Murky Evidence | Paulo Tavares

Because nature has become a central space to which cultural and political rights are bound, with increasing frequency and relevance, ecological systems tend to inhabit the courtrooms of national and trans-national forums as potential witness of legal violations. As the Earth enters in the legal arena, the scientific and documentary techniques employed to mediate its “testimony” appear as sites through which the construction of historical-political narratives are disputed. Following the histories inscribed in murky earth-samples extracted from the soils of an environmental disaster zone maps out the messy assemblages of scientific practices, ngo-advocay, international law and global geopolitics that gathers around nature. Animated by a legal court, organic-matter becomes vibrant and talkative entities whose opaque speech calls for a “radical universality” according to which human and non-human rights are mutually constitutive and interdependent.