Glacier of El Plomo
Centro Cultural Palacio de La Moneda
Santiago de Chile, January-November 2006
The menstrual quipu began at the foot of the glacier and continued in the exhibition
"Del Otro Lado: Arte deMujeres en Chile."
I install a site specific version of the Menstrual Quipu: 28 streams of blood colored fleece. In the Andes, unspun wool is cosmic energy, pure potential.
Offended by the thick streams of wool, some artists in the show ask the curator to remove my work or diminish it in size “because it is too big” (although it fits exactly the space assigned). Echoing their request, the curator asks me to undo the piece and create a thinned out version. Outraged by this request, I wish to remove my work from the show, but then I see: the violence against the threads is the violence against the glaciers. In Chile, the subject of the glaciers, and the struggle against the Pascua Lama project have been completely removed from the press. Nobody mentions it, and I don’t see art about it. . . so I decide to stay, and create a “versión débil”, a “weak version”, a wounded quipu that tells the story of the censorship it endured.
Opening night. Michelle Bachelet doesn’t show up. The Minister of Culture, Paulina Urrutia comes instead. I give her a copy of the letter, telling her of my request to Michelle: “don’t sell the glaciers, water is gold.” She listens, and says, “yes, Michelle will come to see the show.” 20,000 copies of the poem with a red thread begin to be distributed. Most Chileans don’t know about El Niño del Plomo, or that he was found with a red thread. The red thread may be a symbol of union. The Incas conceived themselves, (the totality of their culture), as a quipu, seen from below, or from above, radiating a vision of the world from Cuzco into the four directions, all the way to the river Maule in the South of Chile. The work acquires a new name: “The Blood of the Glaciers.”
20,000 copies were printed with a red thread to be picked up by the public.
The Blood of the Glaciers
Street performance: I bring out the censored red fleece and place it in front of the government palace, pleading in silence to our President that she not sell our most precious heritage, the glaciers: “El ruego es el riego, el agua es el oro, Michelle, no vendas los glaciares.”
On election day
Picking up the poem
The blood of the glaciers
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