Colombian National Army Shirt, fresh nettle, thread and needle

110 x 90 cm and 2:56


Nettle, or urtica dioica, is a plant whose leaves and stems are covered with brittle tips that break when they come into contact with another surface. When this happens, the nettles transfer histamine and formic acid from the plant body to another body. Through this exchange, the nettle begins to inhabit us.

On a used Colombian National Army uniform shirt, one by one I sew a layer of fresh nettle leaves. As the nettle gradually covers the military camouflage with another camouflage, the formic acid and histamine released by the plant enter the shirt and my hand simultaneously, producing a prolonged stinging sensation that numbs my skin. The dialogue between these three skins continues for days as my hands break down the chemical compounds and the nettle leaves mimic the fabric and dry out.

As a ritual action, Arde investigates nettle as a somatic technology and draws inspiration from the cosmovision of several indigenous Andean-Amazonian communities of Abya Ayala, for whom the plant is an important tool of internal rectification used as a means of detoxification, revitalization, and somatic learning.

Arde seeks to complexify the relationships between jungle territories and war, environments where beings with diverse realities and cosmovisions coexist, including indigenous communities and farmers, armed agents from different sides, and thousands of more-than-humans who witness the conflict. It also alludes to the numbness or emotional anesthesia that arises as a result of war and to the possibilities of transmutation.

Presented in the framework of Corporea festival de performance de Zacatecas, Oaxaca, Mexico

Curated by Diana Buitrón and Lorena Tábares

Metaprotesting Metaprotesting Metaprotesting Metaprotesting
Metaprotesting Metaprotesting Metaprotesting Metaprotesting

Becoming Anti-Monuments –  Staying with the Wonder –  geolistening shelter –  What do Snails Think About Nuclear Power Plants? –  Fictions / Facts –  Environmental Matrix –  If You Listen to Nettles, They Won’t Sting You –  Das Zentrum von Gestern –  Intersecting Mediterranean(s) –  Cuerpo Colectivo –  The Land of Thunder and Lightning  –  Aqualiteracies –  Reset (Quimérico) –  Babel Media Art –  ERROR 14-92 –  Who? Where? –  Ciudad Anfibia –  Beyond the Döner –  How high? –  1m² Parque la Independencia –  Papel Soberano –  Unitedstater –  A Picture with a Latina –  Public Complaint Office –  Wiping Out My National Identity