AGUSTINA WOODGATE AND REV. HOUSTON R. CYPRESS
Land Acknowledgment, 2018
Activation at Faena Beach
Agustina Woodgate (1981, Argentina) is an artist whose practice focuses on the politics of landscapes and infrastructures as a conceptual and public geography.
She recombines, activates and repurposes available resources while setting alternative systems in motion. Her work comes about through a logical process of discovery rather than invention, utilizing displacement as a strategy.
Woodgates' approach is speculative, practical, and site and context-responsive, presenting critical alternatives to concepts on social orders, resource management and information distribution bringing clarity, scale, and accessibility.
REV. HOUSTON R. CYPRESS
Artist, activist, and ordained minister, Reverend Houston R. Cypress serves as the head of Love the Everglades, an organization devoted to the development of platforms and initiatives for environmental protection and cultural preservation.
Cypress also uses his platform to speak out as an advocate for two-spirited and non-binary gender peoples’, cultural preservation, business development, and sovereignty. Cypress acts as a cultural ambassador, fostering meaningful exchanges between his society of native clans and the Miami community.
Recently he has presented at ICA Miami a lecture entitled “Decolonizing Gender, Land, and Spirit,” seeking to connection with the environment and to cultivate more diverse and inclusive communities.
Agustina Woodgate and Rev Houston R. Cypress proposes a currency for Abya Yala—the name given to this land by the Kuna people of Panama and Colombia being used in contemporary parlance across diverse indigenous communities as a name for America.
This conceptual project was based on each artists investigations together and separately into decolonizing currency, addressing the effects of urban development on our lands and the climate, the nature of national identity and how it pertains both to the graphic design of banknotes (for example the queen of England appears in at least six banknotes from across the Americas) as well the macro economics of creating currencies, communities and the economy.
Simultaneous to these more practical concerns, the work insisted upon indigenous land acknowledgement, new communal modes of investigation, shared forms for creating and alternative systems of time and exchange.
By looking at our money, what it means and might become, Woodgate and Cypress addressed colonization, capitalism and the reorganization of our communities while also daring to imagine a new concept for a future nation that recognizes that all of America is indigenous land.
Agustina: Hola Houston,
I no longer can understand ecology without a direct relationship to economy. An eco economics is needed for our near future. A continental block that unites us ecologically and economically. An Eco economy. We could start by imagining a currency that unites the landmass of the American continent. A supranacional currency. What would you like to see represented in this currency?
Rev. Houston R. Cypress: Salutations, Agustina!
On my way to this digital location, I was finding my way to similar feelings and ideas.
And since we are here together now, I’d like to take this moment to recognize that even in this digital sphere, we depend on so much of the organic. Therefore, we can say thank you to the Universe and the Land the Elements that brought us here, and which we want to uphold.
So the ideas were:
Can we develop a flow, a process, that ultimately upholds the vitality of the Circle of Life? A proposal for a planetary economy that regulates our relationship with all living and non-living entities, an economy that accounts for our behavior on the disruption of the Circle of Life. An Eco tax. How many Circles (Communities) would want to participate in this?
Varieties of Protocol to respect:
Perhaps a plan would be a planetary economic system that unifies us and makes us all accountable and responsible for our actions.
What are the forms of thriving indigenous economies that we can learn from?
Is there a way in which you divide the communities profit? Other ways of currency that we can use instead of national bank notes?
What do we mean by economy? I know there are modes of finance, and commerce here, but doesn’t this term also refer to how we care for our homes?
Our homes, our bodies, our environment, our planet and our universe as a whole. An economy that accounts for each and every single corner of our life and behavior. An economy that utilized technology, such as sensors, radars and satellites to regulate our behavior.
I’m definitely concerned with how indigenous languages are going to interpret or respond to this. Are we operating in Capitalism, or is this transitional to something hybrid, or novel?
Perhaps it is a hybrid? One thing is certain, we can no longer operate in the modality of exploitation and consumption. New forms of finance must be formulated and the participation of the indigenous communities is imperative.
Crypto currencies become an opportunity with a potential to rethink our exchange system.
What about the moral implications of how that system started?
The energy-intensive demand of that technology is unattractive.
I wouldn’t advocate an Eco-Economy to be built on that kind of foundation.
Instead of a supranational currency we could propose a planetary one.