My practice develops new frameworks to investigate nonofficial history and political disappearance in Cold War-era Venezuela as a felt experience. This is explored through a process I call ‘poetic forensics’ that stems from my Skinner Releasing dance background and from Indigenous knowledge. With attunement methods using kinaesthetic sensing and Indigenous knowledge, I propose that my process of poetic forensics contributes to the new field of ‘investigative aesthetics’ identified by Matthew Fuller and Eyal Weizman, researchers with the Forensic Architecture agency.
Poetic forensics brings together poiesis from the Greek ‘to make’; ‘to bring something into being that did not exist before’; and forensis from the Latin as public discussion, ‘pertaining to the forum’. This process considers ‘more-than-human’ beings—understood here within Indigenous discourse—as witness to state violence. The inference is that the more-than-human has agency (Kichwa 2015, Kohn 2013) and thus participates in a ‘politics of witnessing’ (Derrida 2000).
The processing and interpreting of primary sources, personal essays, archival materials and poetic testimony, create textual and moving-image counter-narratives to official history. I experiment with temporality, participatory art and long-duration, performative on-site interventions as decolonial strategies. Drawing from decolonizing methodologies (Tuhiwai-Smith 2021), I suggest that ‘improvisational forms of assembly’ (Butler 2015), enacted with human and more-than-human participants, can exert political agency with emancipatory potential to subvert life-negating power structures that enforce disappearance.