Tangia basti is a community that has been living for more than 40 years at the center of a sprawling forest, in a complex web of multi-species relations. With To Search the Secret of the Forest, I have attempted to immortalise this reality and depict the multiplicity that unites the villagers with the forest, the river and other more than human entities.
Destined for destruction and displacement due to the proposed construction of an airport, Tangia Basti lived in a state of isolation, the government never provided electricity or running water to the village, but the people have always resisted, building roads and schools, creating a lively existence.
The uncertainty that defines the reality of Tangia Basti triggers a reflection on the necessity to take stock of the necropolitical logics of our times and of a system that capitalises on all that lives, but also to interrogate the self representation and conventional understanding of being human, which is an old notion based on schemes and mindsets. The contemporary posthuman current analyses the need to create a collective subjectivity capable of a mental openness that recognises the coexistence of human and non-human beings. These are features also at the heart of internationally shared Indigenous conceptualisations of their humanity as being constituted in inextricable relations with the nonhuman world.
To Search the Secret of the Forest wants to make the uniqueness of the reality of Tangia Basti an example of the ever more pressing need to redirect the ideologies of dominant Western societies in order to break down the ideal of anthropocentrism and human exceptionalism and to outline a renewed conception of the "self".
Text curated by Pietro Lo Casto & Rita Meschiari