Antigone, diary of rituals N.4

At the End, the Beginning

Lara, Venezuela 2012

Antigone, diary of rituals N.4: At the End, the Beginning 2014

HD video, audio, split-screen, single-channel 10:51Camera and performative action: Livia Daza-Paris, Eliana González (girl)Editors: Xi Feng, Alba Daza
This work is part of my physical poems as interventions in Lara, Venezuela. They commemorate the disappearances, including of my father, caused by state violence in the 1960s during the insurgency movement. These rituals transform isolated mourning into a public activity as gestures of care across time and make claims to non-official history.  ~
Created with support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Alcaldía de Morán in Lara, and Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Cultura de Venezuela. Special thanks to Rori Knudtson, Aurora Del Río, Eliana González (girl in the video), and the González family in Anzoátegui, Lara, for their hospitality and support in the creation of this work. 

At the End, the Beginning 

Part One 

Photos: Livia Daza-Paris
On my last days in Lara, Venezuela, in May 2012, I arrived near the area where my father, Iván Daza, was days before he was ambushed and politically disappeared in January 1966. The prominent mountain seen in the images was a camping zone for Brigade 21, of which he was a member. From this place, he traversed north on foot towards the hamlet of Cocorote. He departed on New Year's Day. Twenty-three days later, he was politically disappeared. 
The above images are from Part One of this last ritual action. The mountain named El Diablito is in the background. The artist Aurora del Río, gave me actions for its creation, which came to her in a dream. Following these instructions, I buried my legs, took the ashes already on the ground, and drew wings around my legs with the ashes. Below is what she wrote to me on April 26, 2012: 
  1. Haz un hueco y entierra tus piernas hasta las rodillas. 
  2. Riégalas con cariño acariciándolas. 
  3. Cuando salgas, cierra el hueco que dejaste y dibuja un ala en la tierra. 
Nota: Livia, esta acción me salió cuando estaba medio dormida... y      te ví cumplirlas además! —Aurora del Río

At the End, the Beginning

Part Two

Photos: Eliana González, Livia Daza-Paris
The above images are from Part Two of this last ritual action, which took place by the foot of the mountain in the hamlet of Anzoátegui in Lara. The spontaneous and playful help given by Eliana—a girl from this valley—allowed me to accomplish my last task: to bury myself in the place of my father.Artist Rori Knudtson gave the actions in this ritual. I followed them as much as possible even though I hesitated to lie on the earth, knowing the abundant snakes and scorpions in the area. The following is what she wrote to me on April 17, 2012:
I think my actions may be a bit extreme, but all the same, the gestures are necessary. I do believe for a woman who uses her body to express and all the while lost the body of her father. You return to your motherland (or fatherland) as a gesture and action in and of itself. This brave journey alone is, at moments, cathartic as I can imagine. Please do this for me as I do this for you, as I too, never recovered my father’s body. And I continually try to reclaim some physical void within my very core that lost the sensation of his hand on my back or the safety of his arms in moments of sorrow and strife.
Act one Find a place to reside and dig a hole the height of your father horizontally. Wet the soil with water. Document this.
Act two Once the hole is complete, take off your clothes and lay in the earth, feeling the soil in cracks and crevices. Cover yourself in this wet earth. Fall asleep there. Document this.
Act three When you awake, write down the first thoughts in your mind. And then scream as loud as you can until your voice cracks. Document thisRori Knudtson
For more information: Livia Daza-Paris, At the edge of the (far-) End: an event revealed through rituals. ELSE Journal for International Art and Creative Media Issue 01. Published by Transart. Editor Teobaldo Lagos Preller. Peer-reviewed article. January 2016.   ReviewsAlbeley Rodriguez:  La creación: un dolor trocado en vida vibrante Constanza Rogatis: Space Gallery: