Preparing for my journey1, and for some years now I have been documenting and archiving stories from my family in Peru who first migrated internally from the Andes to the capitol of Lima.
In recent years three close relatives have passed away, my grandfather from mother side (2007), both my grandparents from father side (2019-2020).
I have documented their stories through photos, videos, recordings, WhatsApp audio from other relatives talking about them, and also, the rituals concerning their death. Funerals, wakes, altars prepared by the family, monthly family gatherings, etc.
My project fosters the construction of stories/history from proximity instead of academic distance, considering affective bonds as places with relevant meaning rewriting history into affective histories.
Memory is not linear and parting from a feminist perspective, the goal of this rewriting could be to reinvent the archive, disarray every fragment and remove them from the boxes where they were assigned to be.
In this way, parting from these new compositions and collages made from my archives I want to address issues such as migration, loss, cultural resistance and ability to adapt, transform and syncretize. Motherhood, radical care, community based socio economic structure.
The loss of life, the precariousness of life in the global south, where bodies and territories are being destroyed due to colonization, climate change, capitalism, exploitation and extractivism for a long time forcing massive migration to the global north.
The loss of part of our memories that now only exist in our re-writing.
I have presented part of the archive in different forms: Live sound collage, installations, and video screening.
- The idea of migrating has been present for several years and I take those years as preparation.
I- Fiestas funerarias (Funeral festivities), 2011 – part of “Calandria de Fuego, creadores contemporáneos en diálogo con Arguedas”
Feria del Libro de Lima, 2011
This exhibition was an homage to the life of Jose Maria Arguedas (18 January 1911 – 2 December 1969), peruvian was a Peruvian novelist, poet, and anthropologist. Arguedas is especially recognized for his intimate portrayals of indigenous Andean culture. Key in his desire to depict indigenous expression and perspective more authentically was his creation of a new language that blended Spanish and Quechua and premiered in his debut novel Yawar Fiesta. (Wikipedia)
Calandria de Fuego was a project curated by Luz Vargas de la Vega and Cesar Adrián Romero, with the support of cultural worker anthropologist Cesar Ramos Aldana.
I made ritual plates with images from family funerals and graveyards from my family’s town. I used the plastic colorful plates that my family produces and sales. I took these elements as a way to reflect on what is proper, valuable, good taste, in an art space and, at the same time, bring the objects that are part of my family’s process to overcome precariousness.
Texto que acompaña la instalación
“La muerte y el dolor fueron colmados de sentido, valor identitario y belleza gracias a Arguedas durante la ejecución de esta fiesta funeraria, homenaje al transito por los paisajes espinosos del duelo y la pérdida, sin miedo, armados hasta los huesos de comida y de alcohol”
Text next to the installation
“Death and pain were filled with meaning, identity value and beauty thanks to Arguedas along the execution of this funeral festival; a tribute to the transit through the thorny landscapes of mourning and loss. Without fear, armed to the bone with food and alcohol”
For the vernissage I prepared a shared meal for the visitors. With the help of my grandmother and aunt Valentina I prepared Chupe Verde and also calientito, a soup and warm beverage that are traditionally served at the velorio (wake) of central andean families. In the andes this process used to last seven days but now on the city it can last up to three days. During the velorio the family and friends come to visit and express their condolences, the family serve food and beverages, like calientito, a beverage that contains caña alcohol, honey and lemmon. By sharing stories, crying, laughing, celebrating, dancing, the mourning process becomes collective and slow paced.
Se vive, se bebe y se aprende!
Lux repartiendo pisco calientito, chinguirito de cana y yerbas, el ponche de habas, el brebaje reparador de tantos desvelos y apremios! aun le falta el caldito, las papitas con queso, las tanta guaguas, las rosquitas, pan de fiesta, para el camino como cuando todo termina y bajamos a la costa con el sonido de la banda llenando nuestros oidos y nuestro ser!!
Dedicado a todos los carguyocc y jellis!! porque somos hechura de los nuestros, de un pueblo que suma, que danza, que canta pero sobre todo que avanza!
somos materia dispuesta al llamado de la calandria!
Sumar para avanzar!
Cesar Ramos Aldana, 8 de agosto de 2011
II- OCCAM’S RAZOR – 2019 / Abrazo (Hug)
Platform Studios, Stockholm 2019
As part of the sound performance at Platform Studios, I presented a collage of sounds that included the sound recording from my granfather’s funeral. I worked with a coleague in Peru who recorded the ceremony in Lima. The impossibility of being with my family in this moment of grieve led me to recreate scenarios ,with sound and video, where I can hold them and help them process our loss.
As part of our tradition, we bring a loud homage to the relative who has passed away by saying their name out loud on the street outside their house. Also is usual to have music preferably with a traditional andean orchestra. Traditionally the men of the family carry the coffin around the belated person’s neighborhood while dancing and playing their favorite song as a way to say goodbye and help the person to cross to the other side.
I aimed to do this through the performance using different sounds recalling the life of my grandfather, a life that was filled with music, celebration, hardship and precariousness.
photos by: Jose Figueroa
This piece was presented at “OCCAM’S RAZOR: (COLLECTIVE PERFORMANCE WITH C/P/S)
Occam’s razor consisted in a two day event, one studio session at Platform studios, and one listening event at Eric Ericsson hallen in collaboration with Lumen Project
C / P / S, was led by artist Tarek Atoui, is a post-master course
within the research programme of Kungl. Konsthögskolan/
Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.
C / P / S is Alan Affichard, Ami Kohara, Igor Porte, Jeremiah Runnels,
Johanna Mårtensson, Julia Giertz and Rossana Mercado-Rojas, all
professional practitioners from areas such as music, visual arts, art history
and performing arts.