Antigone, diary of rituals N.4:
At the End, the Beginning
Lara, Venezuela 2012-2014
These works are a series of physical poems as rituals. They are also metaphorical gestures that transform personal mourning into a public and collective activity.
On my last days in Lara, Venezuela—May 28 to June 1, 2012, I finally arrived in the area where my father Iván Daza camped in the days before the ambush. The prominent mountain seen in the images was a natural shelter and headquarters for Brigade 21, of which he was a member. The picture with few trees on the hill shows the path he would have crossed through the mountains as he travelled on foot towards the town of Cocorote in the north. He departed on January 1, 1966. Twenty-three days later, he was politically disappeared
Special thanks to Rori Knudtson, Aurora Del Río, Eliana González (girl in the video) and to the Familia González for their contribution to the creation of this work.
Part One: The mountain named "El Diablito" is the background for this ritual. My friend and contemporary artist, Aurora Del Río, gave me instructions for its creation. She told me that she had seen me drawing wings on the ground around my buried legs in a dream. Following her guidance, I buried my legs and using ashes that were already there; I drew the wings. Below is her email communication with me in Spanish on April 26, 2012:
Haz un hueco y entierra tus piernas hasta las rodillas.
Riégalas con cariño acariciándolas.
Cuando salgas, cierra el hueco que dejaste y dibuja un ala en la tierra.
Nota: Livia, esta acción me salió cuando estaba medio dormida...
y te ví cumplirla además!"
Part Two: This ritual-action took place by the foot of the mountain in the hamlet of Anzoátegui in Lara. The spontaneous and playful help given by Eliana—a girl from this valley— allowed me to accomplish the last task: to bury myself in the place of my father.
For the creation of this ritual, I had instructions from interdisciplinary artist and friend, Rori Knudtson. I followed them as much as I could, even though I was afraid of encountering snakes and scorpions abundant in the area. Her instructions on April 17, 2012, were as follows:
"i think my actions may be a bit extreme but all the same the gestures are necessary, i do believe for a woman who uses her body to express and all the while lost the body of her father. you return to your motherland (or fatherland) as a gesture and action in and of itself. this brave journey alone is at moments cathartic i can imagine. please do this for me as i do this for you, as i too never recovered my father’s body. and i continually try to reclaim some physical void within my very core that lost the sensation of his hand on my back, or the safety of his arms in moments of sorrow and strife.
act one. find a place to reside and dig a hole the height of your father horizontally. wet the soil with water. document this.
act two. once the hole is complete, take off your clothes and lay in the earth, feeling the soil in cracks and crevices. cover yourself in this wet earth. fall asleep there. document this.
act three. when you awake, write down the first thoughts in your mind. and then scream as loud as you can until your voice cracks. document this."
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: https://en.calameo.com/read/003167138eee8c6d8ee56
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: https://www.artnexus.com/Notice_View.aspx?DocumentID=29887
Brochure A Space Gallery: http://www.revolutionaryforms.org/uploads/2/8/0/2/28025631/grieving_empire.pdf
Main page on project: Antigone, diary of rituals
This work was created with the support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Alcaldía de Morán, Venezuela, Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Cultura de Venezuela.