Colombian National Army Shirt, fresh nettle, thread and needle
Exhibited in the framework of
Corporea festival de performance de Zacatecas Oaxaca, Mexico Curated by Diana Buitrón and Lorena Tábares
In the ritual~action Arde, I investigate nettle as a somatic technology of regeneration and a witness of decades of armed conflict.
Nettle, or urtica dioica, is a plant whose leaves and stems are covered with brittle ends that break upon contact. After the breakage of these tips, nettles transfer histamine and formic acid from one plant body to another body. In this way and with this exchange, 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 tardiness of the judicial system in the region, nettles are often used to detoxify the energy of those who committed the crime, as tools of internal justice.
In the process in which nettle covers the military camouflage with another plant-based camouflage, 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, numbing and regeneration, continues for days as my hands process the chemical components and nettle leaves mimic the fabric and dry.