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We entered gradually into a dense forest and interacting with it found and produced our tracks. Some were already open because they have already been traversed, others were closed by an intense undergrowth demanding machetes, a lot of courage and collaboration. Sometimes trails that looked good paths at first resulted in dead ends that made us go back and change course. Other tracks were traversed almost by accident, entering uncertain routes, we reached very interesting places. It was from this continuous walk, full of comings and goings, discontinued, permeated by doubts and beliefs that took place, along with the cartographers, the very act of the cartographic route. This text does not intend to present the whole process. It is only one part among many others – visible / speakable and invisible / unspeakable – of the route of the Affective Cartography: In the Clouds of the Deep Roots with the Tupinambá of Olivença (Bahia, Brazil).

We understand that carry out an affective cartography requires an immersion in the living world, we must embark on the path to map. The body must be open to the meetings, only this way you can develop a sensitivity capable of handling this challenge. In this sense we get close to ethnographic research and some of it’s practices. The affective mapping occurs where there is a common area, and does not come exclusively from the head of an artist or researcher – owner of pure reason and inspiration. It is precisely an opposition to the idea of crystallizing the different expressions of life into separate categories, which is the basis to colonization and enslavement of nature and human and that materializes itself systematically in the sad triad ‘observe-know-conquer.’

However is important to say that our goal was not to make a ethnographic research about the Tupinambá culture, but a co-research alongside the Tupinambá indigenous movement. From this perspective we could recognize as guiding lines of this work the manifestation of three strata: the forms of subordination imposed from externalities; the production of autonomy, self-worth of he Tupinambá people, both in collective and individual terms; and the forms of resistance that are linked to the dimension of desire in its many manifestations, that is, the ways of expanding the boundaries of the possible to decrease the subordination and strengthening the autonomy.

The route was constituted through an – obviously partial – relationship with the complexity of the Tupinambá life and fight. We took the risk, the uncertainty and the difficulties of dealing with complexity as friends. This does not mean that we had no direction, but that we did very long preparations that allowed us to walk more freely. Thus, this affective cartography was not done from an established academic procedure. It was built through a sensitivity and a self-determination gestated in common between various subjects with the aim to create other worlds different from those of the colonization.

Making an affective cartography does not mean to represent objects based on categories but to produce cartographical aesthetics of life, moving away from the observant position. This necessarily mean to say that we are not owners or translators of an absolute “truth” about the Tupinambá. In no way we are trying to built a mirror of the reality, neither this cartography is proposed to be an interpretation of the specific vision of the natives. We start from the understanding that the truth always comes from a perspective, that is, it is in the body and therefore is the product of multiple processes of cooperation and conflict traversed by material relations. Following this direction, we moved away from a search of ‘what is to be Tupinambá’. With inspiration in the famous question by Spinoza, ‘what can a body do?’, the question of this cartography is: ‘what makes a Tupinambá here and now?

Another important thing is that during the whole process we tried not to corroborate hierarchy relationships. The Indigenous participated actively in the production of this work, never as objects but as co-producers, including the periods we were away from the villages, through e-mails and calls. We understand that object and subject (and the results of this interaction) co-emerge in the very act of mapping. There was, thus, a constant concern to effectively practice the breaking of the subject-object dichotomy, thinking this work always as a way to produce spaces that makes possible contributions and dialogues between different subjects and, ultimately, that this could be a process of affirmation and empowerment of this subjects, including us.

It is noteworthy that to produce affirmation spaces for various subjects and not corroborate a hierarchical order, should not be confused with an attempt to cancellation or neutralization of “speaking places”. It was through the power relations and the ways that the different subjects is positioned themselves in the process that this cartography takes a clear position beside the Tupinambá fight. As a way to care for humans, spirits and forests; retake the land and culture; and achieve autonomy. Becomes explicit once again the activist nature of this work, which by no means diminish it is “credibility”. On the contrary, as stated earlier, these subjective political elements here mentioned were precisely what allowed the emergence of this affective cartography as an aesthetic object and knowledge production. This cartography is a meeting on the border between art, science and activism a dialogue with these three ways of interacting with the world.

This cartography does not intended to be a guide for the Tupinambá Territory and whoever try to use it that way is bound to fail. If you try to follow the same paths will not find the same things. This text on the cartographic route, as well as the cartography in its entirety, has no universalistic claim. It aims to be the very manifestation of an experience that can help to create others, new ones. It is a new experience in each encounter, thus the clues left here and those presented below are not a bull, they do not need not be followed for you to have the right experience, there is no such thing . Affective cartography is a residence of a cartographic journey in the body of those who are open and equipped with the necessary sensitivity to experiment the very act of mapping, opening new cartographic possibilities, so that other pathways and new mappings can be produced by you, if you have the will and interest.


Cartografia somente com pontos e linhas




  • Relations between relations

We started from the idea of a map formed by actions on actions, relations between relations. Thus, the elements of cartography, can not be understood separately as “actors” or “objects”, they are hybrids that emerge from the complexity of their relationships. So, to access this map you must not fall into the “temptation” to subdivide the bodies that make up this cartography between “agents”, “practices” “non human elements”, etc. After all, the focus here are the meetings, the relations: each body is different and occupies a distinct space depending on the relationships that you are choosing to see each moment.

  • “Potentiation” and “depotentiation” or simply: happiness and unhappiness

The green and red lines that you can see in the map were the way we found to express the meetings of this complex space (subjective and territorial) that composes the Tupinambá. The green lines are the manifestation of meetings of “potentiation”, and the red of “depotentiation” that means that the elements connected by the green line strengthen each other, while the red lines indicate incitement of resistance, weakening its power, decreasing its “strength”. The idea of having the green and red lines came from a spinozist inspiration. Schematically and simply put, Spinoza says it is through affection that changes in the bodies take place. These modifications are the result of the effect of a body on another which produces a mixture in which the bodies receive characteristics from each other. When there is a meeting between a body that fit in with the other, the power of action of these bodies increases, it performs a happy affection: a relationship that creates opportunities for new meetings and new affections is established, expanding the possible. However, they can also be meetings that reduce the power of action of the bodies, these are the affections of sadness. These two ways, of enlargement or decrease of the possibilities for action is what we try to show with the red and green lines in the map.

  • Multiple inputs and outputs or simply: Network

The option to use points and lines as a symbolism for the relations that are present in the territory comes from the topology of the networks. The node is understood as a point of connection, convergence and fork. The logic of the network bring the ideia of openess: the network is always able to grow from all sides in every directions, since its made up of several centralities. The network operates trough movement. The lines are nothing but surfaces of passage and transition to the link between the points. This motion logic makes the separations between the nodes blurry, creating a complex system, an superposition of layers, since the path between one node to another, which would be the line, becomes the entire network. The network is not made of units, fixed points: it consists of dimensions, layers, shifting directions without a beginning and an end, it operates in the middle, in the passage, at the meeting. In a network all points can be related to each other – even if indirectly. Therefore, the complexity of the network goes beyond the classic measurement forms based on cause and effect, or inputs that necessarily incur specific outputs. You can enter or exit the cartography whenever and wherever you like, building your own path.

  • Multiscale

This mapping is not limited to an analysis of a given spatial layer of reality: it works with different scales of life. The classical thematic mapping, anchored in the construction of geo-referenced maps, has a clear limitation, since the choice of a particular numerical scale is necessary. On the one hand, if a wider scale is used, a view of the whole can be reached more easily, but there will be a loss in the details. On the other hand, if a smaller scale is chosen, representing the details, we will have to restrict the territory represented. In this mapping there is no “choice” between a restrict or broad scale: there is no anchoring in a predefined space. This does not mean that the cartography is deprived of territorial materiality, but that different scales of this materiality are put together. For example, we put in the same level the role of the State in the Tupinambá territory, and the ways to cook a local dish with jaca (jackfruit – a big forest fruit). We put both the micro and the macro together on the map, recognizing this perspectives as intertwining spaces of relations. That is, this mapping do not operates by a random overlap of elements of different scales, but on the idea that there is a crossing between the micro and macro that is present in Tupinambá territory.

  • Poliphony

There is a multitude of idioms, voices and languages manifested in this cartography. It can be said that this multiplicity generates a polyphony, as these different voices are often presented together and, ultimately are the very manifestation of the cartography as a whole. This multiplicity of voices goes through all the map and it is present in the mix of graphics in the main image, as well as in the wide variety of languages present in the posts – audiovisual, texts and images. It is noteworthy that this polyphony was only able to materialize due to the collaboration between different subjects and the wide variety of views and forms of expression that produced this cartography. For example, it is intentional that there are a lot of videos accompanying texts; the texts are from different sources and come in multiple languages – from poetry, to prayers, more academic texts, more colloquial and informal texts etc. – and there is a large amount of mixed direct and indirect quotations. Thus, we move away from a position and a posture in which the cartographer would be the one who organizes, represents and interprets alone the statements of his ‘subjects’. As we said earlier this mapping is a result of a sensitivity gestated in common between various subjects for the experimentation and creation of worlds, different from those of the colonization.


Some references of our cartographical route

  • R. WAGNER. The invention of culture
  • B. LATOUR. Reassembling the Social
  • G. DELEUZE e F. GUATTARI. A thousand plateaus
  • M. SANTOS. A natureza do espaço
  • S. ROLNIK e F. GUATTARI. Cartografias do Desejo
  • V. De CASTRO. A inconstância da alma selvagem
  • S. VIEGAS. Terra Calada
  • Oswald de Andrade e o Movimento Antropofágico
  • B. SPINOZA. Ethics
  • Gilberto Gil
  • Toni Negri
  • G. COCCO. MundoBraz
  • J. CLIFFORD. A experiência etnográfica
  • Karl Marx
  • D. HARAWAY. A cyborg manifesto
  • A. DIEGUES. O mito moderno da natureza intocada
  • P. CLASTRES. Society against the state
  • V. SHIVA e M. MIES. Ecofeminism
  • E. LEFF. Espistemologia Ambiental
  • Poesia de Manuel de Barros
  • Rogério Sganzerla
  • Michael Foucault
  • G. DELEUZE e C. PARNET. Dialogues
  • G. DELEUZE. Spinoza: Practical philosophy
  • Revista LUGAR COMUM nº 39. Dossiê Copesquisa.
  • D. ALARCON. O Retorno da Terra: As retomadas na aldeia Tupinambá da Serra do Padeiro, sul da Bahia.
  • E. PASSOS; V. KASTRUP; L. Da ESCÓSSIA. Pistas do Método da Cartografia
  • Lampião e Maria Bonita
  • F. NIETZSCHE. On the Genealogy of Morality
  • Fronteiras Imaginárias Culturais (FIC)