Dear Claudia and Ricardo
Where is home? Where do I want to strike my roots? I am not forced to migrate, I can. Am I different somewhere else. Feeling strange at home, being a stranger somewhere else.
I live in Zurich, german part of Switzerland. My migrational experiences are three years living in Geneva, french part of Switzerland, one year in Amsterdam and one year in the USA. I believe I have my roots where I live now, making it home is still sometimes hard. I don’t feel like a maggot in a fat piece of bacon yet…
Maedli (maggot) carved from mother-of-pearl.Later it turns out to be a beautyful fly, maybe with butter? And then it’s over.
Where is home? I don’t know. But I’m deeply enjoying Santiago right-now.
I used to live in Melbourne and I did some time in Paris and Valparaiso.
Roots? mmmm… people!!! friends and family.
Language? Chileno (a very special way of Spanish, cachay?)
Background: boring lawyer for few years, some research on philosophy and lots of atelier hours. Kind of migration, maybe.
I’m going to Amsterdam in 2 weeks time, if you have time would be great to meet you personally
Ricardo or Nano, as you prefer.
Dear Claudia and Nano
I am glad to know that you feel at home in Santiago. As I read on your website you’re interested in identity, local or global, in your work. It is an aspect that also important for my work. Identity and migration are linked to each other. For example Italian secondos (second generation immigrants – they are born in Switzerland and their parents have emigrated formerly) are called Italians in Switzerland and Swiss in Italia. Immigrants are a constant topic in the media of Switzerland. Some Swiss feel threatened and think that if one minarett is built in Switzerland, the country is going to be islamic very soon. How is the situation in Chile. If there are immgrants, where do they come from? Where do Chilean emigrate to?
Food has also a lot of identitygiving aspects (man ist, was man isst – you are, what you eat) or (was der Bauer nicht kennt, frisst er nicht – what the farmer doesn’t know, he won’t eat): let’s take the potato for example. It has its origins in South America (Chile, Peru, Bolivia). It came to Europe around 1500. In Switzerland the Rösti, made from potatoes is now a national dish. Two months ago I attended a dinner made by the artist Arpad Dobriban (www.arpad-dobriban.de) with the topic: the endless migration to the west – it was about aliment-itinarys. What are national recipees of Chile?
The following is a picture of a work of Fischli/Weiss, it’s called “Der Unfall” (the accident) made with cervelat, a tipical Swiss sausage (made with brasilian cowgut).
i was quite away from the blog because the flesh-blood-tools world is being a bit busy.
i agree meals can tels us a lot about migrations and building identities.
at the south of chile we have the delicious ‘curanto’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curanto
, which is a community event that brings people together. I’ve been in a few and the experience was amaizing and both belly and heart very nurturing.
very interesting is the fact that there could be strong relations across the pacific ocean on linking and maybe populating or connecting this part of the globe whit the other side of the pool (i love to think that and i love to think about the south idea). pacific islands has this same way of cooking and sweet potato also… something to go deeper soon.
now, after having the belly full, i would like to be more critical about our social structure and identity here in chile, which is home for me now.
i apologize if the text is a bit messy and unorganized, but i’ll try to do it allright.
we are a post-colonial nation still defining and constructing our own identity.
we have received many immigrations by the time, which has created what i think i am: a mestizo, a mix (which now is not just the clasical aproach native-spanich).
but we haven’t got this races-melting-pot very fairly .
talking about the gray area, and the gray color could be very useful for discuss about it. As mainstream, we chileans tend to think in the cheapest approach to printing: using the draft possibility in black and white. you will understand that soon.
if you ask anyone about the tension of races here, all people tend to say that we are very tolerant and so on.
but we are not. actually, we don’t talk about ‘blackness’ because we are not used to have much african immigration (and obviously it is not polite to say black as race… but we say ‘negrito or negrita’ as a very warm nickname… love paradoxes).
i remember when i was a kid walking with my grandma in downtown and all people was tourning to see to the same direction… it was a black guy walking and all people was pointing out him, just because he has a different skin color. the situation has not improve so much by the time.
now, having chile a quite strong economy and stable politics, a lot of central and south americans are immigrating here. and we are not the most friendly people with immigrants, not event with our closers foreigners. chileans are getting more and more arrogant about how chile is developing overwieing and discriminating specific nationalities us peruvians and bolivians. but in our mental structure we don’t have the classical racist association of ‘black-nigger’ (because the black immigration is very recent here), so because of that we tend to think that we are not racist.
but we are very racist with brownish-skin-people (that is our approach to the anti black racism)… which is very stupid: we are brown all of us! (and we have already a quite dirty races-history).
pretty obvious is the next comment, the mainstream is quite willing to reciev european immigration or to say that we have european blood, better if they have whitish skin (a very used joke is ‘mejorar la raza’ – to improve the race… so the other saying is quite right that ‘entre broma y broma la verdad se asoma’ – between jokes the truth appears).
on the top of that, us a country we have a very unrepresented and discriminated native cultures (we allowed to get cultures exterminated, land robbed, names forgotten, natives exported to human exhibitions, using anti-terrorist laws for put the in jail and so on).
other important immigrations are oriental people in the north (and now in all the country), people from balcans both in the north and south, and germans in the south between many others.
so, for putting easier, we are not just walking the gray area in chile, but we all are gray (or brown)… but we want to be white…. that make sense to anyone? sure it doesn’t.
can the colors-pallete even not be just in the grays scale? can we be proud of the different migrations and respect them as contribution to this work-in-progress-identity?
i would like to tell you a bit more about our wide doble-estandar (double-standards) in a next post.
on the other hand, here is very active now in contemporary art (unfortunately not jewelry yet… but will be soon) with fair Chaco http://www.feriachaco.cl/
and the trienal http://www.trienaldechile.cl/
… at the fair i got very interested on the bolivian, peruvian and colombian galeries that were exhibiting at the feria… and a lot of people get interested on them too……….
could art be a useful tool to get more tolerance, curiosity and fairness for the “amigo cuando es forastero” (the foreigner friend)? or can art reflect the unfair situation and propose new paths of development or presence on the media?
it is a naive aim? i don’t think so.
(i would like to write that in spanish for get it clearer and better, but i rather ask to you your understanding about my basic english skills.)
Double-Standards? I am not sure if I understand right. You mean that on the one hand one congratulates himself for being tolerant when it is not hurting and being avaricious if it gets to the point to share the pie?
I don’t know if art can really change social problems. It can make you to start thinking about problems. It can hit weak points, it can shock. But who? Art consumers, fine art consumers are fom a small social class. But it is important to do art projects and to place them into society, even though you feel like Sysiphos. For example if you do projects with children, as I read in the internet, you train them to use their brains.
Do you consider yourself as an artist or as a jeweller? Or an artist jeweller, or an artistic jewellery designer or a jeweller maker without limits, or a wheterfishnorbird jeweller, an artist-in-jewellery. I am making jokes if I write these expressions. But sometimes I get confused by defining my job title. When is jewellery art? In my opinion an artistic object should make a statement to which anybody can rely to (the personal story of the artist is not anymore relevant). The esthetic criterias of the object are secondary, but must follow the content of the statement. I called my profession on my website “About jewellery”. Because I like to treat topics from the jewellery world, but I certainly don’t do jewellery that the mainstream recognises as jewellery. They often feel repelled from it. And jewellery attract? And if I act in such way I work more as an artist than a jeweller.Maybe it is also not so important, but this questions pops regularly up.
But getting back to the primary topic about migrational problems and how can art interact I must admit that my work is not very political, but I hope it has some socialcritic aspects.
To close or for dessert an image: I like the work of Ai Weiwei, also for the choice of his materials. I like if art is materialised and not exclusively intellectual.
Best wishes from Zurich! Natalie
Ai Weiwei “Descending Light”
I know it´s in Spanich… but let see what happend
hope your are good
happiest new year 4 you!!!!
i´m sendin the link of pics i wanna show you. i know, they are too many.
i´m writing some words 4 you, i will send them later.
all pics has been taken yesterday around 9 am at the mainsquare in santiago de chile or a block around it.
that´s my city, that´s my dowtown.
abracisimos (something like a huge hug),
7 january 2010
The last few months were absolutly exhausting (bot emotionally and phisically). We finish some works for a coming soon exhibition in Shangai, we moved to a new atelier, we got a boring law trail, and we participate in two ferias (fairs) that we really love to be here in santiago (4 weeks long together).
But, we have been thinking a lot about our conversation.
I think this calm way of discussing has been very fruitfull, and i think I can undestand a bit better all the thougt that have arised in the mean time.
Regarding your last post, i think you got the double standar situation (you can put on the top some very fast economic growth, a very anequal society, quiet catholic frame, nationalism, the macho situation and a not so good futbol… anyways, we are on the World Cup
Definitions are not something that really interesting me more than what I need to put in my bussness card, applications for fundings or quiet interesting and funny jokes. I work in very different fields and i think we can leave some work to theorits, curator, sealer people, audiences and so on (pastelero a tus pasteles… I don’t know how to say that in english).
Anyways…. I´m posting now 2 draft that i saved on the web site before but i didn´t have the time to read them againg for being happy with them. So now, I´m putting them on our web space.
And afterward I wold like to show you some pics that i took today on my first hands on day after the huracan.
Another text is added also at the end.
Pd: I would be very thanksfull if you say me more why you have choosen the pics-artworks
16 September 2009
Hope you are doing great.
I haven’t been really active on the blog (the flesh world is being a bit busy now at the workshop).
I arrive few hours ago to Netherlands and i was thinking if migrating is related to countries… if so, borders are the important thing… but if so, the important stuff would be a kind of legal system or the amount of stamps someone gets on the passport related to the list of human rght that are really avalible for you. But I tend to think that migration is more about transformation…. a mutation in any kind.
Sure trespassing borders is a fruitful experience (i fell quite lucky, because all my traveling experiences has been on my choice and great moments) but trespassing personals borders is being more important now to me.
Being my work a collaboration process we are discussing how we like to mutate and in what direction or sense (i don’t think we can get to aimed that) and lots of energies are coming in and out here.
Anyways, countrie’s borders help me to look myself with more time (i got the atelier influenza – 24/7 working) and be able to think better and calmer.
In that context you can figure out that home is not the most important issue for me. Instead, mutating in any place is what I’m looking for.
hope you are doing great!
very interesting post.. it let met think about several things.
I can undestand you about your art´s view… to pretend that art can change social realities can be a bit naive, but its contribuition can provoque changes on our esthetics or reflections about the environment that we live in (whether as actors or spectator… but we become acttors anyway…. Don’t we?)
Art can adress the weeknesses of our societies or directly critice them. It seems for me to be very logical and an insteresting path for art (or let say creations, for not complicating to much the stuff).
Whether art must to be intelectual or not… I think there are all kind of tastes or trends or movements or movements or positions). But I belive that is not the only way to evaluate an art work.
I don’t think my work it is too intelectual, actually i dont think i´m too gifted on the human elucubration process. Deeper, lot of my work is related to the spanish term of artesania (wich tends to have less walking space than the english term craft… (it is a huge disscusion that I pass now). In chilean artesania the most important thing is the beauty of the object, or the exquisite teqnique or how cultural heritage a piece can carry it self, or the story of the artist or maker (so in chilean craft –traditionaly- there is no too much space for being too critical or too intellectual (and my “university” was that: chilean craft). Another part of my work is what we call here innovation in artesania realted to fashion (or just fashion design) where i´m not very critical either (well, sometime I am). But another part of my work is something that someone can denote art object or contemporary jewelry (well.. I’ll see if i can say that by the time) wich is directly more critical and some times intellectual about social situations that I want to pose my opinion.
I like all those branches of work, that’s why I do them.
So, regarding definitions again, being honest, I’m not interesting on picking one… I prefer to do the work that I want to do at this particular moment, or those ones that I can do (both buecause of time or lack of talent). And to try to achive them speack from them selves about my environment an me. I like, anyway the term contemporary jewelry: big enogh and small enough for drafting a kind of football field in wich more than 22 players, more than 2 reservas (again I don’t know haw to say it), more than 1 referee, losts of viewers or audiences, adverticers, thoricist, curators, buyers, sellers, fans, hims, etc. are playing togheter.
Of course for helping and trying to get better connections to and comunicating with the audiences I do use definitions as contemporary jeweler, craftman, maker, artist, designer, notfishnordog. Something like an ice breaker or something in that sense.
Regarding what art should do, I think that art can creates link with the audiences, links of the biggest or widest kinds… and I do belive that audiences are huge (absolutly bigger that those who can buy o sell art). Those links can be aesthetical, ethical, phisical, emotional, sexual, humoristic, etc…. and if the art work is beutifull it self I think is better (well, very complicated concept anyway).
I do like the way our conversation is developping… obvously not the most dayly one. maybe we can go on the digestif or some drink or for a cofee. But I think we are on our own spaces (are we today on the gray space? Or the table cloth is the gray one?)
8 january 2010-01-08
Have you seen de pics? I really enjoyed taken them for you.
I started on the north-west corner of the square. That’s because is popularly called little lima (peru’s capital). So I started doing pics and right away the guy pictured at the first photo started chating with me…
-Are you a professional photograf?
-Mmmmmmm, yes, I am (that is absolutly not true, I don’t know why I said that).
-And why are you fotographing those peruchos (something like nigger)?
It’s because I’m trying to get some info for an exhibition in mexico.
-What? You have to exibit here! The mexicans are the same like peruvians… they like party, don’t work, they are not clean people.
This guy is a street vendor that is working with his wife on the corner of the most old post building, selling post cards and papers for material-post (I started thinking about how far away I was in this electronic-conversation… and how the flesh anb blood one is trying to pop up).
After few minutes, a guy (I knew after that he was one of the most well known homeless on the square) saw me with a camera and started kissing the street seller. They are very close to each other (both giving advices about good life and about stop drinking). We got a huge lughing. Thet are really confident to each other.
Afterwards he said to me:
-Do you know where that holy virgin came from?
-From Peru! We got it from them, that’s why they sit here. But the virgin is now ours. That is fair!
(That was Santa Rosa de Lima (I have to check the story anyways)… afterwars a street vendor passed in front of me carring lot of red flowers on his head.
Actually they sit there because it is a way the get a deayly work (people in trunks pass by and ask for a number of people to work for little money).
After a while another person chown up (everyone was very very warm like being in a kind of friend’living room, I absolutly like that). Then we were 3 guys and both caracters starting making quite strong jokes about peruvian women (that’s why I told you entre broma y broma la verdad se asoma. Uuuuuu wasn’t really pleasant.
The rest of the pics are different jewerly shops (both products and tools-metal sold).
So, can my dear downtown relates discrimination to inmigrants, the seach of identity, jewelry production and new ways of wearability?
Do you think so?
Thanks for the good wishes!!!!
You got the poem! This little nice quartier has inmigration activity but no one discriminates inmigrants because every one is inmigrant, no one discriminates niggers because every one is nigger, no one discriminates chileans because every one everyone is chilean, no one discriminates citizens because every one everyone is citizen, no one discriminates women because every one is woman, and so one… it´s sounds like a nice quartier. Doesn´t?
I also lile the pics… they allowed myself to have a different view of main square… and have some time to just walk it calmly. I´m looking forward to see yours from Zurich (i haven´t been there – claudia has and she says it is extremly cold… socialy… she will write you about it soon – maybe you got the same feeling… you said something about people doesn´t talk to much to eachother in public spaces… or extrangers…)
Landcapes are very important things about remerber our origins countries… we felt similar when living in Melbourne… it´s was so flat… here in Santiago you always have the huge Andes Mountains on the East… and you can get en the beach in just one and haldf hour… I came back to Chile because some Santiago-nostalgia… was my first time feeling that)
I´m quite envious about you can see people playing petanque… i love to do so when living in Paris… chating with very good friends… made remember a lot my staying there.
I don´t want to be spoiled-boyish but i do love walk around in flip flops and t shit xD… anyways… it´s geting boiling here) (hope it´s no so freezing there).
The black statues…. The holy virgen ones are on the top the catedral… here people love tos ay that our virgen mother is wachting for us from sky… the most important church building here… as society we are very catholic… actually I think that´s is maybe one of the most powerfull frames. And I haven´t check yet the guy story about the santa rosa de lima… i let you know soon.
I didn´t made in porpuse the chabge from color to black and withe… maybe something apperead inconciously when I started picturing the jewelry tour… but it was more about just how beatifull b/w is, or maybe because the tool colors… i love jewelry tools…
All the best in your new atelier space… hope that gives you a lots of new inspirations… that happens a lot to me… working space are maybe the most important places in my life (love to work… i have to manage better that… more free time… i like it, anyway).
I´m intrigied about the metall-flatteners(walzes?)
Red and black! I love that matching colors!!! Here I´m working on different pieces with horse hair, horn, silver and coral on tose colors. But i don´t have any about the material-stuff for the wga work. Do you?
Interesting that you talk about your time in Uni at Holland… like remember what you were doing at that time… did you fell some home-melancholy at that time or was more about like racional approach about what is Swiss identity?
Two days ago I started looking at my old sketching books and i like some ideas that I found there… i will show you some later.
I just realizad that I saw one of your pieces at Shmuck 2009, I love the butherfly in shell and gold… i would love to know more about that piece. It´s has any relation with the maggot you post on your first wga one? Transformation?
How did you feel when watching Constantinescu´s film? Did you get any images about how Chile may changed over the time? I followed the link but didin´t got the film.
Our post adress is
Alonso de Cordova 3780
A summer warm hug, looking forward to get news from you,
hope you´re great
i sent to your mail few images of work-in-procces here in santiago de chile
Here I am again. Time is getting short, I know.
Just to answer your question about the picture I sent: There is no explainable intention about it, I was searching through the www and bumped over it and liked it. I think his work has jewellery-related aspects.
To go for a drink or a coffee it’s definitely a bit far, we live in different spaces, at least geographically, physically I don’t know. I even missed the chance when you have been in Europe. That reminds me of the following anecdote: I went for the premiere of the movie “Wätterschmöker” (weather-smeller), a film about old, traditional weather-prophets of a small valley in Switzerland. The premiere was shown in a nearby city, maybe a one our from there. But still one of the prophets said I am not going, it is too far away (of course he has never been to a foreign country).
What triggered me with this film was the contraste of people being able to read the weather forecast in the nature’s behaving, being so linked to the earth, but on the other hand denying the global warming, the fact of being not interested about the rest of the world. Globalisation versus regionalisation. My question is: do you have to think about the whole world, about globalisation if you live at one place, you spend your vacation at this same place, you don’t eat sushi, but regional products etc?
And that’s something I also want to point out: In this globalised world we are very interested in small, traditional, typical, regional topics (world-music, grandmother food, ethnic jewellery). By the way, for your sketches you are also referring to mapuche-jewellery.
I discovered a book by Iain Chambers about “Migrancy, Culture and Identity”. Very interesting, I will probably tell you more about it.
I picked this sentence from one of your posts because it fits perfectly to the piece I am doing for the exhibition. I will write you more about in an email, but that’s the phrase: “But I tend to think that migration is more about transformation…. a mutation in any kind.” Nano, 2009
Last, but not least, since you wrote more than one time about futbol and even compared it to jewellery, I got this image for you!
Sugarpearls United, 2005
My best wihes to you from cold and snowy Switzerland!
Finally three images of my city: 1. Close to where I live, 2. on my way, 3. view from my atelier.
Mestizaje - I Like this word. A good title. Where or what are the mapuche aspects in your scetches (I am not so familiar with mapuche jewellery)? Did they take over the catholic religion? As you can say that catholicism is the pioneer of globalisation…
what is your mix and Claudia’s mix? You are Chilean, homogen or heterogen?
The black madonna: Here is a link to a black madonna which lives quite close to Zurich, in Einsiedeln:http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/Schwarze_Madonna.jpg . I am not at all religiuos, not baptised which is on one hand sad because I don’t know many Christian stories, but I also really don’t have a link to the religiuos feeling. I thought a black madonna is unusual, but apparently there are many.
Money: Do you take coins because of the picture in it? Is it religious? Then money is holy.
Difficult to say something precise, but since you are in a postcolonial country the question of a national identity is certainly not so easy to define. But you’re trained of doing so. Switzerland is a country where people immigrate. This of course also changes the identity of a country, but we are not trained that much yet to accapt that we have to think about our identity with this new society. There is a sound bite: wir riefen Arbeitskräfte, und es kamen Menschen.” (We called workers and it was human beeings that came.).
I also started with my piece: I am carving maggots, lots of maggots from a shell to finally knot them to pearlchain, or maggotchain. Maggots as a symbol of metamorphosis, at a state which is not yet defined, awkward.
The shell comes from the ocean, probably somewhere in Asia, I bought it in Geneva, Switzerland, Now I am changing its shape in Zurich. It will finally show off in Mexico City and hopefully other destinations. Think local, act global, or the other way around.
Title: The necklace will be titled: “Made in Switzerland” (Made in German is maggot in English is larva in Spanish).
I am thinking about assigning each maggot to a different country. For each country I serach for the average monthly income. I calculate the time to fabricate one maggot and then I calculate for each country the worth of my work. To get the prize of the necklace I add all the sums. So in the end my piece has a global price. Well, I am not sure yet.
It’s just now that I discovered your post from January 12th in the gray mass of the blog. Since I am not daily checking it and you haven’t posted it in our account. Sorry!
So, there is more to say! As you probably saw, I posted extremely grey pictures of Zurich, I tried to shoot others, but no deers showed up. The coldness which is probably indeed not only weatherwise, but also socially implied, especially in wintertime. During the summer people are outside, at the lake etc. The sun is melting the coldness. It’s a different city. Now in winter you have to go to dubious, dim bars, you first let alcohol to warm your soul and loose your tongue for finally finding soulmates in such a cave. Melancholy.
Melancholy, loneliness are doubled-etched feelings. If melancholy and unfulfilled yearning would not exist, beauty and desire would be just half as powerful.
One says the russian soul is melancolic, maybe also the finnish (Nelli, what would you think?). Swiss? I would say hidden, because they work so much, there is no space for celebrating melancholy, you live it at home, alone with yourself. The Chilean soul? In Argentina there is Tango, a dance that celebrates melancholy (I like this dance very much and also do it myself). A dance that fits completely well to the topic of migration and identity.
In the context of melancholy I find it interesting that depression is becoming the number one illness in western society. At that point melancholy has lost its beautyful edge and despair is predominant. I wonder whether this accumulation is also because of feeling homeless. By migrating in any kind of way (geographically, mentally) you leave a home. Or as Stuart Hall says: “Migration is a one way trip. There is no home to go back to.” The noble goal is to find a home in this open space of travelling. Hard job!
But I drift apart! Anyway now I have to go for lunch, but I will be back!
Attached a picture of the mountain called “myth” in Switzerland, hey it’s sunny!
Tot ziens – Natalie
Thank you, I am pleased that you liked the butterfly. It is a very simple piece, sometimes I doubted it also for its simplicity and lightness (just as a butterfly). But I like the fact that by wearing it, the shape is changing and the hanging wings remind of a withered flower. With the body of work of the maggots I started later on, but of course it is not a coincidence. The maggots made of mother of pearl (a classical jewellery material) irritate and are disgusting and attractive at the same time. In a former work I worked with rabbit teeth – there it was inverse: the shape was nice, but a lot of people were rejected because they were teeth.
So, that’s for the moment!
Bye, bye. Natalie
how are you going?
we like your piece very much… interesting concepts and it is really beautifull. we will comment it a bit more later by mail.
we got the piece “Mestizo: por unas pocas monedas” (mestizo: just for few coins) done. I think a lots is a consecuence of our conversation, wich I really love. lot of doors have been opened and learning process have beeing so fruitfull.
i put a in-process pic also.
we haven´t got time to answerd your post, but some of your questions are answered on both the on the piece work and text sent to your mail.
looking forwardisimo to meet you personally.
warm hugs and thanks a lot for this experience!!!!
claudia and nano