Alegría (2012)

An edible installation incorporating history and nourishment through a visual-poetic synthesis of literature from the Spanish conquest in Mexico. Extracting symbology about gold and amaranth (two goods that suffered from colonization), the project draws physical and conceptual parallels between the two materials.

Amaranth, a little-known crop of the Americas, is grown either as a grain crop or as a leafy vegetable. Despite its obscurity, it offers important promise for feeding the world’s hungry. Amaranth was interwoven with legend and ritual in Mexico. On various days of the religious calendar, Aztec women ground the seed, mixed it with honey or with human blood, and shaped it into forms of snakes, birds, mountain, deer, and gods that were eaten either during ceremonies at the great temples or in little family gatherings. Apparently, this issue of amaranth in pagan rituals and human sacrifice shocked the Spanish conquistadors, and with the collapse of Indian cultures following the conquest, amaranth fell into disuse.

The sculptures are made using original wood molds from Mexico’s most important gold mine (Dos Estrellas, Tlalpujahua, Michoacán) during the beginning of the 20th century. The sculptures are prepared live, arranged into multiple spatial configurations, then offered as nourishment to the public, disappearing into their stomachs by the end of the exhibition. Inside the sculptures were excerpts from “The Mexican Dream” by J.-M. G. Le Clezio, an anthropologic text related to the Spanish conquest in Mexico that beautifully tells the symbology associated with gold.

2012
Part of the duo exhibition “The Other Gold” with Jessica de Boer (Holland), presented by Stroom Den Haag (Holland) and the Rivas Mercado Foundation (Mexico) at Dos Estrellas Museum, Tlalpujahua, Michoacán, and ATEA Gallery, Mexico City.

2015
Presented at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space.