The Adventures of Chuchupe (2016-2021)

The street comedy play, Las Aventuras de Chuchupe (The Adventures of Chuchupe), is the result of the artistic research project Searching Power on the Collective Laugh.

This investigation researches the gold mining reality that the amazon region of Peru faces on a daily basis and attempts to use contemporary art access, tools and platforms to create a hypothesis that could provide solid input for a wider understanding of the backbone structure of the mining context.

The comedians, Jorge Santa Cruz, Victor Astete and Kelvin Cordova, worked alongside a team of three professionals from different disciplines (journalist and anthropologist, Gabriel Arriarán; biologist and conservationist, Antonio Fernandini; and educator and cultural manager specializing in Theatre for the Oppressed, Ricardo Galvez) on a mix of teatro foro (Forum theatre) methods, field work, academic research and street comedy strategies for a period of one year and three months.

The street comedy The Adventures of Chuchupe is the result of this process and it has been widely distributed in the streets and squares of the city of Lima and Puerto Maldonado (Peruvian jungle region).

The Adventures of Chuchupe – Synopsis

In The Adventures of Chuchupe, an informal miner tries to legalize his business, going through the demands that the Proceso de Formalización (Formalization process) puts upon him. The formalization process was started by the Peruvian government in 2014 and aims to legalize informal miners from all over the country in order to recover control over the mining areas and prevent the depredation and pollution that unregulated mining causes in the country.

Las Aventuras de Chuchupe suggests that the Peruvian state instrumentalized this pseudo formalization process as an attempt to validate the use of military force to eradicate the activity from the amazon area, later handing the land over to an international corporation dedicated to the extraction of oil. Illegal mining and informal mining are two different ways of referring to mining activity and they differ largely one from the other, but these differences are unknown to the average citizen. It is in this blurry misconception where the government finds potential for taking advantage of this confusion and reinforces the idea that all mining activity at small scale, is illegal.