That which is Invisible Carries Me
Art-Life Rituals for Radical Tenderness (11/11)

That which is Invisible Carries Me

The revolution is strong, its path is slow and its end is the same as that of a tree: to give oneself, be it in the form of shade or fruit, and to fight against the chainsaws that decapitate rooted bodies.

I ask permission from those who walk with me and make me stand, move and listen to the silence. This multitude runs in my blood and in the way I plant my thoughts/body in the world—they are intellectuals of the forest, visible and invisible.

Ay retsé myté ay krody ayby piwonhé. Ynatekié.

“The forest brings the strength of unity. Thank you.”

– Wisdom of the Dzubukuá kariri kipeá language,
shared by Dubo-hery Idiane Crudzá.
PDF deste artigo disponível em português aqui

I share through the smoke of the tobacco, the ink of the jenipapo and urucum,[1] the food that firms me, the water I drink and bathe in, the look in the eyes of my niece, how my mother cuts my hair and donates it to the yard, how my father separates the seeds to plant every year. It is from this place that I sprout, from the same soil that is good for planting corn, from the place where the sun licks the mandacaru.[2]  From the territory where the footsteps of the people are in rhythm with the migration of the moon.

Ritual Action #1: I never forgot to carry seeds with me as protective armour.

“In the community, ever since we were little, ever since we were ‘curumin’[3] we understand that everything we eat, we need to plant. I planted every stone of mango that I sucked in my life.  When I grew up and came to live in the city, every time I went to someone’s house to eat something, I kept the seeds in my pocket.  And those seeds began to get mixed with coins, and then with my ID, with the document, with the number. I became a number…”

In this video I tell this story of what happened to me when I came to live in the city. This video-performance is a noisy meditation on this forced project of agglomerating land with money. The world demands the joining of these elements, seeds with coins, yet there is no birthplace. Money in paper or coin is a value that the wind does not lick. Land is free.

Click on the Closed Caption icon for English subtitles

EARTH IS PLURAL, STONE, SAND, CLAY.

EARTH IS THE MOUTH THAT TALKS UNDER YOUR FEET.

Do your ears listen?

EARTH EATS EARTH IS BORN EARTH GIVES EARTH LIVES EARTH WELCOMES EARTH TRANSGRESSES EARTH SCREAMS EARTH GRANDMOTHER EARTH LOVER EARTH REBEL EARTH ANGRY EARTH FLOWS EARTH DREAMS EARTH DANCES EARTH CUMS EARTH GIVES BIRTH EARTH LICKS EARTH PENETRATES EARTH GERMINATES EARTH ECHOES EARTH BITES EARTH SIGNALS EARTH NAKED EARTH UNBORDERS EARTH FREE EARTH WITHIN EARTH MIGRATES EARTH UNEARTHS EARTH LOVES EARTH FIRE EARTH LIBERATES EARTH BEAST.

EARTH IS ALWAYS FREE TO BE EARTH, AND THIS BEING SO, WE CAN CARESS THE FEET, THE SKIN, THE TONGUE, THE BONE, REST THE EYES, FEED THE VEINS, AND FLY THE THOUGHTS.

A loose pile of deep red clay sits with open seed pods, a piece of ID, and five Brazilian coins.
Clay, urucum seed pods, Brazilian coins, and a piece of ID.

The revolution is strong, its path is slow, and its end is the same as that of a tree—to give oneself, be it in the form of shade or fruit, and to fight against the chainsaws that decapitate rooted bodies.

Ritual Action #2, an invitation: Let’s exchange performative seeds

1.         Do nothing.  Drop anything that has a glass screen.

2.         Caress something that you know it is possible it will be born if you plant.

3.         Drink a glass of water. Then in an empty space stand without clothes, rest your body on the floor in a comfortable position, place those seeds on your body and stay for a while until you feel like drinking water again.

4.         Go to sleep thinking about the sensation of the seeds on your body-territory.

5 .        Upon waking up, head to a street where you can meet a stranger. Ask them what they have planted.  If you like, tell them about your experience.

6.         In the next few hours, days or years, when you feel that something has sprouted, find an older member of your family and talk to them about the roots you carry.

7.         If you feel it, fertilise the soil from which something has sprouted. Remember, the roots are always meeting underneath the ground, sometimes they need us to fertilise our territories.

Four pages that read, "Take notice of all the skins and places we inhabit, the bones and lands that bear our weight." "Listen to unuttered wisdom, nurturing intrinsic, rather than productive value." "Feel the pain of the earth transpassing you." "Tend the wounds created when the skin holding one body stretches and tears in order to receive and be refigured by another."

Endnotes

[1] Jenipapo and Urucum are plants extensively used by several Indigenous peoples to paint their skin. Jenipapo fruits and bark contain a blue coloured substance that turns black when it comes into contact with air while the fruit of Urucum produces red tincture.

[2] Mandacaru is a species of treelike cactus native to arid and semiarid regions of northeastern Brazil. They are highly drought-resistant, can grow up to 6 metres in height, and are of great importance both as a food source and also for use in traditional medicine.

[3] The word curumim comes from the indigenous Tupi language, kunu’mi or kuru’mi, and means boy, or young man.

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My name is Barbara Matias, I am from the community of Marreco, Quitaíus, Lavras da Mangabeira, CE (a community for the ethnic revitalization of the Kariri people). I was born from a collective of animals that fly and walk on water.

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