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Nāntli Cemanāhuatl

Nāntli Cemanāhuatl, 2019

Sculpture installation with video; color, sound; 18 minutes

Displayed at Step Gallery

Work Statement:

Nāntli Cemanāhuatl is an installation consisting of projection mapped cloud sculptures paired with an experimental video.The clouds have altered images from the Hubble Space Telescoped mapped onto their surfaces. The video is the first installment and beginnings of an experimental video series geared towards the development of my own cosmology. This narrative follows my body’s journey to the center of the galaxy, where I sacrifice my body to a black hole and I am reborn with sacred cosmological knowledge. This work uses various video performances, and animation to create the narrative. Nāntli Cemanāhuatl means mother universe in Nahuatl, the language belonging to the Mexica people of pre-Columbian Mexico. In my research, I focused on theories in physics such as the big bang theory, stellar evolution, and indigenous cosmologies. I am interested in using ‘outer space’ as a platform to explore and imagine narratives about our present time, a cosmology that tells a story from a multidimensional, multicultural, and multi layered perspective. The goal of this work is to find the intersecting points of two disparate concepts; cosmic phenomena, and identity politics. This origin story takes inspiration from cosmological narratives found in indigenous cultures, particularly the cosmology of the Mexica from Mexico, and the Lickanatay from Northern Chile.

Nāntli Cemanāhuatl is dedicated to migrants from all around the world who make perilous journeys in search of more prosperous futures and to those who have had their own personal journey in life, whatever that may be. We are all a part of this world, each, with a story to tell. Each narrative holds a place in this cosmos, a star of sorts, each one lit with a bright light, shining brightly in our night sky.

“I am a Latinx woman living on planet Earth. I am an immigrant living in a border state. I am a colonized body, I consume technology, technology colonizes and consumes me. My actions have repercussions. We have failed in our responsibility to take care of our planet. I understand that we are consumers in a world that has detached itself from nature and our planet, the entity that provides us resources to live out our lives. I understand that I myself am a walking contradiction. I understand that my light skin allows me to walk through the world with more ease. I understand Spanish. I understand English. I speak Spanglish. I understand that stars are masses made of hydrogen that create their own energy to sustain themselves, and plants also create their own fuel for energy. I understand that the star stuff we are all made of resides not only within each human, but it dances throughout distant galaxies. I understand that when I sit on the Earth, and give thanks to all the she provides, I am connecting to Madre Tierra in the humblest way that I know how. I understand that I am not the only one who has a narrative to share.”

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