Link to video extract: Decolorando las Hebras https://vimeo.com/430280010 In the video Colorando las Hebras (“Coloring the Threads”), the artist employs the traditional Maya technique of dyeing textiles, where using two...
Link to video extract: Decolorando las Hebras https://vimeo.com/430280010
In the video Colorando las Hebras (“Coloring the Threads”), the artist employs the traditional Maya technique of dyeing textiles, where using two wooden paddles she masters the strands of thread as she submerges them into a hot pot of water where the yellow dyes are concentrated. In this dance of hands it is possible to appreciate Monterroso’s agility in the way she handles the paddles to manipulate the threads without ever letting go or touching it with her hands. In contrast, the next video Decolorando las Hebras (“Discoloring the Threads”) shows the artist by the edge of river. This time, she is holding the threads with her hands as she scrubs them violently against each other and rewashes them with clean water. The artist scrubs and twists in a hopeless effort to wash the yellow color away. The concerted and patient process of coloring suddenly becomes a fierce and desperate act, which consequently reveals a sense of frustration, as the threads never completely revert to their original color. In this two-part performance, Monterroso directly explains what the Polish sociologist Zigmunt Bauman termed “liquid modernity.” Bauman’s concept refers to the lightness or liquidity of life, love, emotions, and even art, resulting from Modernity and globalized societies. Monterroso dyes the threads yellow, and then, through the impossible effort of de-coloring them, she emblematically tries to wash away the idea of the static and the permanent that is often associated with indigenous tradition, culture, and identity. As a performance piece, Monterroso comments both on Baumann’s conception of the ephemeral quality of contemporary human relations, and invokes Mexican anthropologist Gilberto Gimenez. Gimenez opines, “Identity must not be understood as a homogenous, static, and immutable repertoire of meanings, because although it has certain areas of stability, it is always transforming.” Monterroso’s references to Gimenez and Baum’s theories on culture and identity are fundamental in understanding the changing nature of humans as social agents who are constantly in flux as they consume and create culture.
Taken from Sara Gazon’s essay Sandra Monterroso: Cultural Subversions in Hemisphere: Visual Cultures of the Americas Volume 8, Issue 1 (2015)