Cartografías Líquidas aims to make visible and strengthen the environmental organizations and initiatives in El Salvador through a cartography and artistic residencies, to achieve sustainable development that respects the Earth and Human Rights. It seeks not only to register, make visible and disseminate some of the most relevant ecological initiatives but also to generate new narratives based on technological tools and artistic collaborative creations to reach new audiences. The project's focus is to improve visibility, education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation and adaptation. The project encourages the creation and strengthening of networks between El Salvador and Europe to ease further collaborations.
The Project activities were grouped into three main strands: A cartography of environmental initiatives (April and May 2022); Artistic Residencies (May - August 2022) and a Final Exhibition (September - November 2022).
During its realization, Liquid Cartographies had direct contact with 36 environmental organizations, a group of between 10 and 18 artists, and 6 local partner organizations. It also reached the general public and the public of each participating organization. The outreach at the level of diffusion continues, since the communicative work will continue based on the pieces created during the Project. The methodology was designed to serve both rural and urban populations, and especially to create spaces where people from both contexts could meet and exchange ideas.
Throughout the project, the cluster had the opportunity to discover the work of many organisations working for the protection and care of the environment.The project also promoted exchanges between them and give a larger visibility to their work via the digital platform of the Tunantal map and the communication between the network of activists that was created during the project. It was also an opportunity to stimulate artistic production on environmental issues, as the project succeeded in connecting creators with communities that carry out environmental protection initiatives. It is important to highlight that the organisations involved during the artistic residencies were aware of each other's work, but during the work process they were able to identify their common ground and needs, thus broadening their network.
Challenges and Learnings
The project was well-received by the organisations involved, since more people and institutions joined the initiative during its development. A key point has been the complementarity between the proposed actions and the integral support during each phase. One element of positive impact was to develop first the mapping of environmental initiatives and then the residencies, as the first step strengthened the alliances necessary for the following stages.
The methodology of the artist residencies proved to be ideal for addressing such a complex issue as the environmental impact on communities, although we now know that the development time of the residency was very short. Even so, the project identified significant challenges. Firstly, the planning time for the first stages was very short and this had an impact on the scope achieved, as well as on the dissemination of the results. It was a challenge for the partner members to combine their own work agenda with the project's agenda, as well as to coordinate with the necessary institutions for the international scope of the proposal. Another challenge was the digital divide between territories. In making the mapping proposal, hybrid formats had to be chosen for some of the workshops and visits, since some populations have very little access to and familiarity with the platform provided to host the mapping. As a result, a map for printed distribution was added at the end of the project.
During a press interview, Vidalina Morales, human rights defender and ADES Santa Marta collaborator, commented:
I believe that this same project that the Cultural Center brought to the communities was also to make visible the water issues that we have in the communities and the collective defense that is done in the territories to appropriate these common goods but also to confront large companies.
In addition, Morales indicated that the contribution that women make to the collective defense of this precious resource, water, is also made visible. "It is a struggle that women carry out on a daily basis (and) that is often invisible and not recognized," and added that the exhibition is a new way of expressing these struggles.