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Letter for Buen Vivir

April 1, 2021
–April 30, 2021

Etcétera Collective, Letter For Buen Vivir, 2019. Video, stereo, colour, 2′49″.

Etcétera Collective and THE MUSEUM OF NEO-EXTRACTIVISM (MNE)* presented a Letter For Buen Vivir (Good Living) at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. This live intervention was held in 2019, one year before the pandemic and the mutations of the COVID19 virus transformed the lives of societies around the world. Two directors of The MNE delivered this letter along with a petition to members of the United Nations Assembly and several departments in the building. The letter is written in the voice of Original Corn and the video is a summary of the 2019 action.

Formed in 1997 in Buenos Aires, Etcétera is a multidisciplinary collective composed of visual artists, poets, and performers. Since 2007 it has been led by co-founders Loreto Garín Guzmán (Chile) and Federico Zukerfeld (Argentina). In 2005, they were part of the founding of the International Errorist Movement, an international organization that proclaims error as a philosophy of life. In addition to participating in exhibitions in museums and biennials such as the biennials of Jakarta (2015), São Paulo (2014), Athens (2013), Istanbul (2009), and Taipei (2008), they often work with street-art, public interventions, actions, and performances that are necessarily contextual, ephemeral, and circumstantial. In 2015, they received the Prince Claus Award in the Netherlands. From 2020-2022 Etcétera is the Boris Lurie Fellow, at the Vera List Center, The New School with their fellowship project, NEO-EXTRA-ACTIVISM, Protocols for Buen Vivir. Their work has been recognized for its denouncement of human rights and environmental abuses through theatrical and poetic actions and statements often exercised at personal risk.

* THE MUSEUM OF NEO-EXTRACTIVISM (MNE) is a nomadic project that takes diverse formats based on the spaces, institutions and contexts it travels to. It arose from Etcétera collective’s research on the so-called neo-extractivist model, its socio-environmental impact and the violations of human rights and those of other species. The Museum of Neo-Extractivism, works as a parody of a museum, mixing aesthetics of art, ethnographic and science museums. The MNE includes research, public interventions, exhibitions, publications, speeches, videos, interviews, and the creation of a collection.


Geneva, Switzerland, May 2019.

Representatives of the United Nations

In front of you, we are delivering this letter in which we ask that our rights be respected: human rights, the rights of other animal and plant species, bacteria and all living organisms that are part of the earth.

We ask that the friendship between farmers, Natives and plants be respected, for the protection of our and your species. Without us you do not exist, without food sovereignty friendship between nations is impossible.

By turning us into transgenic plant-life and spraying us with pesticides, the bees will not survive. With glyphosate, it’s not just us who will mutate, you humans will be full of deformities, your stomachs will explode, your energy will be depleted, your minds will be more docile than today.

We, Original Corn, are against the criminalization of humans who help our species, enough of prohibitive laws, we are plants, free, original, diverse, our crops are free; respect article 21 voted by this human organism.

As long as there are humans moving away from anthropocentrism, we will continue to germinate. In each one who decides to protect us, in each wind that disperses our seeds, in each farmer who decides to cultivate us.

The earth is ours, but it is humans who cultivate it.


Genève, Suisse, Mai 2019.

Représentants des Nations Unies

Devant vous, nous remettons cette lettre dans laquelle nous demandons que nos droits soient respectés: les droits humains, des autres espèces animales, végétales, les bactéries et tous les organismes vivants qui faisons partie de la terre.

Nous demandons que soit respectée l’amitié entre paysans, indigènes et végétaux, pour la sauvegarde de notre et votre espèces. Sans nous, vous n’existez pas, sans la souveraineté alimentaire l’amitié entre les nations est impossible. En nous convertissant au transgénique et en nous arrosant de pesticides, les abeilles ne survivront pas. Avec le glyphosate, ce n’est pas seulement nous qui muterons, vous autres, humains, serez plein de malformations, vos estomacs exploseront, votre énergie s’épuisera, vos esprits seront plus dociles encore qu’aujourd’hui.

Nous, Maïs originaux, nous sommes contre la criminalisation des humains qui aident notre espèce, basta de lois prohibitives, nous sommes des végétaux, libres, originaux, divers, nos semailles sont libres; respectent l’article 21 voté par cet organisme humain.

Chaque fois qu’il y aura des humains errant de l’anthropocentrisme, nous poursuivrons notre germination. Dans chacun qui décide de nous protéger, dans chaque vent qui disperse nos graines, dans chaque paysan qui décide de nous cultiver.

La terre est notre, mais ce sont les humains qui la cultivent.

Past Shift Key Programmes

A still from Cecilia Vicuña "Paracas" (1983)
Cecilia Vicuña
A Still from Cauleen Smith "Pilgrim" (2017)
Cauleen Smith
Mona Hatoum
Aura Satz
Preemptive Listening (Part 1: The Fork in the Road)