Orfalea Center Thematic Research Cluster

Future Infrastructures: Water, Energy and Justice

Francisco Huichaqueo Pérez (Filmmaker, Artist, and Curator)

Still image from Huichaqueo's film kuifi ül/ Sonido antiguo or Ancient Sounds of Water (2020).

Francisco Huichaqueo Pérez was born in Valdivia in southern Chile in 1977. He is a visual artist, filmmaker, and professor at the School of Visual Arts at the University of Concepción. He currently leads the First Nations portion of the Festival Internacional de Cine de Valdivia. His video installations, film documentaries, and film essays focus on themes central to his Mapuche heritage. In his oeuvre, Huichaqueo addresses the social landscape, history, culture, and cosmovision of his people. His audiovisual work has been exhibited at various indigenous film festivals such as ImagineNATIVE, in Toronto; the Museo Arqueológico de Santiago; and the National Museum of the American Indian, in Washington, DC. He has also held residencies in film and art in Taiwan and France. His work has been exhibited in Chile, France, Canada, Germany, the United States, Spain, Italy, Argentina, and Bolivia.

The Future Infrastructures Cluster has partnered with Huichaqueo to support the screening and production costs for his film kuifi ül/ Sonido antiguo or Ancient Sounds of Water (2020). This beautiful short film highlights the forms of racialized violence that the Mapuches continue to endure under the Chilean state in southern Chile, and their praxes of resistance, by centering the Mapuche water practices during the winter solstice in Chile. To celebrate “the return of the sun” or Wiñoy Tripantu in Mapuzugun in June each year, there is a ceremonial bathing that occurs four times for the four points of the earth. In this film, Huichaqueo captures this ceremony via reflecting upon the journey of a father and daughter who ritually renew the river on horseback. More broadly, the film also connects historical traumas and the environment as the film’s cinematography seeks to capture both the significance of the rivers for these Indigenous communities and the cosmovision of Mapuche communities. Huichaqueo asserts that this film presents Indigenous understandings of “energy” that expand our cluster’s understanding of this term to also include Indigenous epistemologies around aquatic ecosystems, the earth, the cosmic, and sustainable Indigenous ways of “futuring.”

You can screen kuifi ül/ Sonido antiguo (Ancient Sounds of Water) here:

Page Editor

Stephen Borunda
Stephen Borunda
Graduate student researcher at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies. PhD student in Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara.
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