Marivi Véliz – Tracing, Pacing, Rerouting the Borders of the Americas

In different moments throughout Art History, some artists made use of walking with aesthetic purposes. However, the 21st century seems to be the moment when walking as performance congeals, adding value to performance as a transdisciplinary coupling of art and citizenship. This contemporary tendency appears to envision walking as a way of living in dissension with modernity that highlights a transnational political behavior and a form of citizenship. Performances such as “News from the Americas” (2011) by Afro-Brazilian Borun Paulo Nazareth, for instance, show how walking in the Americas is inseparable from the effect of white colonialism on the biological and social body. Yet, it is a tool to explore the self, the senses, and the space. Invited to participate in an artistic residency program in Brooklyn, Paulo Nazareth took advantage of his visa to orient his walking practice towards the north. He considered himself an artist in residence from the outset of his journey north to New York, where he would wash his feet in the Hudson River. From Minas Gerais, Nazareth meandered for seven months, walking and with the aid of modes of transport, until crossing the US border bearing the dust of some Latin American countries. As in the tradition of the pagadores de promesas [people that makes vows], the performance is driven by a decision that brings to the forefront contemporary forms of nomadism, indigeneity, rurality, bartering while simultaneously recounts the complexities of racialization and othering in the Americas. The performer’s encounters with other racialized bodies emphasize the norms to which their bodies are seen, and how the visual aspects of bodies coded in terms of race and ethnicity determine ways of seeing that foster fear and violence.

Marivi Véliz

Marivi Véliz is a PhD in Literary, Cultural and Linguistics Studies. She earned her doctorate from the University of Miami (2021) and her B.A. in Art History from Havana University (1999). In 2000-2002, she worked and studied at Fundación Fernando Ortiz in Havana, Cuba, where she received a Graduate Certificate in Ethnology. In 2003, she moved to Guatemala working as a contemporary Latin American art lecturer, curator, journalist and independent researcher in the Central American region. Since 2012, she has lived and worked in Miami. Her research and writing is focused on connections between the Americas through Performance and Media Studies from decolonial and participatory methodologies. Currently, she is working on her book project “Healing, Deacceleration and the Digital. Latinx/Latin American Performance Art in 21st Century.” 


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