Waqay explores the latent threat of things disappearing. It seeks to evoke the loss of what is being erased as a result of time passing, colonization, destruction, climatic change, etc. This ongoing project is presented in Venice in the form of ritual-action in Campo San Pietro on Monday 18th of November 2019

Waqay in Quechua, means ‘Tear’, ‘To cry’, and ‘the musical timbre of instruments’- It’s common to say that when one plays an instrument you are making it “cry” or helping it bring its voice up to the surface)

As an interface, we have three replicas of pre-hispanic instruments called “Vasija Silbadora de Agua” (Whistling vessels or whistling water jars) due to its capacity of producing sound without a ‘human’ whistle or intention. This instrument could be seen as an amplification of water’s natural sound. The history line of this object has many blanks since its use was stopped after the Spanish conquest. There is no continuum.

At its first stages, this project sought to resurface the sound of water in Venice, almost lost due to the loudness of tourism, commerce, and visitors to the Bienalle. During these past days, nature and water have made their voice clear and loud, and we ought to adapt to the intensity of acqua alta (tides) and rain.

Ritual guide: Alexandra Nilsson (http://www.alexandranilsson.com)

instruments by: Dimitri Manga Chavez and Alfredo Najarro

Support in Venice: Rosario Sorbello and Elena Mazzi

Participant in Venice: Nicola Di Croce

Interviews in Perú: Gianfranco Solis

Video and sound: Handrez Garcia

Translator: Natalie Högström

“They are living objects. They are made to be activated. To sound. We would do wrong in leaving them in museums as still objects. History is a living thing. It is constantly reconstructed.”

– Dimitri Manga

“This is a whistling jar. Everyone calls it the astronaut because they think its a helmet. But it´s just a person inside a house. Archaeologists say it´s a representation. Another friend calls it the time-traveler. Everyone gives it their own name.” 

– Alfredo Najarro

Link to transcript of interviews


Interview with maestro Dimitri Manga
Interview with Maestro Alfredo Najarro

Water as an essential element, vital to ancestral cultures and rituals. Water being poisoned and privatized in the lands where these ancestral cultures come from. 

Water that nurtures the seeds that will later feed us and our children, water flowing through biodiversity, through life. Water, absent, by the destruction of our glaciers. Water controlled by migration international laws, using forecasting technology to deliberately send people to die at the sea. Water destroying lives in its path. Water flooding cities, cultures, history. 

Water we need, water we crave for. water we fear.