La sangre, el río y el cuerpo

(The Blood, The River and The Body) 1990
Río Mapocho, Santiago, Chile

The pseudo-democracy, the pacts of silence, the Amnesty Law, the impunity regarding the violation of Human Rights, were the context.

From an organic vision of the city, I make a parallel between my body and the territory, between the blood and the river. Invoking from the water, as a vital principle, all its power of revelation of the body. I go from the water to the tears, from the water to the semen, to the vomit, to the urine, to the bile, to the blood ... I insert myself in the blood, I sink in its mystery, in its sign of pain, I stay in the river in its cloudy and frigid waves.

The action was specifically developed in the piece of land that results from a division of the Mapocho River in two arms at the height of the Pío Nono bridge. There, on the islet, I spread a white canvas 15 meters long by 2 meters wide, from east to west, thus following the course of the river. Then I nailed the canvas on its four ends, on the ground. The great white rectangle was the vertical presence, the abstraction of the stopped river.
I undressed under the bridge, then walked completely naked, with a canvas and white strings in my arms, there was absolute silence. I felt weightless ...

Near the extended white canvas, there was a metal pot (deposited in the ground) filled with animal blood from the Slaughterhouse, there I submerged another white canvas. When I lifted the canvas with the blood, I felt its unpleasant smell, its sticky texture, the cold, the imminent danger. All this happened in a secondary plane, the most essential thing was my feeling of absolute intensity and truthfulness.

Then I walked on the white canvas nailed, I stopped and began to wrap myself with the bloody canvas and tie me with the strings. Then I stretched out on the white canvas and remained there indefinitely ...

The Pío Nono Bridge had been filled with pedestrians who looked astonished ...

The red canvas that wrapped my body, referred to the extreme nakedness of the blood, which no longer circulates because the violence overflowed. Here appears the dead river in my body, as opposed to the river of the body of the territory, which circulates parallel to me. It is the blood of sacrifice, evidenced in my flesh, it is the blood that claims its contingency, it is the dark spill that spreads in the city, it is the blood of all bodies, of all rivers, of all the seas used by terror of State. At this point my own body went beyond its borders and became a social body, reincarnating in its virtue the horror of the violated bodies.

Photo-Documentation: Verónica Soto
Scroll to Top