Part of home art residency Casa Lucas Alamán, Mexico City.
9 Strata (la desintegración de mi amor)
Transfer of memories through microorganisms by touch from pre-hispanic ceramics and human cadaver: hair, feces, fluids, and other wastes and cultivated into Petri dishes.
During my residency at Casa Lucas Alamán, a 1900s home located in the historic center of Mexico City, the head of household, Doña Isabel, passed away at the age of 85. Isabel lived in the house since childhood and spent the last years of her life there, survived by her niece and grand-nephew.
9 Strata is a piece dedicated to Doña Isabel and the house, using the same process of transferring microorganisms by touch from my previous works. I cultivated bacteria from the sheets Isabel slept on and fluids that permeated in them, her feces remains inside the stool seat and diapers, and her hair found on the pillows. Memories are held and transferred into Petri dishes through microorganisms, not just from her body but of the home—her room she passed away in, its walls, the atmosphere also contains this medium and life. The house lives and rots, flies invade the cultivating Petri dishes to give birth to larvae and smells linger of Isabel weeks after her passing. A person's death opens up many doors leading into invasive energies and other-worldly entities (demonic, malicious forces, cosmic and spirit). This often requires a cleansing to rid of any lingering extra-spectral frequencies. On the contrary, I do not "clean" the home but instead cultivate those energies left behind, a type of "bacteriomancy", or divination of memory through microbes. Isabel's personal pre-hispanic collection of jade beads and ceramics are also used to cultivate their microorganisms in the same Petri dishes, mixing different strains of Isabel's memories and the memories brought by the ancient artifacts.
"The underworld consisted of 9 strata through which the dead would journey for four years. On the way, they had to overcome various obstacles and dangers. They gradually lost their flesh and then all their material properties until they reached the pure state known as tonnali (the soul)."
- Codex Ríos
9 Strata reinterprets the nine layers of the Nahuatl underworld, alongside the various stages of decomposition.
APANHUIYAO YZMICTLAN APOCHCALOCA