“…we are not alone, it’s time to become aware of our empathetic potential”
#MuseionCalling is underway: a series of short interviews that brings the voice of artists currently involved in shows and projects at Museion to you! The first to be heard is Mercedes Azpilicueta, Argentinian artist, whose works are currently on show in the exhibition at Museion, “Bestiario de Lenguitas”.
Where are you at the moment? And what is your experience of this situation?
Luckily, I’m at home with my partner in Amsterdam. Now I have calmed down a bit, but to begin with I was very worried about what is going on. I’m really sorry about how critical this situation is in Italy and Spain. On top of everything else, part of my family had come from Argentina to visit me in Holland, so – in the middle of this crisis – we had to find flights to get them home urgently and obviously earlier than planned. Argentina has already blocked all flights from Europe. It’s been a pretty stressful time. Crises like this make us reflect about the way we were living and contaminating this world. How we were abusing our ecosystem with our predatory tourism, excessive work, hyper-production, hyper-performance and the constant mobility that drives an economy that is rarely (eco)sustainable. Perhaps this experience will help us slow down and think and imagine more cohesive ways of continuing to live in this world.
In your work you talk about “infected bodies” and using chaos and disorder to oppose a world based on order and transparency. You also present a philosophy of “new ways of living in this world”. Today, this approach seems to be particularly relevant; can you tell us more about it?
Bestiario de Lengüitas presents a certain type of behaviour and an approach based on bodily experiences and joy strategies. At a broader level, it is an invitation to reconsider the idea of “inebriation” that is applied here to ways of living, having fun, working and communicating. We live in a world that demands transparency, efficiency and hyper-productivity. A world that believes it can remain “clean” and removed from any kind of cultural, physical or technological “inebriation”. Bestiario is a response to this. It is a mestizo creature that reminds us that nothing can remain “pure” and, above all, that we have to embrace the idea of contagion as a strategy of survival. A clear example of this is the inclusion of oral narration in official history. In Bolzano we are working on a project based on orally transmitted stories about the Dolomite mountains. Stories that speak of witches and fantastic creatures that are part of the area’s collective unconscious and cultural heritage.
Can you give us a picture or say a few words about this period we are going through?
Above all that we are not alone and that it is time to become aware of the potential of our empathy and capacity to work together to preserve our own lives and our planet too.
Can you recommend any books, articles or activities?
Draw and read. I can also recommend Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici.