In 2002, after a long campaign, weavings belonging to the ayllu (indigenous community) of Coroma in Bolivia were returned from the United States and Canada. It was a breakthrough in making UNESCO’s Cultural Property Convention effective in practice. Ironically, identification had been confirmed through Polaroid photographic prints the agents of collectors had left behind, those that were out-of-focus and discarded. The prints had been collected and kept by people in the community who at the time were so poor that like other scraps, they had value. It was the same poverty that had tempted some of them to sell the weavings even though they were communal property which, stored in bundles, had survived both the Spanish invasion and the brutal anti-indigenous policies of many Bolivian governments.[i] Cloth had, and still has, particular importance in Andean societies. The Austrian artist Ines Doujak in her introduction to her ongoing artistic research Loomshuttles / Warpaths describes them at the time of the invasion as “characterized by their passion for mathematics and weaving, for administration and music, the exact and the ecstatic.”[ii] In the absence of written language at that time in 1533, cloth as well as the famous quipus (language with the use of knots), was, apart from its quality of weaving, a medium of communications, in which it was perceived as being alive. One mode of communication is with the past, using ancient cloth to be able to consult ancestral knowledge on current matters of calendars and dilemmas. Such consultation is normal practice for the people of Coroma.
This textile culture of the Andes preceded the Inca Empire that existed at the time of the invasion and the subsequent settler colonialism of the region. Inca administrative skill systematized the making of cloth, which included specialization for the production of luxury cumbi cloth that could not be matched by the finest of Europe, woven in Flanders. It also involved the creation of quipu inventories and archives of varieties of both cloth and alpaca, which shows how nonsensical the idea that the archive is inherently Western.[iii] The Spanish invaders with a mix of carelessness and a needed sense of superiority, which could not recognize such quality nearly annihilated this culture. At the same time the entirely fortuitous European ‘discovery’ of this ‘New World’, thought of as the Indies and so named its peoples as Indians, was a whole-world shifter. It kicked off monetized capitalism – the precious metals so cruelly extracted at Bolivian Potosí mines and elsewhere – and a concomitant monetarized international trading system. Textiles, being light in weight and a basic manufactured commodity had been traded for millennia, but from the early 16th century onwards their production and exchange created a racialized division of labour –as well as further developing its gender aspect – which used both domestic serfdom and deported slavery.[iv] This ‘New World’ colonialism also took exclusive rights to the extraction of raw materials, including cloth dyes from occupied territories. On the one hand some African slaves were chosen for their knowledge of growing indigo, one of two crucial dye plants, and were thus especially valuable to colonial cash cropping, while export from colonial Mexico, of the other cochineal, was exceeded in value only by gold.
The starting point of Doujak’s Loomshuttles / Warpaths is a collection of textiles from the region made over a period of thirtyfive years. It includes ancient and modern cloth and clothing; hand-made and mass produced; the use of natural and synthetic fibres; and a variety of techniques, weaving, knitting and embroidery. It is the starting point of an ongoing arts based research, one of the first such to be supported by the Austrian Science Fund, and which started three years ago. It uses whatever media may be suitable from text to sculpture, and comprises several ‘chapters’. One is called Masks and Masquerades for which the figure of the Investigator was invented for travelling performances. Another is a Haute Couture fashion line which involves the design of printed cloth which can be made into clothes, the cloth then being translated into movement and sound ‘operas’. Thirdly it includes the making of ‘an eccentric archive’.[v] This archive follows the trajectory created by the colonial invasion of the Americas, so that the items in the collection are linked to the globalized history and present-day realities of textile and clothing production and consumption.
The archive is eccentric in the literal sense of being off-centre, both in its composition and movement. It consists of descriptions of each item in the collection, and responses to them both by the artist herself in the form of subtly referenced poster collages, an archive in themselves, and by the responses of other writers and artists all over the world in a chosen media, one of whom, Cristina Bubba was part of the Coroma campaign to recover its weavings. These responses are part of the movement of the archive. Items brought from the Andean region to Europe have been posted out to responders and have often stayed abroad for months. At the same time the archive is itself mobile, parts appearing at a variety of display spaces, and this quality is enhanced by the use of postcards for compact versions of the Eccentric Archive with the aim that people use them as such, to write and post them to friends. The composition of the archive is enhanced by two further texts both of which, Numerical Dates and the names of Cloths or Colours, are announced on Doujak’s posters, with the dates made from woven hair which references actual production. The Dates indicated refer to texts which bring to light the continuing struggles of workers in the textile and clothing industries, and of rebellion by style of dress, as when the beggars of 18th century Lima said they were ‘not dressed for conquering, over the last 600 years. The Cloths and Colours texts show how entangled with Imperialist history textiles and dyes have been, as well showing the impacts of shifts in technologies and of colour itself. Thus Cristina Bubba’s response – to an Bolivian felt helmet – is accompanied by a text on Calico that reveals how the severity of European protectionism endeavoured to keep out this Indian cloth until its technique could be copied; and by the date 02.08 which has become the modern day occasion of the Gay Pride march in Lima, chosen because of the persecution of Francisco Pro, a young tailor in Lima, for wearing a woman’s cloak on this day in 1803.
Doujak’s own visual response features the crouching figure of a dark brown skinned woman who is at the same time dancing in air above a painted industrial city of the 1930s, tinted so that even the smoke from chimneys smoking are a light brown. She is wearing the felt helmet – called montera tarabuquena – which is from the Bolivian village of Tarabuco. It is one of the few places where the Spanish were defeated in the battle of Jumbate in 1816 by the Yamparaez warriors, and it mimics, or ‘quotes’, the helmet they would have worn. [vi] The woman’s face is turned towards the viewer, with a hair tail that runs down from her neck down her back and over her buttocks and a sullen look, hints a Western mix of fear and superiority towards the dark-skinned people of the world. But there is something else in her look, which speaks of her own sense of insecurity in contact with the ‘modern’ city, and as if in the cosmology of her world, the conception of time and space is different.
The composition of the Eccentric Archive including the poster, means that while the especial importance of cloth in Andean culture is recognised, Doujak avoids wading through all those tedious binaries associated with notions of, authenticity and modernity; or, equally to make a big deal out of ‘hybridity.’ It has become too easy for its realities to be made into such an uncritical virtue as to be prescriptive, as when a critic warns diasporas – which are intrinsically mediums of the process – not to ‘idealize the past’. It may be better than performing authenticity, but the all-purpose ´Other´ should not be subject to performing hybridity. It is anyway, something Andean weavers just do, as exemplified in both items of the collection and in archive texts, like the use of Chinese acrylic thread admired for its colour, but re-spun on drop spindles by indigenous Andean women, the manufactured synthetic yarn being perceived to be of poor quality in local Quechua aesthetics. Properly spun yarn is finer, and needed to satisfy both these aesthetics, and ancestral rules for highly valued textiles.[vii] Perhaps in anticipation, that Peruvian post-Marxist of the 1920s, José Carlos Mariategui was clear that, “Tradition is alive and mobile, quite the opposite of what the traditionalists would like to imagine. It is created precisely by those who want to renovate and enrich it in their resistance to it.”[viii]
In the hands of capitalist ideology and its satellites, ‘tradition’ is, instead, a plaything; useful for social cohesion, especially the ‘invented’ variety’, but a repressive anachronism when giving cohesion to communal resistance to natural resource-or land grabbing.[ix] . In the art world, despite the pioneering work of Franz Boas, Robert Farris Thompson and others, communal societies are often regarded by definition as precluding individual creativity, or the development of craft, skill and imagination by artists, who are instead ‘instinctive’ but inherently stuck in unmoving tradition. Such an a-historical approach in the case of the Andes denies the reality of a continual history of repression and resistance. Equally, this one-sided; hegemonic view of individuality is then confirmed by the outrage of such artists being carefree about the individual signature that ascribes value both ideologically and in practice in the capitalist world. It’s an outrage gleefully described by Eduardo Galeano. “Buyers want the Ocumicho potters to sign their works, so they use stamps to engrave their names at the foot of their little devils. But often they forget, or use a neighbours stamp if their own isn’t handy, so that María comes out as the artist of a work by Nicolosa, or vice versa. They don’t understand this business of solitary glory. In their Tarascan Indian community, all are one when it comes to this sort of thing.”[x] Most of the items in Doujak’s Eccentric Archive are anonymous too, though one could imagine the Peruvian cap having been knitted by another of her respondents, Juan Quispe, water poured into it to see how well-made the knitting – judges by prospective parents-in-law of a groom, when the well-made is the main criterion for what is beautiful. The nature of the archive means, however, that anonymity does not lead to the ethnographic basket.
It is based on a respect that has been made by visiting the region over many years, when travel has not been easy; the knowledge of textiles and their makers which continues to shape other areas of life; and of that learning other cosmologies with shamans. Such a respect means not having to put what has been collected on a rhetorical pedestal. This is especially welcome and refreshing for in our own times the important critiques of Eurocentric and frankly racist ethnography and the plundered collections that provided their ‘raw materials’ (valuable as all colonially plundered natural resources) have too often become an equally Eurocentric ethical narcissism. The very process of working with anything from areas of the world homogenized as the “Third World” or “the South” has become a minefield of professionalized and highly selective accusation; selective because it would not include the acceptable disrespect of say, a cursory use of an Andean weaving and its description as a platform for prolonged riffs on the usual male European suspects from Hegel to Heidegger.
One of the Eccentric Archive posters shows a striped bag, woven with alpaca and which is used for carrying potatoes. The subtlety of colours of the stripes and their off-centre symmetry are distinctive, but what stands out is how precious to its user, how often repaired and now in need of it again. Given the problem of the display of the more fragile items in the collection, this one makes the two-dimensional picture close to tactile. Another, taken from a picture in a German newspaper, features a ‘hoodie’ in Moskau with a face mask in which lips, eyes and nose are emphasized, creating a look that is both sinister and melancholic. It is worn by a Russian football ‘ultra’ on a right-wing demonstration to hide his identity. The shoe-shiners of La Paz who feature in Doujak’s ‘Investigator’ performance in La Paz also wear masks for this reason, in their case because of the perceived humiliation of the work. The Russian’s mask is also from the Andes. The resonances here move back and forth the world in time and space (perhaps in this case with ebay as intermediary) and are as rich and complex as the Loomshuttles Warpaths project itself. The poster perfectly matches a prescription for such work made by the Argentine artist Cesar Paternoster in an essay on pre-Colombian Andean sculpture: “exposure to the ancient arts should function as a motivation, a source of inspiration, a springboard that should be translated into a visual metaphor…distancing oneself from it, yet keeping connective tension with it.”[xi] In the Eccentric Archive, the poster is a response to a modern full-head, balaclava-like mask in the collection – machine woven acrylic but hand sewn – which, with its villainous curled moustache, mimics the colonial and Creole master.[xii]) Such mask mimicry has a long history in both Peru and Bolivia during carnival. Rigid-type mask-making was and remains a highly specialized craft. At the same time such mimicry, with its reference to the European ‘Other’ represents only a small part of both craft and use. Masks for dances and ceremonies and entertainments of very different and alive cosmologies are more common. High up at 5000 metres in the Andean altiplano specifically woollen balaclavas have pragmatic use, but are also used ceremonially by Shamans for for a missing dead person like a peasant victim in the Peruvian state-Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path guerrilla) war of recent times. In an instance of the politicisation of dress, they were banned during this war when many peasants supported the guerrilla movement whose leader has now been joined in prison by Alberto Fujimori, the President at the time, such was the level of state violence.
As the main element in the Eccentric Archive, the collage which was made into a poster has, like the others, its own four accompanying texts, a response to the mask itself by the artist David Riff and ones on the date 1954 and the cloth Velvet which are inscribed on it. Riff’s response makes an immediate connection to the activist intervention by the all-women Pussy Riot in an Orthodox church; its relation to representational politics, with a reference of the present-day Zapatistas; and to the renewed oppression of post-USSR Russian women. This relates in turn to the 1954 text which celebrates the victory, in living memory, of Japanese women textile workers in a strike which gave a huge boost to Japanese trade unions, and provided a jolt to employers’ self-interested perception of such women as ‘docile’. Here we are in the world of production; with the accompanying text on Velvet – while Cairo is celebrated as the original great production centre of the cloth, and the later development of finance capital derived from its production in Italy described – the emphasis is on consumption and especially its ostentatious use in late 15th and early 16th century Europe. This is not juxtaposition for its own sake but serves to provide context across space and time.
The occupation and subsequent settler colonialism of the Andean region followed the pattern already established by the Spanish invaders of Mexico in whose European societies velvet was both making fortunes and draining the peasant-derived rents of its aristocracy. The consequences of the invasion on the Andes are described in texts both on Alpaca and sheep wool, on another poster in the Eccentric Archive, and in a talk given by the artist at the “Textiles, Techne and Power in the Andes” conference [xiii] The early years of the occupation saw the near annihilation of both the people, infrastructure and the alpaca, and makes astonishing the survival of both textile skills and the culturally organic nature of cloth. Years later, when the silver mines of Bolivian Potosí were eating up expendable slaves and peons alike, those who made fortunes from it were importing velvet along with other luxury textiles from around the world. These especially rich settler colonialists, while being ideologically unable to recognise the sheer quality of Andean weaving, or the sophisticated technique of its weavers, were prime movers in the accelerated and monetized globalization of the trade in textiles. Imported textiles continued to be essential status items for them into modern times.
In another chapter of Loomshuttles/ Warpaths on masks and masquerade, Doujak takes on the ethnographic ‘gaze’ in direct style with the creation of the Investigator. The extreme visibility of this figure established through the costume is a device to force the normally disembodied observing subject – the self-image of European investigators over the course of the centuries – to take on physical form. No disguise at all, but a full head-and-body costume in Western skin-pink, which is literally all eyes. The figure appeared in La Paz and held a workshop with shoe-shiners and rappers, which lead to a musical performance in the courtyard of the Ethnographical Museum in which the rappers crossed music with traditional folk singers and a counter-tenor singing, in a voice that moved back and forth from ingratiation to severity, the Catholic Church’s Confessional manual for priests to use on indigenous people of the late 16th century. It focused on the ‘sins’ of their animistic beliefs and presumed sexual practices, and was resisted by the use of quipus, which provided a memory aid of set answers to the ‘sinner’. The break-dancing shoe-shiners kept on their working day masks, and this lead to a telling moment at the performance when the secret police accompanying the Vice President wanted them removed. They refused and felt it as a moment of empowerment. From La Paz, the investigator left the museum and travelled through other parts of Bolivia, conducted interviews, was interviewed herself, was instructed how to wear clothes and how to heal with threads, met shamans, textile merchants and wrestlers, and participated in the carnival of Oruro.
The Investigator then travelled to Europe and in a more recent performance the ‘all-seeing’ eyes of the costume are juxtaposed with the Investigator’s refusal to give away anything of herself to an Indian ‘robot’ carried on her back as she circles a moving and murmuring mountain.[xiv] The set-up is a conscious detournement of an engraving of an Andean seat carrier (sillero) from the late 19thc.[xv] in which a white man, an explorer or anthropologist perhaps, is seated on a chair carried on the back of a generic ‘Indian’. In the performance the Indian robot alternates between anger, pride in his local landscape mixed with sardonic tourist talk, and mimicry of high theory, but is mostly frustrated by the complete silence of the Investigator. The movement of the mountain which simulates the K2, followed a line made by the routes of explorers, while the robot hallucinates crossing the Andean mountains to reach Europe, simultaneously complaining of boredom at the whole endeavour. His moments of pride in the Andean landscape was especially striking as news emerged of the sale of the Peruvian Toromocho mountain to the Chinese mining giant, Chinalco. The mining will involve the removal of the mountain’s peak and, as in so many instances, of the people in the nearby village, so that its copper, molybendum and silver can be extracted over the next 35 years
This figure then, deals in head-on fashion with the power relationship that has been at the heart of essentialist ethnography, the power of speech and definition enforced by violence. In contrast, the responses in the Eccentric Archive address that relationship without explicit reference and instead, highlights its consequences active in the present day world of textile production and trade. Most dramatically this is shown in a third chapter of Loomshuttles / Warpaths, a ‘Haute Couture’ line which begins with two rolls of printed cloth containing three metre sections designed by the artist on the theme of the mass deaths of workers in textile factories, deaths outsourced with the business itself to poorer parts of the world, or to migrant worker sweatshops in the rich world. [xvi]The printed cloth had different complex imagery on areas of the pattern for making shirts which reference Bolivian colonial painting. There are burning sewing machines along with an interpretation of the story of Prometheus who here escapes with wool rather than fire. Rusty chains are prominent, like the chains that have locked the exit doors in so many textile factories where workers have died and would tie the mythical figure to the rock in the modern world. The rock itself is made up of modernist icons: Le Corbuiser’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles; Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower and the aggressively windowed high-rises of Canary Wharf in London. Shirts tailored from the pattern outlined printed cloth are on display. It was aimed at breaking out of the museum confine by being available for sale and to make a critique from inside the world of fashion, while accepting that in this world beautiful clothes can be made, just as beautiful clothes are still self-made outside the world of commodity exchange. With an accompanying text poster/hand-out it was installed in Korea at the 2012 Busan Biennale ‘Garden of Learning’ in September at the very moment when the worst such fire ever occurred at the Baldia factory in Karachi where 286 workers died. It resonated back to the realities of cloth production in conditions of settler colonialism in the Andes when the Tupac Amaru uprising of 1780 (one of the dates in the Eccentric Archive) had as one of its aims the freeing of indigenous “men and women, children and old people” from the textile obrajes (workshops) where a Spanish traveller observed they were tied to their looms and “were destined for a quick civil death.” To relate it in turn to the modern-day ‘burn-out’ of clothing workers and the realities of outsourcing, the Haute Couture work included an audio file of an interview with long-time textile work activist, and now Parliamentarian, Chun Soon’ok, sister of Chun Tae-il, an icon of Korean workers’ struggle who himself had died by self-immolation as a protest back in 1971 in a protest at the working conditions of the young women dubbed “Industrial Warriors in the Export Front” by the dictatorship, who made the country’s economic ‘miracle’ in the sweatshop factories of Seoul.
Such links are far from the one-way ethnography of the past, and come naturally from southern America where a brutal system of division of labour preceded the factory model theorized in the 18th century by Adam Smith. In this model the worlds of the consumer and the producer are divided both spatially and ideologically. The producer is restricted to one simple repetitive operation, like a modern day Cambodian woman sewing the top-half of a belt loop only every day, which takes away his/her economic power. Smith however used a sleight of hand, as Susan Buck-Morss, puts it whereby “the impoverished producer shows up on the stage again, this time as the well-clad consumer.” Many fruitful studies now exist which deal with both the production and consumption of cloth and clothing, but where exchange itself is not made into an anthropological exclusive centre of gravity, they tend to be either concerned with the semiology and politics of clothing; or with the techniques and present-day globalized ‘chains’ of production which is the stage of today’s world. In this it reproduces a basic ideological need of the capitalism that began with the invasion of the Americas: the hiding of the role of labour in the making of what is to be produced; the hyper-exploitation and exhaustion of such labour especially in the garment industry; fetishization and self-praise of ‘the market’ shown in the phrase “the consumer is king”; and the ersatz democracy implied by ‘the consumer’ as a universal category. In a truly grotesque irony, the jeans made in the death trap Karachi factory were for the German company KiK, der Kunde is König / the Consumer is King. It’s a virtue of Loomshuttles / Warpaths that it overcomes the separation of the worlds of consumption and production. Further Haute Couture lines on nakedness, transport, trade and beauty are planned, and will continue to straddle and connect these worlds.
Critiques of the ethnography of the overtly colonial period and its collections now abound. The specific case of the collections of Andean cloth which appeared in the late 19th and early 20th century in the museums of Europe is revealing, and especially since they produced a whole raft of theorizing about the ‘primitive’, ‘purity’ and the ‘authentic’, especially in Germany.[xvii] Despite their divergences of viewpoint, what they have in common is an essentializing, sympathetic or otherwise of indigenous people –then called ‘primitive’. Many items on which such theories were built, were bought from the Lima-based importer of European textiles Wilhelm Gretzer who had arrived in Peru in 1876 to satisfy the settler (‘Creole’) continuing status demand for imported goods referred to above. He commissioned grave robbers for his collection and provided far more artefacts than official archaeologists like Max Uhle, and from a wider area of the region. Living in a house in whose hallway stood two rows of undressed mummies, it was Gretzer’s personal taste for what was beautiful which determined what the large-scale collections in Berlin and elsewhere consisted of and the theorizing they prompted. Some items he took, others were thrown away. Worse, in the case of a funeral cloth from Pachacamac dated from between 900 and 1200 AD which showed both historical and mythical narratives, he cut it into two pieces, selling one to the Berlin ethnographic museum and the other to Hannover.[xviii]
It’s not surprising that critiques exist given such a history, though the collections are still there, and, despite the politics of restitution as in the successful Coroma campaign, the critiques exist, for large part, only at an ideological level. “Ethnography museums have advanced beyond classifying and presenting ‘others’ in exotic cultural orders, and now recognise that ‘Others’ represent serious alternatives worthy of inclusion in exhibits/exhibitions? However, instead of leading to solutions, this realization of cultural relativity has revealed new complexities in presented ethnographies.”[xix] For the authors however, these complexities are resolved through exclusive emphasis on ‘exchange’ and an accompanying fetishization of the hybrid.[xx] There is an understandable desire to assert the agency of non-Western people both now and in the past, their ‘calculative’ ability in the world of trade.[xxi] But this one-dimensional insistence on the one hand leaves out how many people still make their own clothes, and, in the Andes especially, invest it with their own, tradition-informed, sense of beauty; and on the other, mass production and the inequalities of power involved in this sphere. Where is the reference to the ‘hybridity’ of production by which, for example, the respiratory-illness-causing stonewashing of denim jeans by hand (outsourced to Turkey and then in the face of campaigning on to Bangladesh just as once slaves in the indigo business suffered the same deadly illnesses) co-exists in the world with corporate, computerized fabric dyeing facilities with the ability to produce 10,000 different dyes? Where are those political decisions called free trade deals, which are predictably decimating Peruvian cotton production, and the livelihood of Jacquard loom hand silk weavers in India? Or the outsourcing of risk down to the clothing factories of South Asia –both financial and for worker health and safety – that goes with ‘lean retailing’ or ‘supply chain management’?
The critical ethnographic museum or exhibition then, is still dominated by what might be called the anthropological bias and its emphasis on objects and exchange; when is an artefact a gift, when a commodity and so forth. Objects whatever their hybridity are displayed with explanatory texts. When the Coroma cloths were returned from the USA and Canada in 2002, the state’s Indigenous Bureau wanted them housed in a museum they built saying that otherwise they might be sold again by very poor villagers, their poverty being taken as a natural state of affairs. The people of the ayllu refused saying it was like putting the cloths in a jail. It would have to be a museum they could live in, the weavings being the medium through which they could consult ancestral knowledge. Instead the emphasis was on a car park and a cafeteria. This account of what happened in Coroma is not intended to be fatalistic, but rather to think of how textile items can take on a new life in the world of display in other parts of the world. It invites a return to the 1990s notion of the ‘artist as an agent of change’ in such environments. There is an obvious danger of this being an instrumental concept of artistic agency, whereas the productive process of artistic research, without curatorial commission, has an inherent freedom. Loomshuttles / Warpaths is a model of such a process, radical in using a variety of media to examine and display the word of textiles and clothes – produced and consumed – through the prism of colonialism and neo-colonialism, while giving the viewer a freedom of response to its visual and performance elements. It does not claim the ‘objectivity’ a museum might do, but while partisan it is not polemical. This perhaps is how it should be if the artist truly is to be an agent of change.
[i] [i]Villagers had been paid $50-100, and the weavings resold for $10-15,000
[ii] FKW – FrauenKunstWisschaft, INES DOUJAK: Webschiffe, Kriegspfade / Telares, Senda Guerrera / Loomshuttles, Warpaths, Heft 52, 2011
[iii] The Mughal Emperor Akhbar’s archiving of textiles was unmatched in its sophistication as recorded by Abu Fazl ibn-Mubarak
[iv] The gendered division of labour had been institutionalized by the Incas at the same time as the witch hunts in Europe both killed and marginalized women from areas of production and communal land. See the work of Irene Silverblatt and Silvia Frederici on these respective developments.
[v] The title, Loomshuttles / Warpaths was inspired by how among Indigenous groups in Borneo, for instance, female weavers held the same social status as headhunters – the highest. The loom was equated with their warpath. In 2006 an exquisitely preserved and elaborately tattooed 1,500-year-old mummy of a young woman from Moche culture, has been discovered deep inside a mud-brick pyramid in northern Peru. The tomb yielded a rich array of funeral objects, from gold sewing needles and weaving tools to masterfully worked metal jewellery. The grave also contained numerous weapons, including two massive war clubs and 23 spear throwers.
[vi] The victory came from the people of Tarabuco disguising themselves as trees to form a moving forest. A similar tactic was used by MacDuff in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” written over 200 years before.
[vii] The skill in manual re-spinning involves keeping up a constant rate of twist on the spindle, waiting till the moment it kinks back on itself and becomes smooth, and then holding it under tension until it is on the loom bars.
[viii] José Carlos Mariategui :’Reflections’ in Seven Interpretative Essays on Peruvian Reality: Austin Texas 1971 cited in “The Peru Reader” ed. Stern, Degregori and Kirk: Duke University press p.240
[ix] See “Invented Tradition” edited Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger: Penguin Books 1986
[x] On Private property and the Right of Creation in Eduardo Galeano: Century of the Wind: Minerva Books 1989 .p227.
[xi] “No Borders: The Ancient American Roots of Abstraction”in the collection Contemporary Art and Anthropology: ed Schneider and Wright: Berg 2006. P.164
[xii] Robert Farris Thompson describes a Nigerian mask which though suggesting anguish or terror to a Western viewer, in fact ‘pokes fun at the pompous and vain. Aesthetics in Traditional Africa 1968,p 65, cited in Sally Price “”Primitive Art in Civilized Places” University of Chicago Press 2001
[xiii] International Conference: Textiles, Techne and Power in the Andes, Birkbeck, University of London, Great Britain, 15th to 17th of March 2012. Presentation of the paper: Loomshuttles / Warpath
xiv “The Indian-Investigator-Machine visiting TBA“, ´Ephemeropterae´, Thyssen-Bornemisza Contemporary, Vienna.
[xv] Eduoard Andre/América equinoccal, Barcelona 1884
[xvi] As in the deaths by fire of migrant Bolivian workers and their children in a Buenos Aires sweatshop in 2006
[xvii] See Virginia Gardner Troy: “Anni Albers and Ancient American Textiles” Ashgate 2002 Chapters 1 and 2 for a concise survey of these theories
[xviii] The cutting of cloth goes completely against the cultural-spiritual aesthetics of indigenous Andean textiles. A similar spiritual aesthetic is held for instance by the Hindus of India.
[xix] “It’s the Economy Stupid! Business as a Catalyst for Encounters, Contact and production. S. Konniger et al in Fetish Modernity. Book accompanying the exhibition of the same name.
[xx] The problem with the anthropological bias towards exchange per se – “Exchanging goods is a crucial part of social life” – is that it is liable to disguise the massive imbalances of economic and political power that underlie exchange. This is liable to involve a certain sleight of hand to imply similarity when there is none as in “Though biographical aspects of some things (such as heirlooms, postage stamps and antiques) may be less noticeable than that of some others(steel bars, salt or sugar) this component is never completely irrelevant.” Arjun Appadurai: Introductory Essay to “The Social Life of Things”: Cambridge University Press 1986. P13. My emphasis
[xxi] Much is made of indigenous people having understood and catered for tourist markets. For a more nuanced view of this phenomenon see the work of the Argentinian/Mexican anthropologist Néstor García Canclini)