seeker) exploring beyond human paradigms. Since 2015 Risbas has been developing the pioneering somatic practice ‘Interesse/Dance of Life’ which seeks to reveal liminal expressions of the thinking body to create opportunities to reveal, share, immunise and free oneself while acknowledging the divine comedy of life. A transdisciplinary practitioner, Risba regularly collaborates with visual artists, makers, humanists and scientists and has exhibited and performed in numerous venues including Bangkok Biennial 2020, Fabbrica del Vapore Milan, Kersnikova Institute and Škuc Gallery in Ljubljana, etc. Ki has given lectures/workshops widely and has published texts in various printed and online publications.
Nestor Pestana is a Venezuelan-Portuguese educator, art director and digital designer, whilst developing a new media arts and research practice. Nestor engages in collaborations with scientists and technologists to promote knowledge exchange, critical thinking and lifelong learning. Projects are research based, focusing on the necessity for critical engagement with contemporary and emerging issues related to technology, ecology and politics. Nestor has exhibited internationally, in places such as the Design Museum, Somerset House, D-Lab Tokyo Gallery, Seoul National University, Venice Biennale and Porto Planetarium. His work has been acquired by the Welcome Trust and awarded by the Royal College of Art and YouFab Global Creative Awards.