At the Brooklyn Museum until November 25, 2018 is Cecilia Vicuña's Disappeared Quipu.
"New York–based Chilean artist and poet Cecilia Vicuña has devoted a significant part of her artistic practice to studying, interpreting, and reactivating the quipus, which were banned by the Spanish during their colonization of South America. Drawing on her indigenous heritage, Vicuña channels this ancient, sensorial mode of communication into immersive installations and participatory performances." Read more about the artist and the installation here.
The ginormous hanging knots immediately attracted my attention, as they take up the whole gallery space. As I started to learn about quipus and the history they hold in ancient ways of communicating, I started thinking about the complex translation process this technique embodies. I am still trying to wrap my brain around it! How do they know who they are talking to? What if the knots got out of order?
I wish I could go to Performance: Living Quipu by Cecilia Vicuña on Sunday, September 23, 2018
from 2–3 pm. Cecilia Vicuña will create a participatory, improvisational poetry performance, weaving elements of spoken word, chant, and storytelling. Free with Museum admission, but RSVP strongly encouraged. Click here for more information about the event.
ps. thank you, Jasmin, for introducing me to quipus when you came to visit me in Fiskars!
Arlene Tucker is currently based in Helsinki, Finland.