“Hold/Release” was originally created for TODO BAJO CONTROL: MAY DAY, a performance extravaganza curated by Anabel Vázquez Rodríguez to commemorate International Workers’ Day through the exploration of art as a “labour of love” (“por amor al arte”) and the reframing of cultural production as a site of labour, struggle, wages and organization.
The piece embodies my relationship to two mothers: the woman who gave birth to me and the woman who adopted and raised me; to their labors; to mother countries: Colombia and The United States; to the bonds of debt that link me to each. In “Hold/Release” I ask, to what do we owe our making? And to what do owe our makers?
A silver bowl with two brown eggs rests in the middle of the space.
I enter pushing a custodial mop and bucket. I am wearing all white, including an apron sewn out of coffee filters, repurposed from my performance “Lundberg/Torres-Sanchez.” I dip my mop in the water from the bucket and trace a large circle around the bowl, while humming “Mother” by John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band. I then stand behind the bowl and look at the audience while a third brown egg is slowly birthed from my mouth and lands in my cupped hands.
I speak text while holding the egg: I ask the audience to remember the day they were born, I speak of longing, of the story of my mother(s) and of “too much and not enough.” I speak of debt. I then juggle the three eggs while running backwards and forwards. When two eggs are broken, I release the other towards the audience in a soft toss.
I fill the silver bowl with water using the mop and bucket. I get on all fours and ask a member of the audience to place the bowl on my back, revealing a poetic text scribed on another coffee filter surface. I crawl towards the broken eggs, using the poetic surface to clean them, inevitably obscuring the words I am attempting to read. Once the eggs have been scooped up, I use the mop to clean the entire floor of the space while speaking about the rebel mothers of the FARC, and a poetic version of my own adoption story.
I finish by singing Harry Nilsson’s “Everbody’s Talkin’” as I exit the space, pushing mop and bucket.