Duelos / Mourning (2019)
In a country where many events remain unfinished, where the air is loaded with hope, frustration and shattered memory, I present in this space, the work Duels as a moment that crosses events and stories of the present and past times from a persistent action that before the disappearance, we face impenetrable, heavy and immense layers. By proposing to generate a moment of public mourning as the central axis of the work, I produce a polyphony of image and acoustic vibration, between space and time full of silent stories about to speak, absent choirs and traces in fall of the individual and collective before frustrated excavations in the Escombrera area, Comuna 13, Medellín. Duelos is a video installation work of nine images in synchrony that, together with three sound levels, embrace the room and evoke an endless duel that continues to happen in Colombia due to forced disappearance. The Search book is on the table to receive testimonies of mourners for forced disappearance. I invite your writing. It is a document that will remain in the Fragment archives.
"A relentless murmur whispers without saying anything, seemingly rising from the earth as it gradually begins to shift under our feet—shaking with the rhythms of the mumbling voices, as if heeding their injunction to unbury, to remove, to scratch the earth that hides the bodies for which this choir of voices is calling. Suddenly, these voices are overshadowed by a thundering noise: in videos that are now projected on the walls we see a dump truck about to unload its contents on that lifeless mountain, and we hear the sudden, clattering sound of debris falling on the heap followed by the sound of rubble falling on rubble, piling layer upon layer of waste. Likewise, these layers of noise now pile over the sound of the voices, preventing us from understanding what they might be saying beneath the mountain’s deafening clamor. As the projections multiply—first one, then two, and eventually one for every wall in the room—one cannot help but feel surrounded by this tumultuous and repeated collapsing, crashing, and booming through which the work aims perhaps to create an audible counterpart to the experience of silencing it speaks about.
With this installation Echeverri has found a way to invest disappearance with a body and a voice, a sound of its own. Walking into that dark room is like entering the digestive apparatus of Colombia’s ghastly state and parastate system that has fostered the atrocious crime of forced disappearance. As we stand in the middle of the room—assuming we are able to stay on our feet: the feeling of dizziness is unavoidable—we feel little by little how these bodies that we do not see, but that we know are lying there, beneath our feet, around us, are “digested,” as if there were a gigantic stomach churning and revolving us as it tries to cast from itself what it has decided to brand as disposable—dispensable, killable".
Duelos doesn’t contain an argumentative narrative but a dramaturgy. The piece begins with projections on the floor of the site. Duelos tries to communicate the sensation of the smallness and impotence of the spectator before the enormous scale of the mountain-cemetery that inhabits the exhibition space with visual and auditory images. The sound and the penumbra set a tone of gravity that, despite the size of the projections, manages to move the work away from any association with a show. The smoky ground creaks and seems to contain something that moves. This ‘telluric pain’ is accompanied by murmurs, whispers, snippets of words and phrases that are barely enunciated. Cascades of voices fall like broken glass, pieces of life that are broken forever. Placed symbolically at the base of the mountain, watching the rubble roll towards us, we can ask ourselves: How do we talk about the disappeared person? Any conclusive answer remains elusive, yet we can venture to give one: with our emotions tightening inside.