Ongoing film and Video Installation. 2023 - 2025

Tunda is a meandering film that shines a light on modes of plant-human alliances through field recordings, multispectral video, and smell. The project builds on a cooperation with Indigenous communities of the Colombian Andean-Amazon. This time, we focus on the ethnomedicinal practices of the Kamnësnta and Inga people of Colombia’s Southwest who still maintain a close relation to a rare and potent plant called Methysticodendron amesianum from the Burgmansia family.

Locally known as Borrachero Andaki, the toxicity of the tropane alkaloids found on this rare flower have rendered it a deadly and divine being at once. Ingesting -or even smelling it- can cause severe hallucinations and temporary loss of memory. In fact, the ancient Andaki tribes used the plant’s smell to deter Spanish Colonial armies before moving their ancestral villages to an alternative dimension of the forest, co-inhabited by invisible forest dwellers. This formless layer of the forest is only felt in misty days and through the smells of the jungle. Paradoxically, while Burgmansia flowers resemble indigenous resistance, they have also infiltrated European gardens since the XIX century with smells that transport the Andaki ① tribes through a backchannel of unintended colonization.

Therefore, using expanded cinema and scents from endangered plants, we explore a form of psychotechnology used by Indigenous medics who learn from, and with the plant’s potent biochemistry. The video follows the journey of an indigenous peace-guard member from the Kamnëstá people who suddenly is transported to the Swiss Alps after ingesting a medicinal plant. In his quest to return home, the story of the Borrachero Andaki ② begins to unravel, revealing its boundary-breaking powers to allow connection with forest spirits, the unliving and our complex relationship with memory, or the loss of it, in today’s world.