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Sandra: The Pandora's box


"Bodies don't exist" is written on a wall at the office of the ethologist of Sandra, and then he adds "If there is an entity you can communicate with, is therefore a person". Sandra's case, he argues, is not about what means to be animal but instead what means to be human nowadays.

Sandra is a female orangutan that remains captive at the former Buenos Aires Zoo. She is a hybrid bred in Germany from two specimens from Borneo and Sumatra and then sold to Argentina for exhibiting purposes.

In 2014 an animal rights organization presented an "habeas corpus" asking for her immediate release from the inhuman conditions under which she was kept in her cage. After many court rejections, a woman judge accepted the procedure and conducted an assembly process which ended in the granting of non-human rights to Sandra in October 2014.

From the French code law that consider animals as sentient beings to the South American neo-constitutionalism that recognizes rights to nature, the granting of human rights to Sandra highlights the explosive political situation when comes to distribute differences across class, gender and species nowadays. The transition from things to sentient beings and from persons to species is performed across multi-scalar transformations of ecosystems, bodies and territories.

Mauricio Corbalan was born in the city of La Plata, Argentina in 1968. He studied Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Buenos Aires. In 2005 together with Pio Torroja started In Buenos Aires m7red, an independent research and activism group focused on the analysis and description of complex scenarios.

m7red operates by immersing into conflictive scenarios-cases combining research based methodologies and intensive field work in association with dissident, grassroots and activist organizations. The outcomes could be many and diverse -open data platforms, books, texts, cartographies and documentaries- but all consistent to explore potentials of future urban scenarios by working at multiple and interconnected scales. From 2009 to 2014, m7red was member of GarageLab, a multidisciplinary hackerspace working on a collective cartography for the cleanup of the Matanzas Riachuelo river basin.

Currently, m7red is working on a book on the spatial consequences of the Sandra¿s case, a captive orangutan granted non human rights at the Buenos Aires zoo and on a cartography on the impact of extractive industries on territories in South America: the Vaca Muerta shale gas oilfield in Patagonia.

M7red has collaborated with Jeanne van Heeswijk, raumlabor berlin, Transit Labour, Estudio Teddy Cruz, Forensic Architecture and Floating University. Its work has been exhibited at Bienal do Mercosul 2005-7, Anyang Public Art Project 2010, Impact 11 2011, 3rd Istanbul Design biennale 2016 and the 1st. Architecture Biennale of Euskadi Mugak 2018.

Writings have appeared in many publications like A+U, Art Forum, Open Magazine, Revista Mancilla, Atlas of World Markets, etc.

In 2011 they published the book "Paraformal: Urban ecologies" followed by "Mil Cuencas" (A thousand river basins) in 2018. Today they are preparing the edition of "Sandra: non human person".

The lecture will be held in English.

Lecturer: Mauricio Corbalan

Date: 9/11/2019

Time: 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Categories: Art, Design

Organizer: HDK

Location: HDK, Kristinelundsgatan 6-8
Stora Hörsalen

Event URL: Read more about Sandra: The Pandora's box

Contact person: Lotta Hasselblom Kvist

Page Manager: Carina Krantz|Last update: 11/22/2017

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