Sacrificial Hearts/ Corazones Chuecos/ Unbricks, 2020-2022. Castings from adobe, clay, wood ash, and charcoal, all materials originating from my back yard. Decorated with beads, coins, nails, and other found objects either gifted or from around my household. Dimensions: Approximately 3 in x 6 in x 2 ½ in each.
During the pandemic, I started making things from my back yard. This included creating casting and firing hundreds of forms of anatomical hearts – about the same size as a human heart, all made from materials from my back yard. I call these objects by several names – unbricks, sacrificial hearts, and corazones chuecos.
This has been a practice of “thinking with things,” as well as a type of material intervention in how practices of making can algorithm the world around us. The hearts represent over two years of making, every day, and using this as a way of both relating to the land and materials around me, as well as thinking about the relationships between bodies and land.
In addition, because the forms of the hearts seem to echo the images of human sacrifice associated with the Mexica, the project has also become a meditation on the themes of balance and sacrifice. The Mexica sacrificed human blood to nourish Tlaltecuhtli – the “Earth Lord” goddess of the land. For them, the purpose was about balance and reciprocity – a non-binary duality in which there is an exchange relationship between the land and humans. However, there are also other/more possible views of “sacrifice.”
There are also the many sacrifices to US empire that have happened under colonialism. Throughout settler colonialism, generations of indigenous people in Ixachilan have been sacrificed to the cause of European settler colonialism – in order to claim land. Structural sacrifices (migrant deaths, family separations, etc.) are still very much built into the system that maintains the borders of nations. These sacrifices are also about land.
The hearts also make me think about the migrant sacrifice, where our sacrifice is to leave one land for another to make a livable life for ourselves. Sometimes, we sacrifice up to the point where the homes we left sometimes cease to be our homes. For migrants, we sacrifice to survive. Survival and loss are related for us, and land is also at the center of that.
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