Black El Dorado (We are the earthquake) 2021
charcoal, pyrite, two channel video
Commissioned for Rethinking Nature
Courtesy of the artists
Iki Yos Pina Narváez and Jota Mombaça’s work Black Eldorado (We are the earthquake) positions the human body as a site of extraction by combining images of endoscopic oral exploration with footage showing gold mining operations in Brazil and Venezuela. The second film documents the crafting of a belt made with pyrite, also known as ‘fool’s gold’. Pyrite mixed with charcoal forms the sentence ‘The earthquake is intact’, that stretches across the red of the installation’s floor, evoking the presence of an indigenous land, while the black wall activates the presence of esú, the Afro-diasporic entity of movement, transformation and communication. The artists reactivate knowledge of the earth, while also calling up a trickster figure that flashes ‘fool’s gold’ in the face of the invader. Pyrite is a talisman that protects the indigenous from the settler and is encrypted in the artists’ speculative and geopoetic approach: they suggest that there is no division between the passive and the active, between subject and matter, insinuating a residual time that emerges from the fractures of the earth.
Black El Dorado (We are the earthquake) is a poethical and political speculative exercise on the intricate relation of black-indigenous bodies, the constitution of the geological regime of modernity and the radical fugitivity of Pyrite (Fool’s Gold). We believe that, by experiencing our bodies as ancestral matter, we are able to articulate the dense and violent histories of extraction that are inscribed in the colonized land, as well as to connect with the infinite potential for healing and earthly resilience that form our anti-colonial lifes and desires. In this sense, we are interested in ways of reading colonial narratives through its breaches, looking for deviant forms of agency that challenge modern-colonial conceptions of time, nature and power.