Antigone, diary of rituals

Lara, Venezuela 2012-2014

In the absence of burial rites when a loved one is disappeared by the state, how do those left behind cope with grief under conditions of political oppression and silence? Livia Daza-Paris

Antigone, diary of rituals is a project of site-specific and poetic performativities, each lasting from 4 to 12 hrs. I marked the land on the final route my father took before his political disappearance. Participatory actions took place with the campesinos from the area.

The title references Sophocles' Antigone, who defied the established power so that her dissident brother would have proper funeral rites. Like Antigone, I engaged in these 'burial rites' for my father, Iván Daza.

Guided by the feminist premise that "the personal is political," self suggests where the story begins, and the notion of I becomes evidence. Indeed, undeniable proof of my father's existence is myself, especially since documents on his disappearance remain unavailable.

Through cadence, visual pacing and spatial awareness, these videos reveal poetic narratives on complex relationships where the autobiographical is embedded within a broader context of human rights.

The project moves away from perspectives of victimization, and instead, it delves into notions of self-determination. These artworks document my quest through a terrain of non-official history, memory, and land.

From here on, I have developed my practice in Poetic Forensics, taken my work into a complex web of investigative art.

Acknowledgments: many thanks to Alba Daza, Michael Poetschko and Xi Feng for their editing. I am especially grateful to the campesinos in Lara, for their offer to join me in the performative rituals, and to René Peralta, who coordinated access to the sites in Lara. For their encouragement and thoughtful advice, many thanks to Michael Bowdidge and Jean Marie Casbarian. Special thanks to Roraima Ramos production coordinator to the artistic installations at the MAC Caracas, 2014. Finally, I give thanks to all who responded to my request for 'Instructions for finding my disappeared father,' 2011-12. The works presented here merge my interpretation of those instructions generously given to me by artists and friends.

Created with support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Fundación Museos Nacionales-Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, Alcaldía de Morán, Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Cultura de Venezuela and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Presented at A Space Gallery, Grieving Empire, Toronto, Canada, 2017; Currents New Media Festival, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2015; Sierra Nevada College, US, 2015; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, Venezuela 2014; Main Film, Montreal, Canada, 2013; and Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany, 2012. For more information see:
Livia Daza-Paris, At the edge of the (far-) End: an event revealed through rituals. ELSE Journal for International Art and Creative Media Issue 01. Published by Transart. Guest editor Teobaldo Lagos Preller. Peer-reviewed article. Published: January 2016. Text in English:
Review by Latin American independent art critic Albeley Rodriguez. Texto en español: La creación: un dolor trocado en vida vibrante
Review by Latin American independent art critic Constanza Rogatis.Texto en español:
Main page on project: Antigone, diary of rituals
Antigone, diary of rituals N.1: White Thread and River Burial 2012

White Thread began at the contact house where my father was last seen alive. From this place, I traced white oil paint the name of my father over the concrete bridge.

Antigone, diary of rituals N.2: River Burial and Ridge of Silence 2012

I discovered that The Ridge of Silence is at once beautiful and eerie. Its waters are stagnant, silent. Just like the story I investigate.

Antigone, diary of rituals N.3: Crosses and White Fabric 2014

For Crosses and White Fabric I expected only three men from the village to climb with me to the place of the ambush, instead, many more came along. I asked: “Why have you come here?” One of them said: “Because, we are looking for revolutionaries!”

Antigone, diary of rituals N.4: At the End, the Beginning 2014

At the End, the Beginning the spontaneous help of Eliana, a girl from this valley, allowed me to accomplish my last ritual: to bury myself in the place of my father.

Photos: Livia Daza-Paris
Video installation. HD video single channel split screen. Projected onto a large translucent material. Dimensions variable. Images from solo exhibition "Sobre los pasos de Antígona, una propuesta de Livia Daza-Paris” at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, Venezuela, 2014. Curated by Albeley Rodríguez.
A Space Gallery. Grieving Empire, 2017Group juried exhibition. Toronto, Canada.Photos: Livia Daza-Paris
Atelierhof Kreuzberg, 2012 MFA exhibition. Berlin, Germany. Photos: Livia Daza-Paris