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Elizabeth Gallón Droste

Image Credit: Elizabeth Gallón Droste

International Research Training Group 'Temporalities of Future in Latin America'

Dynamics of Aspiration and Anticipation

PhD Candidate

Project: "The Voices of the Atrato River: Navigating the Future through the Rivers of Gold"

Boltzmannstr. 4
14195 Berlin


Since 05/2019

PhD Candidate, International Research Training Group ‘Temporalities of Future’, Berlin

10/2016 – 02/2019

Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin (Prof. Dr. Stephanie Schütze & Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kummels) 

10/2010 – 09/2014

Bachelor of Arts in Media Culture at the Bauhaus University Weimar

 Work Experience

Since 05/2019

Researcher, International Research Training Group ‘Temporalities of Future’, Berlin

Since 2015

Producer at the Filmouflage Filmfestival

Since 08/2014

Producer and artist at Sinfonía Trópico: Art and Environment platform between Colombia and Germany

09/2018 – 04/2019

Student Assistant at the Collaborative Research Center: Affective Socities at the project “The Affective Creation of “Home””, directed by Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kummels 


Researcher for the Artwork: The Parthenon of Books, documenta 14/ Leaded by: Carolin Kim 

Project: "The Voices of the Atrato River: Navigating the Future through the Rivers of Gold"

Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kummels, Freie Universität Berlin

In 2016, Colombia’s Constitutional Court recognized the Atrato River in the Chocó region as a subject of rights by implementing bio-cultural rights to the river. This process resulted from a tutela action imposed by the communities (Afro-descendants and Indigenous people) inhabiting its banks, who attempted to protect the river from illegal gold mining and the mercury used in this process, as well as deforestation, violence, and the socio-environmental conflicts the exploitation of nature generates. The new law grants the river rights and recognizes “The Voices of the Atrato River” – a group of individuals – that are now the spokespersons for the Atrato.

This project researches the impacts of the legal recognition of the Atrato River as subject of rights in the social and cultural aspects of the people living on the Atrato’s banks, through the memories and emotions in dialogue with audiovisual media archives, photographs, films, as well as music – all understood as containers of life and the diverse temporalities coexisting alongside the river – through a visual anthropology perspective. The formation of new expectations and practices regarding the use, control and access to the Atrato in the wake of the Court’s ruling in favor of granting rights to the river opens up a set of questions regarding the transformations of the landscape, of what it was and of what will come, in how to recover the waters from the toxic mercury, the illegal mining and the socio-environmental conflicts that converge along its bank. This process of "productive nostalgia" to a better future in dialogue with what living in the banks of the river used to be, generates changes within the relations, perceptions and articulations of the “The Voices of the Atrato River” concerning their past and future, also affecting their cultural practices revolving around gold, mining, and the river. It also brings up a paradigm shift on how water and its cycles have historically been subjugated, thus revealing the diverse layers of temporalities, rhythms and cycles that coexist in the flow of the Atrato.

Consejo Nacional de Ciencia e Technologia
Banner Dahlem Research School