Portals to the Andes

How do we think and feel about the Andes? In what ways do we understand, and cohabit with, the mountain chain? With these questions in mind, a few months ago, we departed on a book project that looks to the diverse ways in which the Andes is configured between human and nonhuman actors. We invited a group of artists, anthropologists, geologists, climbers and more, to work on a book that attempts to foreground the multiplicity of Andes. We called it Nosotros, los Andes.  

We worked closely with the contributors through a series of writing workshops, asking them to share their experiences and to think about how this book can become a portal for the multiple experiences that create the Andes. To do so, we invited the different authors to reflect on how their lives are entangled with mountains. 

For our first workshop, we engaged in a generative writing structure that aimed to bring contributors and ideas together, to create and exchange and introduce the authors and their perspectives to each other. We kept working on these exchanges through two more workshops where we read to each other and commented on aspects of the stories that we were reading and hearing. This allowed us to address the multiplicity of views, stories and ways of relating to the Andes that each contributor shared.  

While composing our collective text, we were witness to the variety of relationships and the diversity of experiences that root us to the land. We learnt how the Andes is made of sleeping lions, lagoons,  and stories; that the Andes are known through artistry, memory,  religion, and movement; that they are dangerous, transformational and beautiful. Each link of the mountain chain, each turn of the page allowed us, too, to become the Andes.  

The book will be available in Spanish as a free PDF on our website soon – watch this space! Contributors will receive special paperback copies as mementos of our textual conversations.