Serpent River Book

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height: 31cm
width: 22cm
depth: 3.5cm

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Serpent River Book is an artist book with pages that pleat and fold outwards to resemble a meandering river across the gallery space. It comprises texts, photographs, maps and archival material gathered during Caycedo’s ongoing research project, Be Dammed, which examines the social and environmental effects of damming practices in Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico.

Serpent River Book is divided into five chapters that mirror the different parts of a river. The first two chapters represent the river’s upper course and explore indigenous epistemology and Amazonian ways of seeing, knowing, and relating to rivers. They depict a harmonious relationship between humans and nature and focus on low-impact, artisanal mining and fishing activity.

The middle and lower courses disrupt the equilibrium depicted in the previous chapters. Photographs of colossal concrete structures, bursting dams, and barren land show the effects of a corporate, neo-colonial understanding of the natural environment and stand in stark contrast to the images of lush nature and roaring rivers of the upper course.

Caycedo’s piece can be folded and read in several directions, providing multiple narratives and a multiplicity of perspectives. The book’s upper side consists mainly of photographs and images and functions as a visual essay, whilst its other side features archival texts, short essays, and poetry.

Diego Chocano

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