Pina Piccolo: Please tell us about your background, activity and projects as videomakers in Chile: do you have a specific area you concentrate on?
Enzo Diego Borlando Hipp: I studied Audiovisual Communication in Santiago de Chile. In 2013, I did my internship in “Cine Sur”, a cameras, lighting and film supports rental shop. There I had my first contacts with the Chilean cinematographic industry. I started working as a specialized electrician on a movie.
That same year I began my studies as a camera assistant, I attended a special workshop set up by the SINTECI, (the Chilean Cinema Trade Union). I pursued a career in the film industry as a Grip and camera assistant from 2013 to 2019 and participated in different audiovisual works, more than 8 movies, 4 television series, 4 documentaries, short films and advertising spots.
ConcurrentIy, I developed my own work as an audiovisual director, making my own productions, such as music videos and promotional videos for artists. I also studied film scriptwriting at the University of Chile.
In addition, I have pursued a career as a self-taught photographer, doing digital and analog photography in 35mm. I organized an analog photographic exhibition on the Q’eros people, the last living Inka people, who are considered a world heritage.
I feel that with time my interest has focused on the documentary area, especially in the cultural rescue of native peoples. I feel that in these times it is extremely important to reconnect with their millenary wisdoms.
PP: Can you tell about your experience with the Mapuches?
EDBH: We have had the opportunity to interact with different communities in Wallmapu, such as the Trangol community in Victoria and the Juan Paillalef community in Cunco. We have been invited to participate in their festivities, as wetripantu, Mapuche New Year and also Guillatún, rite of connection with the Ñuke Mapu (Mother Earth). We thank the Peñis and Lagmien for opening their doors to us, for sharing their wisdom, giving us shelter, sharing food and maté around the fire. There are communities that are in a passive situation and others that have constant problems of terrorism exercised by the State of Chile. For example, this year we witnessed how an electric company, with a large contingent of special police forces, violently broke into the Juan Paillalef community, in order to set up an illegal electric installation. It was devastating to see a large number of old-growth, native trees, some of them millenary, cut down on a road that was also illegally built, by force and violence, all inside land that belonged to the community. This ended with the illegal detention of Lonko Juana Calfunao. We have an audiovisual record of that day, soon we will publish it. (it will be releases by our Company, Chungungo Films composed of Enzo Diego Borlando Hipp, and Daniela Sofía Santis Feddersen and Claudio Poblete).
Currently the Mapuches are asking for recognition of their autonomy from the Chilean State, because they are not Chilean, they have another way of seeing life, a totally different cosmovision, they relate to the earth in another way, in a sacred way. Mapuches have their own territory, which has been historically taken away through colonialism. I remember that while we shared mate in the Ruka, a Peñi told us that what is fundamental for them is nature, “it is the foundation stone, if we act from nature everything will be fine, if our relationship with nature is in balance, we will be in balance with everything. If we have love for nature, we will have love for everything and everyone.” Their cosmovision and how they coexist with the Ñuke Mapu (Mother Earth) is very beautiful.
PP: What made you decide to come to Berlin?
EDBH: We decided to leave Chile because it is very difficult to live there. The basic cost of living is very expensive; the costs of housing, food, health, among others. On the other hand, in Chile art and culture is not appreciated, State support for the arts is constantly decreasing, this year there has been a reduction in the state budget for art and culture. Also the cost to access culture is very high. For these reasons and added to the fact that we have European passports because of our ancestry, we decided to come to Berlin, a city where art and culture are highly valued. We were also motivated by the support that exists on the part of the State in education, health, housing and basic services. Another important point is the culture of respect that exists here, without a doubt very distant from what is experienced in Chile.
Our long-term plan is to generate projects to be financed here in Germany and then develop them in Latin America.
PP: Did you participate in the different protest activities in Chile over the past years?
EDBH: Yes, we’ve been involved since the explosion of the student movement in 2006. We also participated in mobilizations related to the opposition to the HidroAysén project and other projects that sought and seek to exploit natural resources disproportionately, regardless of collateral damage. We have also taken part in several feminist protests. In terms of demonstrations and protests, the history of Chile is full of these, most of them have been started by the students and have received great support from citizens. Paradoxically, the state has always responded with violence.
PP: Can you talk about the situation in Chile and the various stages that have culminated in the latest uprisings and the reaction from the State?
EDBH: : Chile’s history has been marked by social inequality, protests and social uprisings. Chile is one of the richest and most unequal countries in Latin America. With the neoliberal model implemented by Pinochet in 1975, the market invades everything, pensions, access to water, nature. Miserable pensions, very low salaries, the most expensive higher education in Latin America, health care and water are privatized.
After the victory of the No in the 1988 national plebiscite, everyone believed that change was imminent, today we realize that everything remains the same, what we are experiencing in Chile is a dictatorship dressed up as democracy.
The State continues to act in the same way, with violence, the people are demanding dignity and the State responds with violence, killings, tortures, disappearances. According to the National Institute of Human Rights, 2,808 people were injured and had to be hospitalized; 241 people with eye injuries. More than 8,168 people were arrested.
The overall picture is very similar to the dictatorship, the state continues to criminalize protests and social movements. State terrorism against the Chilean and native peoples still exists today, and the police continue to act with impunity.
We believe that currently we are at a point of no return, things have to change, people are tired that after 30 years everything remains the same. The system is obsolete, it is time to change the paradigm. It is time to listen to the native peoples and reconnect with those ancestral wisdoms, it is time to coexist again with the earth. It is our duty to modify the way we are living.
PP: How do you think the current situation differs from the Pinochet years?
EDBH: : “We are the children/grandchildren of those who you couldn’t kill.” Personally speaking. I, Enzo, am the grandson of a tortured political prisoner, as well as the nephew of a tortured political prisoner. I feel that at a political level very few things have changed since the dictatorship; for example, Chile still maintains the constitution that was made during the dictatorship.
The media continues to twist information and even manufactures montage, fake videos. The police continues torturing, killing and disappearing innocent people. The economy continues to benefit the same people as always, the richest. The pension systems continue to rob citizens.
The difference is that we are in another era where people are not afraid to demand their rights and we have a very powerful weapon; technology, many people have cell phones and this is an important element that has helped to make all human rights violations committed in recent times visible, it has even helped as evidence when reporting a crime.
Also in these times, information moves at a different speed, it is immediate. We are hyper-connected, so information can reach everyone in a matter of seconds, this has contributed to generate greater international influence. It is also a nice way to deliver messages of support and send good energy to those who are being abused.
PP: How do you think the uprisings in Chile relate to the protests and rebellions going on in Haiti, Honduras, Colombia, Bolivia, Lebanon and other parts of the world?
EDBH: We feel that the Chilean uprising is very important for Latin America and the world, because Chile has been a guinea pig for the US with respect to neoliberalism. In Chile where it all began, the U.S. trained the Chicago boys to implement the model in there.
Today, it is being demonstrated that this system is obsolete; we can no longer continue with this paradigm. It began in Chile and it is ending in Chile. History is cyclical.
On the other hand, all the countries mentioned have problems with the distribution of resources. Their governments have privatized most of their natural resources. Private industries are above the law and the State.
PP: Did you connect with the Chilean community in Berlin immediately or after the latest demonstrations began? Can you tell us how the Latin American community reacted at the news of the repression in Chile?
EDBH: We connected right away, there are Chileans all over the world and most of them are very friendly, even more so when they are far away from their country. We met several Chileans right away. After the demonstrations our unity became even stronger, activities were started in support of Chile, Wallmapu and Latin America.
Initially, the first emotions were anguish, grief, anxiety. Being far away feels very frustrating, generates a lot of impotence. Especially as we found out the magnitude of the violence exercised by the State: we have friends and family who have been injured by the police, for the simple fact of exercising their rights to protest.
All these emotions have been channeled through the creation of support groups, councils, demonstrations, artistic expressions, in order to make visible what is happening and provide support to the people of Chile.
We all share that pain in our heart that comes from being far away and witnessing how they attack our people, our sisters, our brothers, how they kill our friends.
Being far away generates impotence, for the same reason we have all united for a common cause, to support Chile, to make international pressure, to support each other, to send Newen and a lot of love!
PP: How did people come up with the idea to paint murals in support of the demonstration in Chile?
EDBH: It was created with the intention of giving visibility to the support for Chilean people. A group of graffiti artists, most of them Chilean, invited everyone who wished to join them to collaborate in a day of painting, it didn’t matter if you had knowledge of graffiti or murales painting. We then interviewed them about why they had decided to participate in the solidarity event.
The day of painting took place in a well known public park, the Mauerpark in Berlin, a community space full of tourists and other people who use it regularly. This call to paint has been repeated every Sunday.
PP: Can you tell us about the different projects paying tribute to the dog that participated in the demonstrations?
EDBH: The Negro Matapacos is a dog that became famous in the context of the 2010 student marches in Chile. Even though he had a home, the black dog always went out to all the demonstrations in Santiago. He was even seen frequently inside universities. The students were the ones who put bandanas on his neck, the most iconic being the red one.
In the protests the Negro was always in the front line, fighting against the police. There are videos and photos where you can see the negro attacking the police, that’s why his name , “Negro Mata Paco”, or Black Cop-Killer.
Today the Black is a symbol of revolution and fighting. He has been honored in different countries, they have created paintings of him, posters, murals, even put a red bandana on the statue of the dog “Hachiko” in Japan, as well as on the statue of the legendary dog “Balto” in Central Park, in NYC. The sticker of the Negro Matapacos even made its appearance in the massive ‘fare evasions’ of November 1 in the NYC subway.
PP: What are your current and future projects to support the resistance in Chile?
EDBH: We are currently editing a video about a replica of the performance created by the feminist collective “Lastesis” from Santiago de Chile, which took place in Berlin. This performance denounces abuse and violence against women. Here are some scenes from the performance which took place in the Fridays For Future demonstration in Berlin as well as an interview with Chilean participants.
We are also preparing to show our audiovisual work in the exhibition “Chile Resuena”, which will take place in two weeks. It is an exportable, multidisciplinary exhibition.
We are open to collaborate in audiovisual or visual projects. It is the grain of sand we can contribute.
We are also actively participating in all the instances of meetings and dialog taking place in civil society. supporting one another and sending a lot of love to Chile and to all places where human rights are being violated. We firmly believe that these are times to act collectively.
For more information, you can reach us at our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/chungungofilms/ and check out our YouTube channel for our most recent additions.
The Dreaming Machine thanks Irene De Matteis for introducing these creative video makers to the journal and helping with the interview.