It is said that during colonial times, in the Bolivian Andean Plateau, the colonisers were speaking of the Desaguadero river as diabolical, as an evil body of water. By calling the river ‘the Devil,’ they aimed at transforming it into a place to be avoided, destroyed, and extracted. The accumulation of centuries of continuous destruction and extractivism resulted in the ongoing desertification of the Desaguadero river; the transformation of its body from water to salt.
In The River and The Devil, addressing both the material and spiritual desertification of the river Desaguadero, Paula Almiron invites the audience into a choreographic reading space in which a circulation of words, sounds, gestures and objects embodies and imagines the ruins of this disappearing body of water. What kind of (life)forms can emerge in a ruin of salt? How can we collectively imagine the living world in an ongoing changing environment?
The River and The Devil is a semi-fictional choreography in which the Devil appears as the river’s guardian. Can we learn from the Devil’s force as a tool for resilience? Where did the Devil go now that water has gone?