Gabriela Carneiro da Cunha’s Altamira 2042: Fostering Multispecies Survival through Performance, Ritual and Active Listening

Published: Oct 29, 2023
Synthesis Anglophone Journal of Comparative Literary Studies Comparative Literature re-storying stories multispecies survival multispecies narratives ritual-performance techno-shamanism active listening metaphorization of nature modern constitution appearance decolonized ethnographic practice
María Georgina Sánchez Celaya

Performance can provide far-reaching and meaningful tools to re-think the ways humans construct knowledge to integrate more-than-human worlds. This is the case of the techno-shamanistic ritual performance Altamira 2042, directed by Gabriela Carneiro da Cunha. This performance is a starting point to address the critical situation of several endangered species in the Brazilian Amazon. Focusing on how the artist deconstructs the ‘metaphorization of nature’ (Chaudhuri, 1994) and the ‘modern constitution’ (Latour, 1993), this article argues that Da Cunha’s innovative performative work rests on a decolonised ethnographic practice and a non-anthropo-centered perspective where active listening and ritual become not only aesthetic but also political acts.

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Author Biography
María Georgina Sánchez Celaya , University of Bern

María Georgina Sánchez Celaya is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Bern and part of the interdisciplinary Sinergia project “Mediating the Ecological Imperative” (2021-2024), founded by the Swiss National Foundation (SNFS) ( Her current doctoral project focuses on performance, ritual, and its relation to socio-environmental struggles in Latin America. Her research interest and academic practice lie in contemporary and modern Latin American art, feminism, and indigenous knowledge. She completed a master’s degree in art history, specializing in Curatorial Studies, at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), from where she also obtained a BA in History. In 2019, she received an Honorary Mention for Best MA Dissertation on Water Resources (UNAM), and in 2015, she received the Miguel Covarrubias Award on Museography and Museums Research (INAH). In 2020, she worked as an Academic Coordinator at Centro de Extensión Oaxaca from the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas (IIE-UNAM). From 2017 to 2018, she was Chief of Research and Curator in the project: “M68 Citizens in Motion”, which concentrated on the student protests of the 60s and contemporary social movements in Mexico. The project consisted of a permanent exhibition and a document collection from different Mexican archives available on the Internet (

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