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Palimpsest or the art of stitching with words

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Fixed Media embroidery installation + quadraphonic live performance

Palimpsest: “noun- A manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, that has been written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely scraped off or erased and often legible.” (

Palimpsest, or the art of stitching with words, is a live performance and embroidery installation about embodying the unsaid. The unspoken, the unvoiced, remains like fragments of a ruptured language inside of us. When something devastating happens, words cannot reach, and what is left unpronounced, echoes in our interiors like a never ending vibration. Palimpsest is a performance of that vibration. It is a story about those words, a fissure, a chaotic narration about oscillating within all the things we could not name.

On September 19, 2017, an earthquake hit Mexico City. There was ruble, and fragments of memories everywhere we went, there was death, and silence. We became aware that we share the same scar, and when we see the crevices on the walls of our homes, when we hear the seismic alert resonating in our ears, we understand that we exist in this fragile, common language of oscillating disturbances. The external earthquake, the tremors, became our ghosts, they became internal palpitations that speak from within: a new dialect of broken things and absence. Trauma.

Palimpsest is an exercise of performing these broken pieces, represented as fragments of a film script, written just days after the earthquake hit. It is an act of defying, re-writing, re-naming. A film script is generally meant to be performed in front of an omnipresent eye. This script is interpreted without its visual composition, taking the listener in an almost blindfolded sonic experience, it invites imagination in. When our city was understood in a new semiotic of dust and debris, we were blindfoldedly picking up the remnants of our identity, listening to the voices underneath the chaos. This piece has the purpose of passing such blindfold to others.

Palimpsest proposes naming these vibrations as a way of stitching the wound, stitching with words, articulating the unsaid, verbalizing the internal tremor that was left as a fissure inside, and that becomes sublimated with the cracks on the walls of our broken city. In this way, the work presents itself as a hypertext, portraying the intertextual relations between the voice, the oral and the written, the sutured: weaving trauma through language, renaming and reminiscing.

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