Emilija Škarnulytė: Æqualia

Centro de Cultura Digital


March 12-24


Centro de Cultura Digital

Time: museum hours

Admission: with museum entrance

This video follows Emilija Škarnulytė as she embodies the mermaid Æqualia and swims through the Encontro das Águas in Manaus, Brazil, where the Rio Solimões and Rio Negro meet and give rise to the Amazon River. The white waters of the Solimões River, rich in clay from the High Andes and originating from glacial melt, meet the heavy black waters of the Negro River, carrying the decomposition of the lowland rainforests. The marked difference in temperature and composition makes the two rivers different in color, temperature and chemical profile for a stretch of six kilometers. When they finally come together in a fractal spiral, they merge in an infinitely complex way, both scientifically and mythologically.

The river basin is home to the Amazon pink dolphins, known locally as botos. The dolphins use their finely tuned sense of echolocation to navigate both the cooler waters of the Solimões River and the warm, opaque waters of the Negro River, moving between the two with ease. Gliding alongside the botos, the artist exists in her chimera form, navigating the intersection of multiple realms. As a force as vibrant as the merging of rivers, she presents a vision of the fluidity of species and the scale of humans’ relationship with nature.

In October 2023, a year after the end of the filming of Æqualia, the Encontro das Águas dried up due to excessive droughts that led to the massive death of the botos. Through his incarnation as a posthuman creature, Škarnulytė highlights the repercussions of human arrogance and the limits of our species.

Written and directed by: Emilija Škarnulytė; Editing: Vytautas Tinteris; Composers: Jokūbas Čižikas, Vivian Caccuri, Thiago Lanis, Savio de Queiroz; Sound mixing and mastering: Savio De Queiroz; Drone pilot: Bruno Hayden Barreto; Underwater camera: Michael Dantas; Swimmer: Emilija Škarnulytė; Production: Mirror Matter Productions.

Æqualia was a joint commission by Canal Projects and the 14th Gwangju Biennale thanks to the support of the Canal Projects Board of Directors and Advisory Board, the YS Kim Foundation and the Gwangju Biennale Foundation.

more info here

Photo: Emilija Škarnulytė: Æqualia, 2023