MASTER THESIS PERFORMANCE

The Golden Mask

 

I chose to create a visual questionnaire where

the emotions to choose from are symbolized

by self-designed emoticons. To create the

 

emoticons, I used the golden mask of Ecua-

dor as a template.

 

I wanted to use an ancient, very expressive

symbol of the country of my origin and mix

it with the contemporary symbols of social

media communication.

As social media has become widespread,

emoticons have played a significant role in

communication through technology, and

some devices have provided stylized pictures

 

that do not use punctuation. They offer ano-

ther range of "tone" and feeling through tex-

ting that portrays specific emotions through

 

facial gestures in the midst of text-based

 

cyber communication, as in pure text, fee-

lings can be ambivalent and misunderstood.

 

Or as they say in french: “C’est le ton qui fait

la musique.” :)

Since living in Switzerland, I experience a

certain homesickness about my origins.

In Europe, I am confronted every day with a

 

multitude of cultures and languages that en-

rich my life here as an artist. But being away

 

from where I grew up makes me remember

my childhood and the characteristics of my

country vividly, as when you travel, you

compare your “normal” with other “normals”

somewhere on the planet.

 

I’m trying to find a way of making a mea-

ningful artistic practice at the place I’m living

 

without losing my origins.

The golden Mask, that is also the symbol of

 

the Banco central del Ecuador has In-

fluenced my work since 2010.

 

This mask always fascinated me, it is the

symbol of the Incas’ God and it is always

made from gold.

The first time I heard about the conquest of

Ecuador was at primary school, when I was

thereabout in the third grade. It was during

a history class, and I was shocked when the

teacher told us that the foremost reason we

were conquered was a metal which was very

valuable to the Spanish conquerors.

One part of the lesson that I am not able to

forget is the torture and killing of the Inca

King:

The Spaniards sacked the Inca army camp

in which they found great treasures of gold,

silver and emeralds. Noticing their lust for

precious metals, Atahualpa, the King of the

Incas, offered to fill a large room 6.7 m long

 

and 5.2 m wide up to a height of 2.4 m once

with gold and twice with silver within two

months.

Despite that rather generous offer he was

executed by strangling with a garrotte on

26 July 1533, before the whole treasure was

delivered. Until today, treasure hunters are

searching for these legendary riches.6

In the region where hunters assume to find

this treasure, my father bought 80 hectares

of land. I hope to find the treasure on his

land one day ...

At that age, I was starting to comprehend my

origins. I was born in Quito where the Inca

 

King was tortured and ridiculed by the Spani-

sh conquerors.

 

My father is indigenous and my mother

comes from a Spanish family. I learned in

 

school about colonisation and started to un-

derstand that I have to deal with the fact that

 

I am the result of two cultures and languages.

I’ve always received five Sucres (currency of

 

Ecuador) from my parents for the bus trans-

port and for the breaks at school. Each Sucre

 

has this symbol of the Golden Mask on it.

The golden sun of the Central Bank of Ecua-

6 see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atahualpa#Pris-

on_and_execution

 

dor is an embossed golden plate with dis-

tinctive features of a human face, 60x40

 

centimetres in size, bordered with 44 rays

surrounding a representation of a serene

radiating face: eyes in the form of almonds,

aquiline nose, semi oval mouth slightly open,

as if to exhibit its teeth, small semi-circular

 

ears, with a hole in each of its auricles; prot-

ruding cheekbones; the hair corresponds to

 

three strands, from which strands of zigzag

rays are detached, which end in the heads of

snakes and in turn hold representations of

human heads. The gold mask weighs 284.4

grams.

 

As this mask has always evoked strong and

 

conflicting feelings in my life and symboli-

ses at the same time my past and the past of

 

my country, I decided to use it to create my

emoticons. When I see the mask, I am at the

same time reminded of my childhood and my

post-colonial self.1.3 The Golden Mask

Emoticons

 

 

 

 

My body, my pain, my

creation

 

Menstruation is painful. It makes you reali-

ze that you are a human being, trapped in a

 

body, ruled by the cycles of life. It reminds

me of my own mortality.

But the pain also makes me feel more alive

and more conscious about my body. I am not

only a ‘intellect’, I have a body and I have to

take care of it.

One day for example I carried a lot of heavy

things to my apartment. Today I am in pain.

This pain in my lower back is exactly the

same pain I feel when I have my period.

I normally think of dying on a theoretical

level, but when I am in pain or when I am ill,

it is more concrete, it becomes physical.

I usually isolate myself from others during

my period. I try not to make appointments or

too many plans.

Not only because I collect my menstrual

blood for painting, also because I’m very

emotional during these days. I see my own

blood, I’m in pain, I cry for no apparent

reason, I miss my daughter, my family in

Ecuador, I hate being a woman, I love being a

woman, I think about dying and that no one

 

will notice, let alone be there, I want to have

sex and am happy at the same time that I

don’t meet any lovers during these days.

I’m glad that my period only lasts one to

two days; when it is over, it feels like I am

reborn. I experience my menstrual cycle like

dying and living again.

Sometimes I would love to be a man, men

seem stable, not crazy emotional about dying

or blissful about living...

 

I comfort myself with the thought that it

might be boring to be a man after experi-

encing the crazy emotional rollercoaster of

being a woman...

 

 

 

Master Performance at the Museum PasquArt

Biel - Switzerland

June 2018

Master Performance at the Museum PasquArt

Biel - Switzerland

June 2018

 

 

 

 

 

It would be a tremendous challenge for me to

go to my studio on the day of my period.

To paint with my menstrual blood on that

very day. I have to try it one day. I say that

now, as I am not on my period.

 

Today I feel that I am the adventurous wo-

man who can cross borders without a pas-

sport. But I know that my emotions will

change completely on the day my period

starts...

I also associate menstrual blood with the

baby I will never ever have again.

My experience of being a foreign woman and

artist in Switzerland is somewhat traumatic.Maybe if I had submitted myself to the sys-

tem a little more I would still have custody

 

over my daughter.

If I had stayed with my daughter’s father and

lived as he and his family wanted, they might

not have fought in order to take my daughter

away from me.

If I had not chosen to study performance art,

my ex might not have left me.

I only reflect... If I would have acted in a

way that men and institutions expect from a

woman, especially a foreign woman, would I

still be with my daughter?

My psychologist told me, after they took my

daughter away, that pretty woman and artists

still have a difficult time.

It felt good that she thinks I’m beautiful, she

knew exactly how to make me feel better.

I guess there are lot of social codes here that I

don’t fully understand as a female artist with

a diverse background. I don’t adapt to social

codes easily. Since my childhood I am used

to be open towards different cultures, as they

exist in my closest family. It would be nice to

find this openness wherever I try to live...

 

 

 

 

 

I chose to create a visual questionnaire where

the emotions to choose from are symbolized

by self-designed emoticons. To create the

 

emoticons, I used the golden mask of Ecua-

dor as a template.

 

I wanted to use an ancient, very expressive

symbol of the country of my origin and mix

it with the contemporary symbols of social

media communication.

As social media has become widespread,

emoticons have played a significant role in

communication through technology, and

some devices have provided stylized pictures

 

that do not use punctuation. They offer ano-

ther range of "tone" and feeling through tex-

ting that portrays specific emotions through

 

facial gestures in the midst of text-based

 

cyber communication, as in pure text, fee-

lings can be ambivalent and misunderstood.

 

Or as they say in french: “C’est le ton qui fait

la musique.” :)

Since living in Switzerland, I experience a

certain homesickness about my origins.

In Europe, I am confronted every day with a

 

multitude of cultures and languages that en-

rich my life here as an artist. But being away

 

from where I grew up makes me remember

my childhood and the characteristics of my

country vividly, as when you travel, you

compare your “normal” with other “normals”

somewhere on the planet.

 

I’m trying to find a way of making a mea-

ningful artistic practice at the place I’m living

 

without losing my origins.

The golden Mask, that is also the symbol of

 

the Banco central del Ecuador has In-

fluenced my work since 2010.

 

This mask always fascinated me, it is the

symbol of the Incas’ God and it is always

made from gold.

The first time I heard about the conquest of

Ecuador was at primary school, when I was

thereabout in the third grade. It was during

a history class, and I was shocked when the

teacher told us that the foremost reason we

were conquered was a metal which was very

valuable to the Spanish conquerors.

One part of the lesson that I am not able to

forget is the torture and killing of the Inca

King:

The Spaniards sacked the Inca army camp

in which they found great treasures of gold,

silver and emeralds. Noticing their lust for

precious metals, Atahualpa, the King of the

Incas, offered to fill a large room 6.7 m long

 

and 5.2 m wide up to a height of 2.4 m once

with gold and twice with silver within two

months.

Despite that rather generous offer he was

executed by strangling with a garrotte on

26 July 1533, before the whole treasure was

delivered. Until today, treasure hunters are

searching for these legendary riches.6

In the region where hunters assume to find

this treasure, my father bought 80 hectares

of land. I hope to find the treasure on his

land one day ...

At that age, I was starting to comprehend my

origins. I was born in Quito where the Inca

 

King was tortured and ridiculed by the Spani-

sh conquerors.

 

My father is indigenous and my mother

comes from a Spanish family. I learned in

 

school about colonisation and started to un-

derstand that I have to deal with the fact that

 

I am the result of two cultures and languages.

I’ve always received five Sucres (currency of

 

Ecuador) from my parents for the bus trans-

port and for the breaks at school. Each Sucre

 

has this symbol of the Golden Mask on it.

 

The golden sun of the Central Bank of Ecua-

6 see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atahualpa#Pris-

on_and_execution

 

dor is an embossed golden plate with dis-

tinctive features of a human face, 60x40

 

centimetres in size, bordered with 44 rays

surrounding a representation of a serene

radiating face: eyes in the form of almonds,

aquiline nose, semi oval mouth slightly open,

as if to exhibit its teeth, small semi-circular

 

ears, with a hole in each of its auricles; prot-

ruding cheekbones; the hair corresponds to

 

three strands, from which strands of zigzag

rays are detached, which end in the heads of

snakes and in turn hold representations of

human heads. The gold mask weighs 284.4

grams.

As this mask has always evoked strong and

 

conflicting feelings in my life and symboli-

ses at the same time my past and the past of

 

my country, I decided to use it to create my

emoticons. When I see the mask, I am at the

same time reminded of my childhood and my

post-colonial self.

Master Performance at the Museum PasquArt

Biel - Switzerland

June 2018

The colour of blood

 

I like to research about my blood in different

stages, as a fluid, as a solid, the different

colours it becomes in different stages of the

period. I like to see if the blood takes on

different colours, shapes or if my emotions

differ towards it.

 

Maybe my affection towards these paintings

differ depending the day of my cycle.

I want to use the blood , one month of my

circle blood in some paintings and other

paintings with the old menstruated blood.

 

Maybe it makes also a difference for the vie-

wers?

 

To create paintings with the blood of my

different stages as a human female body is a

new goal I want to achieve. For that I use a

hormone analyser. To follow the stages of the

female cycle.

Feminist artist like Cindy Sherman, Tracey

Emin, Judy Chicago , Janine Antoni have

also used body fluids and period blood for

their artistic practices.

I don’t consider my work with body fluids

as a feminist statement. It is important for

me to share my point of view that there is

 

nothing to be ashamed of about the fema-

le body, the fluids, periods and emotional

 

changes due to the hormonal cycle the body

undergoes.

Being a woman is natural and precious, that’s

how I was taught by my indigenous family

members.

The indigenous of Ecuador consider the

body of a women and a female animal as

something very precious and there is nothing

to be ashamed of, it’s sexuality is good and

necessary for the animals in order to have

babies, the same applies to humans.

 

 

 

I know that for the catholic family of my mo-

ther, the female body is not special, women

 

have to do what men tell them to do, and they

have to cover their bodies to go to church. If a

woman has her period she should never talk

about it in public.

According to Judith Butler , the (western)

woman is a product of (Christian) religion.

The woman came from Adam, so she is an

hybrid made of a man. The patriarchal power

is made by Christianity and gender identity is

made by patriarchal systems.

The religion of the Incas, which is part of

my cultural imprint, knew many goddesses:

Pacha mama (the earth) Mama Cocha (the

 

sea), Mama Quilla (the moon), and Urpay-

huachac (goddess of fish and seabirds).

 

For the Incas women were never part or a

hybrid of a man. Women are the creation

of live (the earth). And men are the father

figures (the sun). Both are necessary in order

to maintain life in this world. Incas prayed to

both equally.

 

19 Judith Butler: “Why Bodies Matter” – Gender

Trouble | Full Conference

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzWWwQDUPPM and:

Judith Butler | Gender Trouble | Foucault and Feminism

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRqCWFXvixA

 

20 http://historiaroldelamujer.blogspot.ch/2010/11/el-

rol-de-la-mujer-durante-el-incanato.html

 

http://universalis.mforos.com/1736081/9378501-lie-

wers?

 

d Feminism

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRqCWFXvixA

 

20 http://historiaroldelamujer.blogspot.ch/2010/11/el-

rol-de-la-mujer-durante-el-incanato.html

 

http://universalis.mforos.com/1736081/9378501-la-mujer-

inca/fd

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