Rite Of Passage (2020)


Under the influence of global deforestation for consumer goods, not only complex ecosystems disappear, but also centuries-old indigenous culture and knowledge are constantly under a threat. Where in the West nature and culture are separated, they are inseparably one in indigenous cultures. When a landscape disappears, so do the associated cultures, traditions and advanced knowledge of the natural world.

‘Rite Of Passage’ is Sébastien Roberts newest installation. It’s part of his research phase ‘The Kultrun of Cañon del Blanco’ under the umbrella of the on-going project ‘You’re no Bird of Paradise’. The work investigates indigenous music and rituals that are in danger of disappearing. Initiated in Chile in 2019, this project studies the influence of the Kultrun, a Mapuche drum, on the crystallisation of the Araucaria Araucana’s resin – a Mapuche sacred tree considered as living fossil – and explores the possibilities of preserving its ancestral rhythms in that medium. With his installation he carries and explores the patterns of the Kultrun and documents their influence on the formation of the crystals. This is being done using a technique called sensitive crystallisation.

On-going project initiated during the Valley of the Possible residency program with the support of FIBER and the French Institute in Chile.


About the artist

Sébastien Robert is a French sound artist, photographer and researcher living in The Hague. His long time research focuses on indigenous rituals and music that are in danger of disappearing due to technological, social and/or ecological problems. Rather than simply documenting them, his project aims to study their sound and visual characteristics, the context in which they are played, and to find ways to translate them into tangible works of art that will last over time. 

With his research and hybrid installations Robert searches for possibilities to create an understanding of the connections between indigenous knowledge and the planet, in a non-colonial, non-appropriate and non-extractivist way.