This final event summons the research and explorations done around the two plants that are deeply imbedded in Mexican culture. In a workshop at the beginning of November, graphic translations were explored in co-creation between artists from Europe and Oaxacan visual artists and artisans. In the following weeks, works are produced that combine various techniques, arts and crafts, resulting in installations, graphic works and visual art pieces. The exhibition focuses on the process and the ongoing investigations rather than on finished products and art pieces.
With 'Nube de Oro' Christian Thornton and Bartaku investigate the subtle energetic and communicative properties of the agave power plant. This project brings glass and natural dye-based solar technology into relationship with the agave's living system. The agave has had a long and fragile relationship with humans, who have used almost all parts of the plant in some form - for textiles, paper, shelter, sowing, cooking and, most famously, for drinking (mezcal/'tequila') - and more recently as a biofuel. A distinctive feature of agaves is the dramatic way they end their lives. Depending on the species, they can live for anywhere between six and fifty years, and sometimes more. As agaves near the end of their lifespans, they sprout large stalks that grow from the core of the plant up to eight meters high. Powered by energy stored throughout their lives, adorned with flowers and seeds, this dramatic flowering can sometimes spark the same process in neighbouring agaves as well. After having transformed the landscape in this epic outburst of virility, the stalks collapse onto the now-shrunken and depleted leaves.
In the research gathering at FoAM Brussels, the ongoing explorations are presented together with first results of the marriage of glass work and photovoltaic cells. In a further step, the energetic sculpture will meet an agave at the plant garden in Meise, Belgium.
Fiesta de Maguey November take-off with Oaxaca-observaciones and encounters, towards the multi-facet acknowledgement of the Maguey plant.
There are also legends which say that this Virgin (or another female Saint, e.g. the Virgen de Juquila in some cases) manifested herself; appearing on top of a maguey plant. Jansen, M.; Van Der Loo, P.; Manning, R. (1988) Continuity and identity in Native America: essays in honor of Benedikt Hartmann
Brill Academic Pub. p. 185
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