• 00:01 Science: looking behind the curtain
  • 04:55 A political reading of botany
  • 06:08 Musa paradisiaca
  • 09:38 Botany as a system of triangulation
  • 13:20 The historiography of the cinchona tree
  • 16:54 The first cure for malaria
  • 23:10 "Taxonomical Ambiguity", 2022
  • 29:25 Film as a research method. What the written essay does not allow
  • 45:45 Salvador Riso: from a key figure in the scientific project to a simple signature on the plates
  • 49:45 Science, language
  • 52:43 Latin names
  • 55:10 "Escuela de lenguas 'Sol negro'", 2020 and the dream of neutral Spanish
  • 62:40 From typography to language
  • 66:30 What is the correct language to talk about particular topics?
  • 72:20 Translation: recodification and displacement
  • 74:15 English as a lingua franca
  • 76:35 Reading a lot from everywhere
  • 80:40 A tiny nuclear reactor no one knows about
  • 83:50 An almost alien presence: serendipitous encounter and subsequent investigations
  • 86:00 Speculation
24/05/2023 69' 10''
Juan Arturo García, "Taxonomic Ambiguity", film still

Juan Arturo García (b. Mexico, 1988) works with video, installations, objects, essays and film to bolster and formalise intuitions and questions that would be omitted from other research spaces and methodologies, despite their rigor and relevance. He operates from a position of curiosity, intuition and questions without easy answers in a practice in which speculation dipped in data—or data sprinkled with speculation—fills in the cracks in the archives of the colonial project. 

A graphic designer by training, his interest in language led him to pay attention to translation, and what the word itself suggests: recoding, but also movement, displacement and circulation. With a particular interest in how the physical, bureaucratic and metaphorical organisation of languages determines their conditions of access, Juan Arturo García has looked at the design of neutral Spanish and at Carl Linnaeus’s system of taxonomy to highlight the ways in which language flirts with coloniality, exploitation, and epistemic extractivism.

In this podcast, we talk to Juan Arturo García about language and plants—or about how taxonomy overwrote one tradition of thought and replaced it with another, by way of Latin. Which is, paradoxically, a dead imperial language. We take a close look at his practice, concentrating on the role of speculation, fiction, and the archive in the way his stories come together. We talk about the emergence of neutral Spanish, and Juan Arturo tells us about the first stages of a film that explores the strange arrival of a nuclear reactor in Colombia around 1950.

Conversation: Anna Ramos. Script: Verónica Lahitte. Sound production: André Chêdas. Voice over: Verónica Lahitte.

In collaboration with Sonic Acts

Sounds: Juan Arturo García

Son[i]anon-humanglobal southneutral SpanishJuan Arturo GarcíaSonic Acts

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