Ignacio Acosta: Litte ja Goabddá [Drones and Drums], 2018
Two-channel video installation, 18:18 min with immersive sound design. Jåhkåmåhkke [Jokkmokk], Norrbotten, Swedish Sábme, 2018. Commissioned as part of Drone Vision: Surveillance, Warfare, Protest, a collaborative research project between the Hasselblad Foundation / Valand Academy, Gothenburg, Sweden led by Dr Sarah Tuck.
In the film, Litte ja Goabddá [Drones and Drums] (2018), Ignacio Acosta explores the use of drone technologies by Sámi communities as a decolonial tool for resisting the mining exploration at Gállak in Jåhkåmåkke (Jokkmokk) in northern Sweden. Working in close collaboration with activists and Sámi families living and working in the threatened area, the project explores the link between drones – a ubiquitous modern invention – and drums – an ancient Sámi cultural artefact – as navigation and communication tools and as forms of human and non-human resistance.
In Sámi cosmovision the drum is the “boat” of the soul. It allows the noaidi or shaman to travel between material and spiritual worlds, fostering a strong connection to Mother Earth. Drums permit the understanding of the cosmos through the iconic representations on the drumheads. Drones on the other hand permit us to grasp the scale of the landscape by expanding our field of vision, acting as a “constant geo-spatial overwatch”. Drones map the land combatting and resisting the powerful dominance of industrial colonisation. Here, both objects allow us to challenge the exploitation of resources by multinational corporations: drums help us to grasp the land “spiritually” and the drone helps us to know the land scientifically. Thus, the historical and the contemporary are reconciled with a view to retaining cultural authenticity. Drums and drones both possess a central cross that acts like a compass. On the drums a central cross shows the noaidi the routes to the universe. Drones use a mapping software and a central cross to enable pilots to have absolute accuracy in reaching their target.
Ignacio Acosta is a Chilean-born, London-based artist and researcher working with photography and film to explore the political ecology of mining across the globe. He works with interconnected research projects that involve extensive fieldwork, investigative analysis, audio-visual documentation and critical writing on sites and materials of symbolic significance. Between 2012 and 2016, he completed a Ph.D at the University of Brighton, UK, where he is part of the research group Traces of Nitrate (tracesofnitrate.org) developed in collaboration with the Art and Design historian Louise Purbrick and the photographer Xavier Ribas, from where his publication Copper Geographies (2018) emerged.
Recent exhibitions include: National Waterfront Museum, Wales (2017); Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Poland (2018); Hasselblad Centre, Sweden (2018); Ájtte Museum, Sweden (2019); Bienal de Artes Mediales, Santiago, Chile (2019); Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile (2019); Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile (2019); Zeppelin Museum, Germany (2019); Arts Catalyst, England (2019); and Varmlands Museum, Sweden (2020).