OAXACA . Earth Moves

THE DUEL. Between Resistance and Surrender (2017-2018)

“Oaxaca. Earth Moves” starts with the earthquake experienced while I was in Mexico in September 2017. The title refers to Husserl’s essay “Earth does not move”, where the German philosopher exposes the estrangement of European thought from the world of life, produced by a scientific idealization of nature. For Husserl, the Earth in its original and pre-scientific sense, is the Mother Ark, the base of all experiences of being in the world, the Myths and the Arts.

Amidst the turmoil of these old Zapotec lands, women repair and weave the natural loom of life, re-structuring their community and the everyday life. A life where myth and reality are intimately sewn together.

This is a project that also deals with our painful desire for permanence and its impossibility, our emotional attachment to all things material. We project the memory of our experiences -our personal history- onto physical things. The sensorial experience of the physical brings us memories and emotions which are associated with specific material ties, objects and places we might have experienced in the past. We are physical, we are memory.

An earthquake is the most abrupt event that destroys in an instant our illusory idea of permanence: people sleeping near their homes' rubbles, trying to keep up with improvised supports what is left of an impossible structure that is about to collapse.. the difficulty of letting things go. Broken objects impossible to repair. A “crystallized” personal history we are identified with. A need to be defined by objects, what we think we are.. a strong attachment to things that with so much effort and care we have built over time.

Regeneration and healing comes from accepting what is. Like in the myth of Mother Nature as a goddess, common to all cultures at the origin of times, that with fury brings terrifying destruction devouring men but is, at the same time, necessary for regeneration and continuation of life. As for those eyes, hands and soft heart described by Cortazar*, that must be cried and thrown away in order to be built again, renewed and reinvented. As for the scars of those buildings that one can see all over Mexico, survivors of those goddess' awakenings; the one who sleeps in the depths of the Earth and for centuries had challenged the enormous resilience and humanity of Mexican people. A story tattooed in the body, painful at times.

Beauty are apertures, momentary awakenings, in which we would like to remain, as described in Herman Hesse’s “My Belief”. A desire for elongating the existence of something precious we do not want it to end. The connection with a resounding Truth.

The use of Oaxaca’s local black clay was necessary. An extremely fragile material, original from pre-hispanic times, identity of a place, from the depths of “La Mina”. It expresses our very own human condition: the fragile line between existence and collapse, between danger and safety, our futile desire for permanence.

THE ALCHEMY (2019-2020) (This part of the project has been postponed due to COVID-19)

The second phase of the project, will follow the regenerative process, the transformation, the continuation of life. As for the project “Breeze from Calais”, the process becomes part of the project or, rather, the project itself. The fruits of my action are the fruits of the people who with altruism offered me the opportunity to make this work. Who trusted and believed in its significance.

Everything one offers, it returns, transformed, perhaps multiplied.

*Cortázar, Julio. “Para leer en forma interrogativa”. (“To read “have” at the beginning”. Literally: to read in interrogative). Poem from “Salvo el Crepúsculo”. Alfaguara S. A., Madrid. 1984.

You have seen,
you have truly seen
the snow, the stars, the plush steps of the breeze…

You have touched,
You have truly touched
The dish, the bread, the face of that woman you love so much…

You have lived
like a blow on the forehead,
the instant, the gasping, the setback, the scape…

You have known
with each pore of the skin, known
that your eyes, your hands, your sex, your soft heart,
had to be thrown away,
had to be mourned,
had to be invented once again