Cecilia Vicuña: The Artist As Poet (Liquid Architecture)

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/cecilia-vicuna

My work dwells in the not yet, the future potential of the unformed, where sound, weaving, and language interact to create new meanings.

In January 1966 I began creating precarios (precarious), installations and basuritas, objects composed of debris, structures that disappear, along with quipus and other weaving metaphors. I called these works “Arte Precario”, creating a new independent category, a non colonized name for them. The precarios soon evolved into collective rituals and oral performances based on dissonant sound and the shamanic voice. The fluid, multi-dimensional quality of these works allowed them to exist in many media and languages at once. Created in and for the moment, they reflect ancient spiritual technologies—a knowledge of the power of individual and communal intention to heal us and the earth.

Precarious means prayer, uncertain, exposed to hazards, insecure. Prayer is change, the dangerous instant of transmutation.

Desire is the offering—the body is only a metaphor.

To respond is to offer again. An object is not an object. It is the witness to a relationship. In complementary union, two opposites collide to create new forms. Seeing and naming creates the space for the beauty of the exchange to unfold.

Weaving is awareness of the exchange.

The “quipu that remembers nothing,” an empty cord was my first precario (c. 1966).

*

My early works were not documented, they existed only for the memories of a few citizens.

History, as a fabric of inclusion and exclusion, did not embrace them.

(The history of the north excludes that of the south, and the history of the south excludes itself, embracing only the north’s reflections.)

In the void between the two, the precarious and its non-documentation established their non-place as another reality.

*

The poem is not speech, not in the earth, not on paper, but in the crossing and union of the three in the place that is not.

—Cecilia Vicuñ

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