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UNWEAVING COUNTRY

Undo country is a process of intervention of Colombian flag and of some archives associated to this symbol and territory. It seeks to question the concept of country through textiles, graphics, maps and conversations that happen while intervening this flag.

Since 2019, I've held different meetings with Colombian people living in Madrid to talk and unweave the Colombian flag. The threads touch and the exercise of unweaving takes the conversation to a corporeal act that is not reduced to words, while connects the materiality of the flag with the symbolic content that is being discussed. I propose this gesture of unweaving, and the conversations that emerge while doing it, as a search of ways to understand our collective body, questioning the symbols, imaginaries and stereotypes of a national identity.

Year: since 2019.
Description:
project in process. 

 

> Photos of unweaving flag encounters (different years).

> Sound records of a conversation held while unweaving the flag.

Simultaneously, I've been creating an archive associated to this symbol and its diverse materiality, gathering documents about the history of its colors, stories that tell the first times it was waved, as well as texts from the country independence that reflect the colonial and violent bases of this symbol uses.

These bases are still alive in some current imaginaries and in the state violences that have occurred since then (the imposition of an idea of territory is a mirror of the things that are left aside). For this reason, I've been incorporating recent documents into the archive, such as news about the government's inefficiency in the face of the Mocoa avalanche, in southern Colombia; stories about the banana plantation massacres made by the Colombian army at the beginning of the 20th century; and posters from the 1950s-1980s in which political elites referred disparagingly to the use of ancestral drinks and the cultural practices associated to them. 

 

I combine and intervene those documents, giving them another life through graphics, poetics and material explorations. I'm making different visual compositions, such as a series of textures, a cartography that reformulates the etymology of the word Colombia (directly associated with Christopher Columbus) and a series of typographic posters based on the word country. To produce them, I want to combine textiles and printing, either printing and embroidering the flag, or using graphic compositions as knitting patterns. Also, in flag-unweaving encounters I've used these images and archives as tools to motivate the action and the conversation.

 

One of the material explorations was a book that I made printing some of these interventions on two discolored Colombian flags, folding them after as booklets. For the exhibition "Tentativas, exposición contingente" in Complutense University of Madrid (2023), I displayed the book on a table with the frayed threads that have resulted in the lag-unweaving encounters. Attendees could see, touch and rearrange the material as they wanted.

I picture an installation made with this archive, the unwoven threads and the audio records of the conversations. 

>Tentativas collective exhibition, UCM (2023).

> Archive in process. 

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