February 11, 2021
For almost fifty years, the policies that have ruled Chile since the 1973 military coup have remained more or less stable. Finally, between October 2019 and February 2020, a series of massive protest demonstrations took place across the entire country in what has become known as the “Estallido Social,” the Social Outbreak. On October 25, 2020, Chileans voted in favor of a new constitution.

Cecilia Vicuña premieres three short films she shot in Chile between 2018 and 2020, during the dramatic period leading up to the “Estallido Social.”

El veroir comenzó/Seehearing began (10 mins) documents Vicuña’s performance with her Palabrarma “eyeglasses” Ver Dad, Truth, To Give Sight, originally created in 1976 and reprinted in 2019 to honor the many people who lost an eye to pellets fired by state security agents in Chile that year. Rito por el Mapocho (11 mins) features a collective ritual performance against the privatization of water, conducted in December 2019 at the drying riverbed of the polluted Mapocho River in Santiago de Chile. Word-Snakes (16 mins), a video poem, is a performance by Vicuña and the Chimuchina musical group, created in the context of her exhibition at the CCE in Santiago de Chile in 2019, where science, Indigenous knowledge, and art converge.

Vicuña also premieres a film of her last live performance before the pandemic. This new video poem, Quipu Lava (5 mins), features a performance created in the context of the artist's 2020 exhibition at MUAC in Mexico City, where she weaves a living quipu connecting the bodies of the participants to the sacred volcanoes that gave life to the Valley of Mexico. Human bodies become the “knots” of a language “written in red lava wool” recalling the sacredness of menstruation in a nation with one of the highest femicide rates in the world.

The screening is followed by a conversation between Cecilia Vicuña and poet and translator Daniel Borzutzky.

The first-generation son of Chilean immigrants, Daniel Borzutzky is a poet and translator who lives in Chicago. His 2016 collection The Performance of Becoming Human won the National Book Award. Lake Michigan (2018) was a finalist for the Griffin International Poetry Prize. His latest collection Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018 will be published by Coffee House Press in March 2021. His translation of Galo Ghigliotto's Valdivia won the National Translation Award, and he has also translated collections by Raúl Zurita and Jaime Luis Huenún. Since 2017, he has been an editor at Kenning Editions, and has overseen the publication of new translations from Cuba and Argentina. He teaches English and Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

This is the sixth event in our year-long season dedicated to thinking about our contemporary moment through the lens of Cecilia Vicuña's work.

A premiere screening of new films by Cecilia Vicuña, and a conversation between the artist and Daniel Borzutzky

Online, 5pm PST

RSVP here for event link.

Event documentation is available here.

Cecilia Vicuña, "Lava Quipu," 2020, multimedia performance. Mexico City. Photo: University Museum Contemporary Art, CDMX.  Courtesy the artist and MUAC.<br />
Cecilia Vicuña, "Lava Quipu," 2020, multimedia performance. Mexico City. Photo: University Museum Contemporary Art, CDMX. Courtesy the artist and MUAC.