Metabolic Studio Public Salon
Laura Valdés Kuri & Claudio Valdés Kuri
Friday, November 13, 2009 @ Noon
Free Admission

Environment, Art and Science in Mexico

This salon will present an overview of how the environmental movement in Mexico has evolved in the last 20 years. Laura Valdés Kuri will present a slide show showing the groundswell of social participation in environmental and cultural activism in Mexico spanning from the 90’ to present day actions. Her brother Claudio Valdés Kuri will share insights on the greening of the art movement through a specific project “Ecocentro de Ciertos Habitantes” which is being developed by his theatre group “Certain Inhabitants”.

The Ecocentro is nestled at the edge of a forest, it will be an environmentally sound artistic retreat that will offer artistic residences and retreat facilities for creation, reflection, research, cultural exchange, artistic and environmental education and the development of theatrical productions. It is a model cultural project that incorporates artistic inspiration, education, sustainable development and the application of low-impact technologies that demonstrates how a long-term project can preserve natural resources, protect local traditional culture and nurture the theatrical arts. There is an elaborate outreach plan to work with the local rural communities.

This salon will describe just how the Ecocentro de Ciertos Habitantes has been designed with an inclusive multidisciplinary modality which, from its inception, has brought together a wide range of stakeholders who participate actively in its creation and development. Laura and Claudio will discuss how the two disciplines are intertwining through permaculture design, theatrical art projects, hands-on community development and the support of social networks and how collectively they are playing a key role in saving a significant endangered area of the Great Water Forest near Chalma, a rural village in Mexico.

There will be a Q&A in English and Spanish after the discussion.

Claudio Valdés Kuri's Los Angeles residency at CalArts and REDCAT is made possible in part by the City of Los Angeles' Department of Cultural Affair's Cultural Exchange International grant and the National Performance Network's Performing Americas Creative Exchange Program.

Laura Valdés Kuri has been recognized as a leader in the Mexican environmental movement. Since 1985, Laura has propagated environmental practices, sustainable education and community development projects that benefit the environment and society as well. With a background in Social Studies, Environmental Education, Bioregionalism, Permaculture and Ecovillage development she has spearheaded and served as an advisor for hundreds of rural and urban projects throughout Mexico such as the Environmental Promoters Group of Tejalpa, a recycling center run by a women’s collective.

Laura has been founder of the Bio-Regional Movement in Mexico and Latin America, co-founding member of the Ecovillage Network of the Americas (ENA) and coordinator of the national education project ECOHABITAT. She is also an Ashoka associate in Mexico. Laura and the networks she participates in have organized events, symposiums, conferences, fairs, workshops and international congresses in Mexico, Latin America and United States. She is focalizer for national and international environmental and bioregional networks. She has compiled and edited environmental books such as Welcome Home: Life Experiences and Bioregional Thinking (Mexico 2003) and Ecohabitat: Experiences Towards Sustainability (Mexico 2006)

Claudio Valdés Kuri, a prestigious Mexican director, is recognized as one of Latin America’s Artists with the most international acclaim. Founder and director of the Certain Inhabitants Theater Company, his work includes The Grey Automobile, Monsters and Prodigies: The History of the Castrati, Becket or the Honour of God and Where will I be Tonight?, all presented in Mexico and in Europe, Latin America, United States and the Caribbean. Specialized critics have given him well-deserved recognition, such as naming him the best director in experimental theatre as well as best group theatre director.

Several important governmental cultural offices have commissioned and co-produced his productions: National Theatre Company (Mexico). National Autonomous University of Mexico, International Cervantino Festival (Guanajuato) Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), Kunsten Festival des Arte (Brussels) and Wiener Festwochen (Vienna). He has received several grants from Cultural Contact, the US-Mexico Foundation for Culture, Young Scholarship Holders and Co-Investment Projects from Mexico’s National Fund for Culture and the Arts.

The monthly publication Mexican Leaders has acknowledged Claudio as one of the top 300 most influential leaders of the country. With the creation of Ecocentro de Ciertos Habitantes, Claudio intends to merge the transformative powers of theatre and performance arts with Environmental Conservation and sustainable development in a rural community within the Great Water Forest in Mexico.

Further information:

Image: Ciertos Habitantes Ecocenter Design, courtesy of Arq. Jorge Calvillo

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