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The Circus of Life  
Seaside performance awakens connection with nature
By Ana Ruiz Díaz Posted in Activism, Agriculture, Environment, Mexico, Regenerative Agriculture on March 14, 2019
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Dance of the Monarchs, BioLoco Circus

Review by Ana Ruiz
Photos by Tracy L. Barnett

ZIPOLITE, OAXACA – Nine actors emerge as bats, bees, butterflies and wild felines, pollinating and controlling crop pests as they weave a fabulous dance into the web of life. Monsanto suddenly steps onto the stage, depicted as a fat man with a briefcase and a sprayer, and the dynamics between two approaches to the procurement of human sustenance plays out before the eyes of a spellbound audience.

The brilliant 5th Edition of the BioLoco Circus by Chris Wells — with the waves of Oaxaca’s Costa Chica as a backdrop — explains this complex industrial phenomenon almost without a word, and each spectator adds his knowledge to its interpretation. The work is spectacular and highly amusing. In contrast, however, Mexico’s current reality with regard to its native corn is far from a joke.

Currently a national movement is growing to prevent transgenic corn from further contamination of native seeds and to stop seed saving from being criminalized. A goal of transnational corporations is to force farmers to buy seed each year, which prevents selection and saving of seed, basic to the food security of indigenous peoples and peasants who own less than five acres of land. Added to this, the USA’s GM corn is exported to Mexico, where it costs 800 pesos a ton; while in Mexico, farmers do not receive subsidies or credits, and must sell at 1,500 pesos per ton just to break even.  

Mexico and Central America are the center of origin for corn, the region where this plant was domesticated and resulted in dozens of cultures. For generations with loving care and selection of seeds during 9,000 years, it has been diversified into around 60 races and have obtained thousands of varieties that are the heritage of humanity. Genetically modified seeds and herbicides destroy biocultural diversity, which is essential for the survival of all species.

Native Mexican corn. Photo: Sam Fentress, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Fortunately, Mexicans are fiercely defending the native maize from genetic contamination in several ways; besides the BioLoco Circus,  and campesino maize fairs throughout the country, a class action lawsuit against transnational corporations has succeeded for five years in prohibiting the commercial planting of genetically modified (GM) maize. Now, with the entry of the new government of AMLO, corn defenders hope to make some progress, and stop the import of GM maize from United States. Currently, as the BioLoco Circus tells us, “…the tortillas that we eat every day come from transgenic maize, which has been imposed on us by the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA.” Indeed, scientists found genetically modified DNA in 90.4% of tortillas that were analyzed (González Ortega, et al, 2017).

Chris Wells, creator of the BioLoco Circus and the All Species Project, introduces the work with Jim Gollin, co-founder of the Angelica Foundation and member of Threshold Foundation, the event’s generous sponsor.

“But we can not forget ever that if we change the formulas of evolution, we change the web of life, and its collective memory” says the narrator.

The intricate functioning of DNA, the most basic element of life, is a delicate balancing act. 
The evil clown of Monsanto stuffs himself with junk food and guards his money….

With Bat Woman, Monsanto Man has met his match.

“Almost no one in Mexico is eating these Original Corns, and now with the herbicide sprayed fields, no one can eat the quelites, the 90 fresh greens of the Milpa cuisine. Half of your daily tortillas come from GMOs from Ohio, forced on us by NAFTA. Noticed how tasteless they are?” asks the narrator.

This work by Chris Wells is a melting pot of the natural order that makes each species and every variety of corn precious, because each is adapted to grow with the rainfall, temperature and soil specific to each location. 

“Hands, human hands, grow and harvest the tender ears of corn. It´s human hands who transformed the grass into corn & the corn into bread and tortillas.”

Elders of the Americas say that right here in the Mountains of Oaxaca was the first sprout of corn, the beginnings of Corn Culture, with almost 10,000 years of human evolution.

All the colors of diversity evolved together: Red, White, Yellow, Blue. The same colors of the Rainbow, in the DNA ladder and in the People.

Now over the surface of the Americas, of Mother Earth, is growing anew the Rainbow Warriors, the Peace Keepers, the Permacultural Missionaries…” 

Ana Ruiz Diaz has a PhD in Physical Anthropology and is an independent advisor on organic farming and permaculture. She is cofounder of the Vision Council (1991-2019) a network of natural therapists, artists, and ecologists. She has been collaborating with the class action lawsuit that has banned permits to sow transgenic corn in Mexico since September of 2013.         

As an act of collaborative love, Circo BioLoco.5 is written, produced & codirected by CAW / Chris A.Wells for All Species Projects/ Proyecto Criaturas Mexico with the good-humored & diligent collaboration of Circo Mermejita, and with musical coordination & grooves by the Mighty Quinn, L Luke + CaW. Coyote translation & Maiztro de Ceremonias Alberto Ruz Buenfil. Presented with support from the Threshold Foundation.

All Species Project BioLoco Circus Chris Wells corn GMOs maize Monsanto Threshold Foundation transgenics Vision Council

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  1. Excelente ~ Thanks so much for this in depth review ~ Worthy Photos & Up to date Info make it a lasting reference . May the Farce be with You !

  2. So poetically written, and artfully shot! The writing put some missing pieces of the contemporary corn struggles together for me. Thanks to all involved!
    I have just finished an English 16 min video, summarizing the days events. Any ideas on distribution are appreciated. Will talk with Chris about where to distribute..