“…I traveled to a high forest called Kashka Totoras, presumably where a bear lives, I went there to hear his roar but instead suffered altitude sickness. Next I came across the only banana stand in such a high remote area and a kind seller who was open to a 47 second exposure... I descended from that forest and walked through an area full of milky plants and cows doing what cows do, followed by a small procession of pre-carnival confetti and a standing virgin statue going around town. Some days later, I traveled east to a region familiar to me, I saw a healer cleansing a lady from afar and I was tempted to take yet another portrait of Mama Matilde in what she calls her living space, where she cleanses her patients and self. Towards the end of the week I descended to a small but rich forest at the mouth of the mountain and saw a person using the woods as a shortcut. Upon my return to San Miguel del Bolivar, and towards the night, I befriended some kids at the plaza and met a young man who had never drank coca cola or had a pizza, his skin glowed like a Hare Krishna at dawn or someone coming out of a vision quest. On my way to another region, where my time in the Andes ended, I captured a moment in the air and sealed the journey with Señor Francisco blowing fire from his mouth and giving thanks to the Taita Chimborazo….”
--Diary, week 5th of the year 2016
There is a propensity for the extraordinary to happen when one plays with the boundaries of what is possible. The spirit of the mountains reminded me not to take photographs, the instances I capture presented themselves, and my task is to ask permission to borrow them. Wonder, in the words of a Yachaj, is what fixes in the body life's sublimity and substance; thunders, tundra, rain, wind, plants are perceived to be members of the community.
This body of work gives agency to the collective genius of a community, creating rivers of stories within. Collaboration was born out of spontaneity and play, and the interventions by Julio were born out of curiosity to see how stories interwined and live together in one space.
The mouth of the mountain jaguar is the entrance to the vertebrae of a land that has witnessed, endured and lived through centuries of aesthetic colonialization to become again reseeded, embodied and reclaimed as a timeless dance/ relation with nature.
The cosmic particle that navigates in my blood
came to me after a long millenary road
when, perhaps I was the sand for the air’s feet.
Then, I was the wood, desperate root
sunk in the silence of a desert without water
later I was a snail who knows where
and the oceans gave me their first word
Then, the human form unfurled over the world
the universal flag of the muscle and the tear
and grew the blasphemy over the old land
and the saffron, linden, the popular song and the prayer
Then came to America to be born as a being
and in me I gathered the pampas, the jungle and the mountains
if one old plainsman galloped to my cradle
another one told me stories with his cane flute
I do not study the things or pretend to know them
I recognize them, since I lived in them before
I talk to the leaves in the midst of the bushes
and the secret roots reveal their messages
And I go around in the world with no age nor destiny
under the protection of a cosmos that walks in me
I love the light, the river, the silence, the stars
and I blossom from the guitars because I was once wood.
* The Mouth *
A child is born under the roof of dawn, a body pulled from darkness into the warm hands of his mother, we all awaited and aided.
Francisco brings gifts from the volcano and prays for his family with the smoke.
A land shaken by the wind creates the color of precious deep earth, skin ∆
Perla contemplates herself inside a flower.
Mama Celia calls the spirit on her left with her tauco to show her a vision.
A spirit priestess completes a ceremony and vanishes in the tail of the snake...
The marriage of the Yachaj and the Uma
...with a soldier as a witness, the Taita Chimborazo as the location and a spirit priestess as the minister.
Tiempo de carnaval