The Witness at the Boundary Layer 2019Site-specific intervention at Buffalo Mountain, Banff, Canada.Declassified US documents on 1960s Venezuela.Caffenol developed and printed 35 mm photography film on photographic paper, fallen tree trunk and moss.

Ecologies of Poetic Forensics 

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 ‘ecologies of 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 Forensic Architecture.

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 witnesses 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. 

Livia Daza-Paris is a Venezuelan-Canadian interdisciplinary artist and researcher. She has degrees in Community Economic Development, and in Digital Technologies and Design Art from Concordia University and holds an MFA from Transart Institute. She obtained her teaching certification in Skinner Releasing (Dance) Technique in 2001 under the supervision of Joan Skinner. Daza-Paris is completing her Doctoral practice-based research in Art and Media at the University of Plymouth, UK. 

Her writings appear in journals such as Performance Research, VIS NORDIC, THEOREM and Project Anywhere. Daza-Paris’ work has been presented at renowned venues including Dance Theater Workshop and PS 122, NYC; DuMaurier Theatre, Toronto, Ruskin Art Gallery, Cambridge, UK; Tanzquartier Vienna, Austria; Alchemy Film Festival, Scotland; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Caracas; Optica Gallery, SBC Gallery, and invited by MAADI , at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.