Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Intertwining volcanoes and society in Chile through arts and interdisciplinary connections

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The separation between nature and society, of concern within social science and interdisciplinary discussions, has generated a division that often characterizes the way communities perceive their environment. The arts have played an important role in demonstrating the entanglement of Earth and society through their ability to frame and shape the dynamics of the Earth across sensations. This has been achieved through various explorations of the artistic language, delving into colors, shapes, sizes, compositions, and more. However, the capacity for art to play this role is often underestimated. Through an examination of artistic representations in Chile, we seek to show how the proximity of Chilean society to the presence of volcanoes has been eloquently conveyed through various artistic styles throughout different historical epochs. Our study extends from the birth of the Chilean nation in 1818 to 2021, and examines a wide range of artistic representations, that encompass national symbols, image-making techniques, sculpture, art installations, poetry, music, and audiovisual works. Our research represents a pioneering effort to explore the diverse representations of volcanoes in Chile and has uncovered a remarkable diversity of artistic expressions that reflects the deep connection between Chilean society and volcanic processes and landscapes. Ever-present and often breathtaking, volcanoes have served as enduring symbols of national identity and as sources of inspiration for artists of diverse disciplines and aesthetic sensibilities. We show how the arts reveal the relationship between volcanoes and human social life, and we provide the basis for a detailed analysis that explores the temporal and spatial contexts and evolution of the representations of volcanoes presented and the human perception of geological phenomena in Chilean culture.