Colombian National Army Shirt, fresh nettle, thread and needle


In the ritual~action Arde, I investigate the nettle as a somatic technology of regeneration and witness to decades of armed conflict.

Nettle, or urtica dioica, is a plant whose leaves and stems are covered with brittle tips that break upon contact with another surface. After the breakage of these tips, nettles transfer histamine and formic acid from one plant body to another. In this way and with this exchange, the nettle begins to inhabit us.

In some Andean-Amazonian territories, nettles are understood as non-binary tools that simultaneously cross thresholds of pain, revitalization and purification. Under these understandings and in compensation for the impunity and delay of the judicial system in regions where the State has not been, nettles are often used to detoxify the energy of those who committed the crime, thus, they are used as tools of internal justice.

In the process in which the nettle covers the military camouflage with another plant-based camouflage, the folic acid and histamine released by the plant simultaneously enter the shirt and my hand, producing a sensation of prolonged electricity that numbs my skin. The dialogue between the three skins, which simultaneously includes burning, numbness and regeneration, continues for days as my hands process the chemical compounds and the nettle leaves mimic the fabric and dry.

Among the various interpretations, the piece alludes to the numbness or emotional anesthesia that arises in the aftermath of war, one of the most silent but harsh consequences of the exposure to a prolonged conflict, and highlights the value of reparation processes such as the Truth Commission, a report which gathered various direct testimonies which was published the same month in which the action took place.

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

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