Cardón cardinal (Cardinal Cardon)

Patricia Esquivias

Caracas, Venezuela, 1979
  • Date: 
  • Edition/serial number: 
    1/5 + 2 A.P.
  • Duration: 
    38 min. 37 sec.
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Patricia Esquivias works from non-academic investigations into a period in history that has gone unnoticed and the connection that can be made between this time and the present. Her project entitled Cardón cardinal (Cardinal Cardon, 2019) specifies the relationship between extractivism and Expo ‘92 from a case study: the displacement of a giant cactus, a seventeen-metre high, eighteen-tonne Pachycereus pringlei from the Baja California desert to the garden of the Mexican Pavilion for Expo ‘92. After the conclusion of the event, the cactus was transferred to Seville City Council and today survives next to the ruins of what was once the pavilion.
Esquivias’s video documents a journey to Mexico and another to Seville, whereby the artist takes on the role of “questioner”, a name Indigenous people gave to scientists who travelled through American territory. Such an approach, however, attempts to move away from those colonial explorations linked to exctractivist policies, from the appropriation, manipulation and concealment of knowledge. In this case the questioner is not a scientist or agent of an empire serving a king; rather, it is a woman, an artist, employing questions to open conversations that interrogate hegemonic narrations. The cactus, the first speaker, shares the testimony of different times in history; its partial, fragmented knowledge is what gives form to the narrative of the video. Cristina Cámara Bello