The look of the Jaguar
“It is the subject that has a soul and has a soul that is capable of having a point of view” (Viveiros de Castro)
In a similar spirit, Viveiros de Castro refers to the concept of Multinaturalism, understanding nature as a diverse and ambiguous concept and implying the existence of many worlds, including the worlds of animals. Based on Amerindian perspectives from the Amazon, he decenteres human perspectives, to include and recognize non-human perspectives, and with this overcomes the nature-culture dualism. When we talk about Who is the Other, we name and label him/her/them/it, we look at him/her/them/it from a certain place. The look from a western perspective is based on the differentiation between culture and nature, categorizing nature as an object and people as culture, but these categories are not universal. Viveiros challenges the dominant human-centered perspective with the Amerindian perception. The worlds of the animals are parallel to ours, different from ours and equal to ours, from the point of view of each of the species. In his essay “The Gaze of the Jaguar” he refers to an Amerindian perception and relation to nature, recognizing the different species inhabiting the world which are considered to all have consciousness and culture and understanding themselves as humans, thus having in common with humans humanity, and not, in contrast to the modern perception, animality. Understanding oneself as human also implies an ability to understand oneself as subject and a soul. In that perspective, not only humans possess intention and can own objects and other beings of nature. One cannot be subordinated to the other, but rather, they negotiate intentions.
Through my artistic practice I am trying to decenter the human perspective, by putting oneself in relation to the cosmos and other non-human beings, stepping away from this human individuality. With the idea of La Mirada del Jaguar, as Eduardo Viveiros de Castro proposes, I want to give space and voice to other perspectives, propose other ways of seeing and be related with nature and non-humans, overcoming dualism between human/culture and nature and open the idea of multiculturalism/ pluriverse. I want to illuminate and open the doors to other existing, non-dominant, often suppressed worlds, cosmovision and knowledge and possibilities for re-existence – in terms of resisting against imposed forms of existence, returning and basing existence on different and own cosmovisions, including human as well as non-human/other-than-human beings. With this, apart from creating artistic images, I want to open new imaginations. (Leff/Porto Goncalves 2015) (De la Cadena, Blaser 2015)