This summer, I will be traveling to Cusco, Peru, to build a series of installations at the Qorikancha and Santo Domingo Museum -- one of the most important ancient sites in the Andes, the Inca Temple of the Sun.
Completed in the 14th century, Qorikancha contained a sprawling courtyard filled with sculptures made entirely of gold: plants, animals and a massive disc that represented the sun. The walls were also covered in gold. When the sun struck this incredible room, dazzling golden light would be reflected everywhere. Unfortunately, little of the gold made it through the Conquest. The Spanish stripped the temple bare, melted the gold into ingots and shipped it off to Europe. Parts of Qorikancha were eventually torn down to make way for the church and convent of Santo Domingo. Today, the remaining Inca structures are some of the most sublime examples of ancient architecture in Peru.
For this project — titled La Luz — my plan is to create a series of works that pay tribute to the golden light that once illuminated Qorikancha. My materials will be simple: hundreds of bottles of Inca Kola, the bright yellow soda that is the popular throughout the country. Using two-liter bottles as bricks, I'll create a rotating series of architectural installations that will mimic the crumbling walls of ancient ruins. When the sun shines through these, it will create a blast of golden light. (See the video above to get the full effect.)
La Luz is scheduled to be on view throughout August. But the museum is a tiny Peruvian institution working with limited budgets. They will contribute $300 towards the cost of materials. But this doesn’t begin to cover all of the expenses associated with this project. Not only will I have to purchase hundreds and hundreds of bottles of Inca Kola, I have to cover all of my expenses for travel, room and board.
This is not cheap: the show has been scheduled for the peak of the high season and airfare is astronomical. (As it is, I'll be taking the 30-hour bus from Lima to Cusco because there's no way I could afford both domestic and international airfare.) In addition, Cusco is an expensive city, which means that the cost of daily living -- even though I'm the master of cheap lunch specials -- is going to be pricey. In addition, I have to remain in Cusco for the duration of the exhibit to pull apart and reinstall the piece in various locations around the site. This will happen roughly every three days. (Wish me luck: I'm going to be hauling hundreds of pounds of soda at more than 11,000 feet above sea level.)
All of this is why I'm asking for your help. This is a dream project for me. I find Peru and Peruvian history incredibly inspiring. Last year, I did an entire installation in a Williamsburg gallery that utilized Peruvian band posters (known as chicha posters) for a site-specific construction. For La Luz, I have spent the past year researching the history of the Qorikancha and its fate at the hands of the Spanish, reading history books, chronicles and examining art books.
Ten bucks can help keep me and an assistant (I'm going to need help moving all that soda) in food for a day. Donations of more than $75 can help me chip away at the airfare. A few hundred bucks will not only help us with travel and lodging, it will help with the purchase of soda and any necessary lighting -- the most important aspect of the project!
I'm grateful for any and all support you might be able to give me, no matter how small. (I've got some good gifts listed at right). Please help make this project a reality!
VIDEO CREDITS & THANKS:
“¡Sin Esperanza ni temor!” limited edition print, 33.5 x 24 inches
“Amores Perros” limited edition print, 33.5 x 24 inches
El mejor de todos” limited edition print, 33.5 x 48 inches
"Dos2” (2011) collage on wood, 16 x 20 inches
“Sab11Set” (2011) collage on wood, 18 x 24 inches
“Chiclayo” (2011) collage on wood, 24 x 36 inches
“El Rosa” (2011) collage on wood, 36 x 36 inches
“Celura” (2011) collage on wood, 26.5 x 40.5 inches
- (32 days)