Please, introduce yourself and your artistic practice. Where and when do you work/create?
I was born in Colombia, and grew up in some working class neighborhoods. I think that this has taught me about solidarity, to resist and survive. I have migrated and worked in different places in Latin America and I currently live in Barcelona. I like my work pieces to be spaces of encounter and collaboration. That's why I like to weave and embroider with more people. Somehow, this creates altered states of consciousness where words become softer and honest.
With the pandemic I have put a lot of my energy in managing meetings, to think and discuss crossings between art and other realities – more than producing art itself. It has been a revitalizing pause – to ask myself why and how to make art in this dystopian reality and to imagine how to germinate alternative presents.
Most of the time, when I get involved in a project, I start a path of obsessions that give me pleasure because they allow me to make connections between thoughts that might seem unconnected. For several years, I have been thinking about migration as a product of colonial violence, and about its permanent updates, especially in the territories of what we know as Latin America. In the last two years I have started to think about other great migratory flows such as the overexploitation of natural resources in ex-colonies for the enrichment of the global north, and about migratory flows not regulated by human agencies: bacteria, birds, insects, cetaceans, etc., and I have started to wonder what we have in common.
This has taken me to research on geomagnetism, magnetoception, certain minerals and their relationship with our body. This has evolved into a study on ways of communication between non-human migrant communities on the one hand and on the human body as an ecosystem on the other, as well as the relation between bodily metabolic fluxes (what we eat > where it comes from, how and what happens in the body with it > for example, with our bacterial colonies -which sustain our life- ❤️ ) and sociometabolic chains (the flows of human agencies appropriating materials, energy and other non-human and environmental living beings). This way of thinking about the living and its interdependencies has allowed me to make crossings between western scientific material and Amazonian Andean indigenous thought, and from there, the materials with which I am working have been taking on new meanings.
I spend a lot of time studying and talking about what I study and eventually all that compost, which looks like chaos, takes shape from writings, drawings and experiments on my desk, kitchen, computer, garden, etc.
What mode of education was the one that made an impact on you the most? (within or outside official institutions)
The methodology of sharing knowledge that has marked me the most is collaborative weaving, a way of sharing worldviews through practical craft and knowledge of the body. As a Colombian and as a weaver, I think particularly of the communal spaces where people gather to make testimonial textiles as a way to build memory and dignity from the pain of people who have suffered victimizing acts and a way to learn about the non-hegemonic histories of the country, the geography of violence, of extractivist processes and of the permanent updating of the colonial order in the territory.
How do you feel about collaborations and collectivity in the changed circumstances of limited possibilities of getting together?
We have had to invent new ways to generate collective spaces. In my case it meant that I had to put certain things on hold, and along the way I have found other possibilities and ways of doing things such as starting dialogues more easily with people in other latitudes or naturalizing the need to make virtual pedagogical and collectivization tools more complex and to relate to the virtual world in more critical ways. I believe that the fact that so much of our lives have been virtualized has made it clear that we need to emancipate the Internet so that it can once again become a technology for sharing among peers and not another mine for extracting resources and information for the market. Although, of course, it continues to be a privileged tool that still leaves out a large part of the population in the South that does not have access or simply does not want to be part of this subgroup of people who solve everything online. For those of us who have made this resource such a big part of our daily lives, it is now very clear how important it is to strengthen ways of getting together, even when we are physically far away, assuming the limitations.
How do you see the issue of artistic productivity in times of the pandemic?
The pandemic is not experienced in the same way in all territories, there is a geopolitic of the pandemic and of sanitation that implies different difficulties that make the request for productivity even more absurd in places where the pandemic has limited, even more the basic resources for the dignity of lives. I think that this contingency has further evidenced the immense distances between the South and the North, the magnitude of the colonial damage in our territories and the violence that actualizes it daily. I think that while the system and the machinery of art ignore this, it will eventually become unsustainable. I believe that artistic practice must be willing to reflect deeply on the brutal complexity of this moment.
Which art work(s) do you come back to or keep in mind?
I think of Erika Diettes' Reliquaries as a piece that has been able to integrate the work with the communities it concerns in a respectful and sensitive way, a piece that takes time, distance, silence and listening in a context as stark as the Colombian one.
I also think of the work NA MUY PIRØ WAN WØTØTRANTRAP SRØTØPA (Recovering the land to recover everything) by Julieth Morales, artist of the Misak people, who reminds us of the millenary resistance and determination of her people in the face of territorial and colonial occupation (at the hands, first by the Spanish and “criollos” in colonial times, then replaced by landowning families since the beginning of the 20th century and later by armed groups since the second half of the 20th century) and who continue to maintain their dignity and their memory.
And I always think of the work of the seamstresses of memory throughout Colombia, as a space of vindication of the dignity of sustaining memory and life through community textile construction.
What would you wish for the post pandemic art world?
neither fine nor apolitical.
Critical and combative.”
National strike in Colombia, Bogotá, 2021. Credits Internet.