Nictagenias | Museo Casa Colorada (Red House Museum) | Santiago de Chile, Chile
160 Bails of Boldo (herb indigenous to the area) - 100 kilos each - 90 cm high by 70 cm wide
The installation presented at the Museum called Nictagenias, originates from the word boldo, a tropical herb that blossoms in the middle of the night. The root of the word is greek, where night is Nuktos.
For Nictagenias the space was divided into four, with walls reaching ceiling height, leaving a narrow path along the perimeter of the space. The boldo bails were stacked from the floor to the ceiling on wooden pallets, 160 bails of boldo, each weighing approximately 100 kilos and measuring 90 cm of height by 70 cm of width. (using the block of boldo as a brick). This allowed for the doors to the space to be open and for the spectator to encounter a massive wall of boldo bails, disallowing any other view.
At first sight, the boldo is compressed and wrapped in a thin synthetic cloth and there is only a space of 80 cm between the door and the wall, giving the opportunity of walking either to the right or the left and on the other side of the wall there is a 70 cm space where spectators can go in comfortably.
The space was in total darkness and the scent is quite pungent since additional boldo leaves were scattered throughout the floor and stepping on them or touching these massive modules impregnates the whole room.
There is great vacuum in the space but it is contained by the scent. It feels like a cubic home. In the remainder of the path, the bails or the walls can be touched and they are covered by the same cloth as the modules. The idea is to investigate with the senses.
The sense of smell and of touch become the protagonist making for a space filled with similar conditions and equality for all. When we speak of similar conditions, I am referring to the sighted and the blind.
This time the blind find themselves in a place where art is shown yet they do not have trouble participating, since most art is created to be observed. In the interaction of participants in connection to the material, sight is not necessary since the smell speaks of the contents.
The intrigue, the vaccum, the constant invisibility insofar as not seeing an object contains deep resonance due to form and contents.
The vacuum becomes the interior, implying its process, as if the emptiness could trouble the volume. In reality in doing this large construction my wish was not to create a monument but to render a space where people, the stature, the person must experiment, look at one another, look within, constantly inquire. This mood allows for the size of the boldo modules to have a strength that stares at us, since the object only allows us to see its form and color, smell its scent and become its own messenger.
I not only wanted to provoke inquiry through the darkness of the mass but also question the decision making process of entering it or not, since it is both the most unnerving and magic cube. It is standing in front of us, taller than we are, at least measuring 4 meters within this large modular box. The objective is to reach an interaction between the sighted and the blind being in the same environment, feeling the same space, developing the senses.
Nictagenias will become a place where to re-encounter the senses.