Contextual Material

Cecilia Vicuña

Carla Macchiavello Cornejo

Moving Desire Forward: A Multiplicity of Strings

Your desires haunt me

There is something haunting about the image: the inscription at the top, written by Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala (ca. 1535–1615), refers to the “INDIO, ASTROLOGO, POETA QUE SABE” [INDIAN, ASTROLOGER, POET WHO KNOWS], and continues, “del ruedo del sol y de la luna, eclipse, estrellas, cometas y hora, domingo, mes y año y de los cuatro vientos para sembrar la comida, desde antiguo”[1] [of the journey of the sun, the moon, eclipse, stars, comets and hour, Sunday, month and year and the four winds to sow the food, since old].[2] To read the stars, to read the land, to read the air, to cultivate, to be a poet, an astrologer, an artist: slightly bent over, gaze on the land, the figure in the image advances with the aid of a cane, perhaps a digging stick; in the other hand, they carry a quipu (or khipu), fingers feeling the knotted cords. Descalzos [barefoot], the feet feel and know the land too, as they traverse it. Steep and rugged mountains with vein-like lines, perhaps fingers of ancient ice or the tunnels, el abra,[3] that the waters carved through their journeys downwards, embrace the figure and provide a horizon line. Above, watching, knowing, attentive, are the sun and moon. Thus, beyond the Spanish words we find another language, the one the Indigenous-astrologer-poet reads and senses in the land and the breeze, in the sky, the cosmos. A poetry rewritten in textiles and knotted threads, as much as those mumbled words. Sun and moon accompany, us, each other, and the labors below, the future being sown.

Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala, Nueva corónica y buen gobierno, 1615. Folio 883.

“In ancient Peru diviners trace lines of dust in the earth, as a way of divining, or letting the divine speak through them;

“…they invoked the spirits through an incantation and tracing lines on the ground.””[4]

When sociologist Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui reflects on archaeological khipus and the most common interpretation of these textiles, “an accountability system of the Inka,”[5] she is quick to add: that is only partially true. For what they also involve is a propitiatory form of counting, “una traducción contable del deseo” [a countable translation of desire], a translation into numerical, perhaps accountable, forms of desire.[6] The poet, she says, carries a kipu whose knots materialize knowledge of the land, the relations between productive spaces created and conjured through ritual celebration.[7]

Rivera Cusicanqui begins by referring to their description as mnemonic devices, a system of record keeping made out of colored wool and knots used in the Andean region before the Spanish invasion to register, count, and communicate.[8] They were “a knotted–cord medium in use since at least the Middle Horizon (ca. 600–1000 C.E.) and widespread in Inka times,”[9] writes anthropologist Frank Salomon. For a long time, it was believed that khipus were an Andean abacus based on the decimal system, a statistical and quantitative system employed to count taxes and census in the Inka empire. Each cord and its characteristics—its color, length, the orientation of its fibers, the position it occupied in the whole (whether primary horizontal or hanging verticals and secondary cords), the patterns they created, the types of knots and their directions and shapes—would all contain information that was visually and haptically gathered in a tactile manner, recalled and spoken by the creators and readers of khipus, the quipucamayoc.[10] Though they continued to be made and used, the settlers and their colonizing institutions, including the Catholic Church, ordered their destruction and replacement with written alphabetic systems, imposing a new script and language, a whole grammar and its subtending epistemology onto the land and bodies. As their voices were quieted, their making and practice forbidden, and a colonial order superimposed, the meanings of those khipus, their form of code-making, seems to have faded. Like other pre-Hispanic textile traditions of which we have fragmented knowledge, this too seems to have been broken, or perhaps lies dormant, submerged. Yet hundreds of khipus remained, were preserved, found, and collected; fragile yet resistant threads and knots, opaque to modern eyes. Until recently, others continued to be made and employed, stories told with them, though few would listen to what they had to say.[11]

As Rivera Cusicanqui points out, this is only part of the story. Khipus also give material presence to cosmic wisdom. They are a translation into knotted counted forms of lifeways, of “promises and deliveries” that involve not only human interactions, transactions, and exchanges, but also a dialogue with the divine. A system “of rigorously counted reciprocity”[12] that was, that still is, embedded in the earth, in the waterways, in the wak’as, that sacred topography that organizes life.[13] Reinscribed by and through moving bodies, in pilgrimage, in dance, in celebration, in storytelling, in song, in commercial and ritual exchange. And yet, deprived of their symbolism, when exhibited or stored in museums, or analyzed through artificial intelligence, they become “codes without message, abstract serial mathematics.”[14] Indeed, anthropologists like Gary Urton have proposed that there are two kinds of khipus, some statistical and based on the decimal system and others that narrate stories, not in an iconographical manner, but through their colors and knots. To understand khipus in this manner requires that we think of time and history in more complex, non-linear ways.[15] To engage with another form of consciousness, not just epistemologies, as art historian Carolina Castro Jorquera has also suggested.[16]

To think of quipus through desire, through actions that seek to move, to offer, to enter into relations with the sacred, with the land and waters, with each other, with “a life in common” on both a local and a planetary scale. How might desire change the messages that scholars, anthropologists, archaeologists, scientists, and that hybrid body that is artificial intelligence, are trying to decode? What do they propitiate? How might it transform our relations to reconnect to these life-ways, these ancestral and changing threads? To the invisible, even within?

The strings that haunt us, those invisible umbilical cords. To recognize these threads, to be Indigenous, poet, astrologer.[17]


This is not your chiaroscuro

In the darkness of a room, light filters through the doorway, amasses and cracks open at the fire. A string twinkles as it traverses the space. It is tied to the mother’s waist, who is absorbed in her labors. That other thread, of sound, alerts her to movement at the other end of the cord. There, the newborn lies in a makeshift hammock made of folded fabric, tied to the mother through the cord. A simple twist, a movement of the hip, knots them together.[18] An umbilical cord, a lifeline, a sacred chord. A knowledge so intimate, so ancient, that it joins past and present. Not all is lost.

Cecilia Vicuña’s quipus embody loss. Their forms dissolve. Their knots threaten to be undone as they hang, the wool’s unspun fibers mutating as gravity pulls them, as fingers and bodies run through them. Impossible gestures, she calls them. If they offer a translation of thoughts and stories we might never know, it is because they pick up the threads of a colonial history of violent uprooting, genocide, prohibitions, acts of erasure of ancestral knowledge, of marginalization and discrimination. The destruction of languages, whether oral, written, or woven; sometimes using language itself as a weapon of obliteration.[19] The destruction of webs of relations, including those that remind us that we are ecological bodies, moving microcosmos intimately tied to each other. “Now, because of the destruction of the forest, storms are gathering such violent energy that you get events like Hurricane Mitch in Central America, where thousands of people die. To weave clouds at a moment like this is an attempt to change the pattern of destruction, as if this impossible gesture (you cannot “weave” with unspun wool—it falls apart as you touch it) had the power to affect the climate and move people to thought.”[20]

But also, Vicuña’s works in wool, with detritus, gestures, and poetry, sustain and embody histories of resistance, of life. Vicuña has said of her knotted quipus: “solo los sostiene el deseo”[21] [only desire sustains them]. Precarious, yes, on the border of collapse, yes, impending death, yes, fragile reminders of our own ecocide, our terricidio,[22] yes. And then?

And then, maybe from within that breath of nonconforming wool, in the opaque recesses of its fibers, when everything, including language and thought, seems to disintegrate, to dissolve, when what clings loosens and lets go, then, suddenly, a sound. Perhaps it is just a rumor, a beat that can barely, that cannot, be heard.[23] Infinitesimal vibrations, virtual yet present. Strings that undulate, that connect bodies in a virtual and concrete weaving. Communication without words, other forms of semiosis and germinating consciousness.

“Quipus were burnt, but the vision of interconnectivity, a poetic resistance endures underground.”[24] The poetic resistance of desire.

Vicuña insists on remembering this other form of weaving, the ceque system, as if it were the complementary opposite of the khipu, its invisible underside. The ceque were imaginary lines that joined the Inka omphalos, the city of Cuzco, navel of the world, spiritual and political center, with the four corners of the Tawantinsuyu in a large weaving.[25] Each radiating line linked a trajectory of powerful and sacred sites, wak’as, natural sanctuaries and human-made, creating a different horizon of signs in the landscape. The ceque system thus inscribed a cosmic and ritual calendar on earth, like a khipu of glittering inscriptions, a vision of watery threads.[26] “The ceque is not a line, it is an instant, a gaze,”[27] says Vicuña. In Andean weaving, what is within and invisible is necessary to sustain what is manifest; ukhu in Quechua refers to the power of the concealed, the influence exerted by the internal or that which remains unseen over what is perceivable on the surface.[28] This is another form of the ayni, the “dual balance” or reciprocal relations that take manifold forms, beyond the strictures of binaries. This darkness shines with light.

The gap that the archaeological khipus make evident as we strive to understand them, this absence, speaks of a radical reordering of meaning and relations in these lands, in others too. Rivera Cusicanqui and many others have referred to this as pachakuti, that great upheaval from an Andean perspective.[29] Yet she reminds us that, “Even though the colonial deed drastically reordered these relations, it did not completely obliterate their alter-native background; it did not undo the internal logics or the rooted syntax that had been created over the centuries by the populations that were now subjugated.”[30]

Vicuña restores and remembers this upheaval, and recalls that her own art began as an act of disappearance, understood as a sacrifice and an offer. “I was on a beach in Con-cón, when I felt the wind and the sea feeling me. I knew I had to respond to the Earth in a language that the tide would erase. I arranged the litter I saw strewn about. I called it arte precario knowing that art had begun in me.”[31] While her gift was minor, a gesture even, it resonates with the reciprocity and complementary duality imbued in Andean thought, as much as a form of webbed consciousness, of sensing bodies. In the Andean highlands, the most precious objects are buried, burnt, expended, elaborate woven mantles, ceramics, dolls, silver and golden ornaments. Life itself was sacrificed to propitiate more life. This is a different aesthetic and ethic order from that imposed by the colonial system, another reasoning and complementary way of thinking, where high and low are not part of a hierarchy. Where nature and culture are part of a continuum and communication, even communion, happens across different forms of being.

“¿Cantan de noche las piedras?
-Es posible.”

Yo te diría,
que ssssssss.[32]

[“Do stones sing at night?
-It is possible.”

I would say,

Vicuña evokes in her poetry, her quipus, her whole arte precario [precarious art], subtly, painfully, a history of loss and violence on multiple scales and forms, a palimpsest of erasures, tenuously joining past and present.[33] One word, or a tender and rough material, can resonate deeply and carry varying associations rooted in, seeping, and moving through specific bodies-territories, transforming them: disappeared, displaced, abused, menaced, persecuted, quipus, bodies, languages, waters, lands. Her ritual gestures can weave the local and the common, from the tip of a mountain in Aconcagua and its treasures buried in ice, to colonial extractions at the coast in the present; from past removals to contemporary deterritorializations; from political disappearance in Chile during the military-civic dictatorship to apparently sudden catastrophe.[34] They evoke, too, the pliable forms of weaving traditions and peoples that persist as they transform, especially “the force of violence with which they have been treated into spiritual energy.”[35] Her spatial weavings are reminders to remain tender to these words, to these matters, to what they cannot tell. To listen with the fingers, to attend corporally to the material and narrative gaps, to different forms of memory. The earth also remembers.


To touch

What memories do we carry in our hands? What memories in our limbs, our bones, our skin? Our wombs, our entrails? The deep waters of our ears? Their miniature drumming membranes? Memories that might be aural yet get transmitted through touch. Chords of bone, muscle, fiber, air, water, particles. My body rings.

The body knows, even though it also forgets.[36] When looking again at the image by Guamán Poma de Ayala described in the beginning of this text, do we hear the sounds too? The lines and dots and openings traced by the stick on the earth, the creeping cool breeze, the sparks of cosmic dust connecting clouds and bone, the mumbled chants and invisible voices rising from the lines of dust, the counting and divining that creates its own dermal and mental furrows, warm sweet sweat slowly mixing with llama’s wool, the crackling of leaves as the hand reaches for them in the darkness of the chuspa,[37] the mastication of coca leaves and the flavors, the thick saliva passing bitter like medicine through the gut. The smell of spoken words. I crack open and we spit.

Khipus are oral narratives and much more woven into material form. An embodied form of language, threads and knots tying information and relations together. Fibers speak in Andean textiles, and they continue to do so. Weaving hands create and read traditional textiles, even if their meanings and forms have changed, even if our understanding of some ancient textile construction methods is partial, as is our grasp of their intentions.[38] These hands and waists and minds weave stories, chant, and share through them, in them, with them. Embedded in bodies-territories and also stretching beyond them, through other forms of extending desires, whether global and tourist markets, or expressions of locals needs, imaginations, resilient consciousness, ancestral voices and silences. Andean textiles are moving resonant bodies, three dimensional and complex, engaged in many dances, visible and unseen, present, waiting to be perceived.

To see with the eyes at the tips of our fingers, “not as an intellectual memory, but as a sensorial memory.”[39] To listen to what those in/visible vibrations have to say. To germinate other forms of consciousness so that we may hear “an ancient silence waiting to be heard.”[40]

“Erasing memory, we erase the moral compass of our cells.”[41]

Bodies that are archives, archives of pain and of collective memory.[42] An art of memory is an art of resonance: reverberations, echoes, vibrations, something moves within and between. Vicuña recalls:

“To record in the sense of touching the strings of emotion.
To record comes from cor, the core of the heart.”[43]

To remember might be to become again a member of a larger body. To recognize the home I am to others, the others I carry with me, the others that carry me. Do you remember the sea, that oceanic feeling, being suspended in her fluids? She sensed me, we sensed each other, I responded with a gift, she took it, they gave me back: “Yes, you can say it is an attempt to speak to the elements, to that instant of all potential, all creation, when we could take a new evolutionary leap, although I prefer to say a leap of the imagination, equivalent to that first moment when a hand noticed that fleece could be spun into yarn.”[44]

The hand notices. She senses me. I am wool, water, you make me spin, we become threaded, we yearn, we yarn.



Carla Macchiavello Cornejo is an art historian and educator who has published on contemporary Chilean and Latin American art with an emphasis in video art, performance, networks of solidarity and resistance, and artistic practices aimed at social change. She is Associate Professor in Art History at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY, NY, and received her PhD from Stony Brook University. She has curated exhibitions on contemporary Latin American art and is co-editor of Más allá del fin/Beyond the End, a publication of the collective research practice Ensayos, which joins artists, scientists, and local agents to reflect on matters connected to the political ecology of Tierra del Fuego. Macchiavello Cornejo lives and works in New York City.

This text was commissioned by “Folded Life.”
[1] Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala, Nueva corónica y buen gobierno, 1615. Folio 883. Bolivian sociologist and feminist Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui refers to this image (and to the author, Waman Puma de Ayala) in several texts; I will be referring to two of them in what follows.
[2] Ruedo can translate as: roundel, circle, arena; contour, limit, border; to encircle, to rotate, to turn, to contour; to wander, to travel, to engage in pilgrimage. The text seems to imply all: the circular trajectories, the fray of a textile perceived in the sky and earth.
[3] El abra refers to an opening within mountains, a transversal cut and the geological traces often produced by the waters of a river or an earthquake. Interview with Cecilia Vicuña, November 28, 2020.
[4] Cecilia Vicuña, “Entering,” Precario/Precarious (New York: Tanam Press, 1983), unpaginated.
[5] Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Un mundo ch’ixi es posible. Ensayos desde un presente en crisis [A ch’ixi world is possible. Essays about a present in crisis] (Buenos Aires: Tinta Limón, 2018), 60. My translation. (All translations from this text are my own.)
[6] One can sense a play of words here, both in Spanish and English: countable/contable as in to be able to count, but then also to be able to narrate, to tell a story (contar una historia), and to be accountable, as in becoming responsible.
[7] Rivera Cusicanqui, Un mundo ch’ixi es posible, 50. Here it is important to note a distinction: quipu is the Spanish spelling of the Quechua word for knot and knotting (khipu, khipo), sometimes also used in English; kipu is also used in other forms of Quechua across the Andes. Rivera Cusicanqui is opting here for its spelling connected to Andean languages, including Aymara.
[8] Rivera Cusicanqui, 33.
[9] Frank Salomon, “How an Andean ‘Writing Without Words’ Works,” Current Anthropology, 42, no. 1 (February 2001): 1–27, here 1.
[10] Gary Urton, Signs of the Inka Khipu: Binary Coding in the Andean Knotted-String Records (Austin: University of Austin Press, 2003).
[11] Some Andean communities still use a similar system to the Inka khipu. Cusicanqui quotes Frank Salomon’s The Cord Keepers: Khipus and Cultural Life in a Peruvian Village (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004) and his studies based on the accounts of the living makers of khipus, which tell how they involve sacred numerology that registers vital events of common life.
[12] Rivera Cusicanqui, Un mundo ch’ixi es posible, 60.
[13] Wak’as refer to sacred spaces, from boulders and water sources to shrines, where offerings were made. Tamara L. Bray, ed., The Archaeology of Wak’as: Explorations of the Sacred in the Pre-Columbian Andes (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2015).
[14] Rivera Cusicanqui, Un mundo ch’ixi es posible, 60.
[15] Gary Urton, introduction to the symposium “Khipus. Writing Histories In and From Knots,” February 1, 2019, Bard Graduate Center, New York.
[16] “The technology of the quipu was not only far from being understood by the medieval mind of the Spaniard, but belonged to another structure of consciousness, very different from that of the inhabitants of the Andes. This clash of consciousness is also currently reflected in notions like property and agency.” Carolina Castro Jorquera, “Tecnologías ancestrales para sentir el futuro,” [Ancestral technologies to feel the future], Orbitart, December 11, 2020, My translation.
[17] Rivera Cusicanqui previously interpreted the image as: “caminante, filósofo, científico” [walker, philosopher, scientist] in her book, Sociología de la imagen. Miradas ch’ixi desde la historia andina [Sociology of the image. Ch’ixi gazes from Andean history] (Buenos Aires: Tinta Limón, 2015), 208.
[18] Image evoked through a description of Vicuña concerning her stay among the Guambianos in Silvia, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, ca. 1977.
[19] Referring to the royal decrees that finally imposed the Spanish language as the language through which Indigenous people were to be catechized in the valleys of Bogotá and Tunja (as opposed to priests learning their Indigenous languages), María Stella González de Pérez has noted the paradox of employing the communicative function of language to destroy language through the creation of grammars. De Pérez, Estudios de la lengua Chibcha o Muisca [Studies of the Chibcha or Muisca language] (Bogotá: Publicaciones del Instituto Caro y Cuervo, 1980), 69–70. Other authors have approached these questions from a perspective of the Indigenous re-appropriations of the imposed languages, as in the weaving textualities of Aymara communities, as proposed by Denise Y. Arnold with Juan de Dios Yapita, The Metamorphosis of Heads. Textual Struggles, Education, and Land in the Andes (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 2006).
[20] Cecilia Vicuña, “The Memory of Fingers,” Cloud-Net (New York: Art in General, 1999), 19.
[21] Artist statement accompanying the Brooklyn Museum installation of Quipu desaparecido (Disappeared Quipu), May 18–November 25, 2018,
[22] On contemporary forms of epistemological violence and extractivism, the weychafe mapuche Moira Millán has stated: “También hay académicas extractivistas que lo que esperan es que produzcamos nosotras conceptos e información, como ha sido por ejemplo el concepto de terricidio o de la plurinacionalidad de los territorios, que son conceptos nuevos que ha ido creando el movimiento de mujeres indígenas, para tomarlos y apropiárselos, lo que los vacía de contenido. Porque no son sólo palabras, son praxis y prácticas de nuestras luchas en los territorios.” [There are also extractivist academics who expect us to produce concepts and information, as has been the case with the concept of terricide or the plurinationality of territories, which are new concepts that have been created by Indigenous women, so as to take them and appropriate them, which evacuates meaning from them. Because these are not just words, they are praxis and practices of our struggles in the territories.] Moira Millán, “Moira Millán: El movimiento feminista es indiferente a lo que pasa con los cuerpos-territorios de las mujeres indígenas,” [Moira Millán, The feminist movement is indifferent to the body-territories of Indigenous women], Observatorio Internacional de las Aguas, September 5, 2020,
[23] We can consider the recent quipus by Vicuña and earlier works incorporating sound installations, collaborations with musicians, musicologists, anthropologists, and her sustained practice of listening all part of her poetry, her poetic languages, and singing/sounding. The Quipu desaparecido I referred to above involved a collaboration with musician Ricardo Gallo for the sounds (based on Vicuña’s interpretation of her own poems) inhabiting the wool threads and knots. On the connection to sound, listening, and orality in Vicuña’s performances, see Rosa Alcalá’s introductory text, “‘Made Not of Words, But Forces’: Cecilia Vicuña’s Oral Performances,” in Cecilia Vicuña and Rosa Alcalá, Spit Temple. The Selected Performances of Cecilia Vicuña (Brooklyn: Ugly Duckling Press, 2012).
[24] Cecilia Vicuña, “Notes on the Works,” Read Thread. The Story of the Red Thread (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2017), 135.
[25] The ceque system was described by the Jesuit missionary Bernabé Cobo (1580–1657) as comprised of 41 lines radiating from the Temple of the Sun, Qorikancha, in Cuzco, in “Relación de las guacas del Cuzco,” Historia del Nuevo Mundo, libro trece (1653); republished in English as An Account of the Shrines of Ancient Cuzco, edited by John Howland Rowe,
[26] Several authors have referred to the image, including Rivera Cusicanqui. Lois Martin argues that ceques are like quipu, each road a cord with knots/wak’as. Martin, “Nasca: Woven Cosmos and Cross-looped Time,” Textile 4, no. 3 (2006): 312–338, here 318.
[27] Vicuña, “Quipu Ceque,” Read Thread, 67.
[28] Rebecca Stone, “Dialogues in Thread: The Quechua Concepts of Ayni, Ukhu, Tinku, Q’iwa, and Ushay,” Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles, Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, 2017. Digital catalogue online at
[29] Guamán Poma’s 1000-page letter to the Spanish monarch, with more than 300 line drawings, expresses this upheaval as a world turned upside down. Rivera Cusicanqui analyzes more drawings from an Andean positionality and epistemology in Sociología de la imagen.
[30] Rivera Cusicanqui, Un mundo ch’ixi es posible, 50.
[31] Vicuña, Spit Temple, 55.
[32] José María Arguedas, Los ríos profundos [Deep rivers] (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1981; 1987), 15.
[33] Macarena Gómez-Barris uses the image of the palimpsest in her text “I Felt the Sea Sense Me: Ecologies and Dystopias in Cecilia Vicuña’s Kon Kón,” where she analyzes in depth Vicuña’s film Kon Kón (2010), the situated ritual gestures it invokes at sea’s edge, the notion of sensing expressed by the artist, and its relation to transnational extractivist practices through an ecofeminist approach. Gómez-Barris’s text is found in Cecilia Vicuña, About to Happen (New Orleans: Contemporary Arts Center, 2017), 138–147.
[34] Recently, Vicuña was in conversation-performance with Rosa Alcalá, and the poem “desaparecidos” was evoked in relation to translation, joining the reference to those “disappeared” by the security forces of the military dictatorship in Chile and the coup of September 11, 1973, to those who vanished with the Twin Towers in September 11, 2001. “Liquid Stars: Translation, Digression, Transformation,” CAAPP and the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series, March 25, 2021, online event. Also, her most recent quipus (such as Quipu Girok, 2021), have begun to interweave other stories, fabrics, gestures, including painted ones, threading transcontinental memories and struggles, passing from Korea and Vietnam to Colombia, Chile, and the Andes beyond.
[35] Carolina Castro Jorquera, “On the Huacas in the Works of Cecilia Vicuña and Francisco Huichaqueo,” in “The Andean Information Age: A Conversation About Khipus,” book launch for the publication Oscar Santillán and Alessandra Troncone, The Andean Information Age (Berlin: Bom Dia Boa Tarde Boa Noite, 2021), April 6, 2021,
[36] “And when you said that about sweat, it reminded me of a little poem, which is really a book that I have, which is called Beforehand. And it is about the fact that something in us knows beforehand if a deal or a person is going to be beneficial for us or not. Our brain, our conscious brain, does not know, but the micro-sweat in our hands acknowledges instantly.” Vicuña, in Camila Marambio & Cecilia Vicuña, Slow Down Fast, A Toda Raja (Berlin: Errant Bodies Press, 2019), 57. Marambio has also referred to the movement of cells, liquids, and energies within our ears and the vestibular system in her “METitations,” which she performed with Vicuña in January 7, 2020, at Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago. See, as an example,
[37] A chuspa is a woven coca bag. On continuity and change in traditions of weaving chuspas, “chuspas have been a constant presence in the archaeological, written, and visual record of the Andes. The general appearance of coca bags produced in highland communities in Peru and Bolivia in the twenty-first century is strikingly similar to those recovered from pre-Hispanic burials, yet in the details of their design and decoration, chuspas are testament to shifting fashions and technologies.” Nicola Sharratt, Carrying Coca: 1,500 Years of Andean Chuspas (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014), 15.
[38] Elena Phipps, “Andean Textile Traditions: Material Knowledge and Culture, Part 1,” PreColumbian Textile Conference VII/Jornadas de Textiles PreColombinos VII, 2017, 174,
[39] Vicuña, “The Memory of the Fingers,” Cloud-Net, 21.
[40] Vicuña, “Entering.”
[41] Vicuña, “The collective quipu,” Read Thread, 66.
[42] Ángela Santamaría Chavarro, et al., Narrativas y experiencias interculturales. Pedagogías y metodologías alternativas [Intercultural narratives and experiences. Alternative pedagogies and methodologies] (Bogotá: Editorial Universidad del Rosario, 2018), xvii.
[43] Cecilia Vicuña, “Entrando,” Precario/Precarious (New York: Tanam Press, 1983). I was reminded of this poem by Giulia Lamoni in her text, ““Diario de Vida” Cecilia Vicuña’s artistic practice in London (1972–1975) (A letter to Carla Macchiavello),” Revista de Estudios Globales & Arte Contemporáneo 5, no. 1 (2017–18): 87–119, where she quotes an expanded and perhaps more poetic translated version of it published in Catherine de Zegher, ed., QUIPOem. The Precarious: The Art and Poetry of Cecilia Vicuña (Wesleyan Poetry Series) (Kortrjk & Hanover and London: Kanaal Art Foundation & Wesleyan University Press, 1997), 131.
[44] Vicuña, “The Memory of the Fingers,” Cloud-Net, 20.