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Roberto Sifuentes

in collaboration with Aram Han Sifuentes and Jon Cates

Responding to hyper-mediatized, colliding images, and sensory overload of global despair, Roberto Sifuentes (in collaboration with Aram Han Sifuentes and Jon Cates) has been working on a performance called #exsanguination since 2017.


In this performance leeches are placed on Roberto's body to (re) create various iconic and familiar tableaus of violence seen and unseen in the popular media. Source material comes from popular sensationalist tabloids from Mexico and other parts of Latin America depicting cartel violence, autopsy drawings depicting wounds from police involved shootings of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and others. Leeches are placed around Roberto's neck referencing the decapitations that happen at the U.S. - Mexico border, or placed below his eyes in performance in reference to the painful tears shed as a result of this contemporary horror.


In these performances, the bleeding body stands in for the displaced, invisible, and forgotten, and becomes a site for activism, penance, and reinvention.


In the live performance the immediacy of glitches, and experimental soundscapes created by Cates and my bleeding body intersect on a concrete sidewalk in the form of a ‘fashion’ runway, stylizing the images and inviting audience to approach, examine, photograph and upload the imagery.


Initially the leeches were used as a tool to incite an abundant flow of blood, with their strong natural anticoagulant, allowing for us to stain the concrete. However, as we continue to use leeches, our performance incorporates and responds to the history of bloodletting, biological characteristics of the leeches, and the metaphors associated with the parasitic worms. 

TRIGGER WARNING: Blood and Leeches

edited by Milo Mendoza

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