Bestiary Muxhe

Oaxaca, Mexico

The Muxhe stage of the Bestiary culminated in a performance-event in September 2007 in Oaxaca. The Muxhe are a third gender Zapotec group from Southern Mexico known for their continued position in society as holders of tradition, dating from Pre-columbian times. We worked with them in a hypnosis session and asked them to visualize three successive relationships of themselves in regards to: a person, their home and their surroundings.

In a trance state, they were asked to express their feelings as a shape or form. For example, a feeling of anxiety may be imagined as sharp and fragmented, and a state of well being translates as a softer, rounder form: in this way a form is imagined that relates to an emotional experience.

These are the Bestiary Muxhe emotion-forms as they unfold: 1) the original sketches made in trance by the muxhe, 2) my reworking of them and 3) different manifestations of these forms embroidered in velvet using the traditional “huipil” method. The emotion-forms that we extracted through hypnosis sessions with the Muxhe volunteers in Juchitan and Huatulco in Southern Mexico were transformed into large three dimensional pyrotechnic sculptures or “Castillos.”

The internal “emotion-forms” are externalized and celebrated as explosive sculptures in a large communal event. Drawings and small model/sculptures are developed in parallel. Below are stills from the final event in Oaxaca.

Curated by:
Olga Margarita Dávila
Demián Flores