Is there healing without memory?
Do we recognize our foundations?
a history founded on forgetfulness is damned to its continuation.
a history founded on forgetfulness invigorates epistemes that for long should be buried.
a history founded on expropriation is a living cycle grounded on debt.
Beyond tragedy, the sea is also a place of healing.
Materials: glass shards, glass dust, silk, and gold
The work lavada pelo mar is a narrative that unfolds from my search for understanding the recent rise of authoritarianism in Brasil; a visual manifesto that attempts to address some facets, among many, of our present. Although officially sustained as a democratic choice, the present authoritarian regime in Brasil, as I interpret it, has been a means, or a political instrument, for the refreshment of what has structured our past : namely, a renewel and intensification of neoliberal dependent capitalism, a continuation of never buried colonial epistemes.
By locating our present events in a spiral thread of historical processes, in a country that never actually comprehended and digested its own history, it is undoubtful that the same subjects that have been historically and forcefully sustaining and paying with their lives for the advent of coloniality, for coloniality to give birth to capitalism, for capitalism to be reinforced and reproduced through imperialism, are the same subjects that without a choice sustain advanced capitalism today. The present and intensified authoritarianism in Brasil brutally reinforces and intensifies this never ending expropriation of life, specially of black and indigenous subjects.
Hence, departing from the recognition of our present existence as founded on a history of expropriation, our existence is inexorably grounded on debt. Incommensurable debt. Throughout centuries, as expropriation accumulated, debt also accumulated.
Thus, the visual narrative proposed by lavada pelo mar is a manifesto for reparations. As so many of us exist in historical debt, incalculable debt, for ceasing the reproduction of this deadly past, reparation for the direct violence of coloniality seems to be the merest our present can offer for the processing of our own history.
Luíza Bastos Lages is an artist and architect from Itabirito, Brazil. Luíza holds a professional degree in Architecture and Urban Planning (2013) and is currently a master’s candidate at the Program Art, Culture and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2020).
Through what she calls ‘sensible constructs’, her practice proposes narratives that merge quotidian life, ruination, and memory. Her work combines poetry, sculptural objects, and minimal videos - as a resonance of her body in performative acts. Through these works, Luíza attempts to weave sensible responses to conjectures that unfold from a colonial past and an imperialist present, politics of extraction and erasure of humans and more than human-beings. Thus, departing from her embodied experience and subjectivity, her work seeks to address broader political landscapes and collective trauma, especially related to the recent rise of violent authoritarianism in her home country, Brasil. Her most recent projects poetically address extraction and transnational privatization of forms of life merely seen as material resources; as well as the tentative erasure, by the current Brasilian government, of bodies that challenge predefined social expectations.