In our work ‘Xalpen’ (London 2006) for the launch of ‘Naked Punch’ Review Journal of Contemporary Art and Thought, we developed the mythological character of Xalpen, the earth spirit from the Selk’nam culture. She is said to have an insatiable desire for food and sex and is prone to rage, the tribe must satisfy her. In the original ritual the mythical Xalpen fills the adolescent males ‘Kloctens’ (1) in the rites of passage ceremony, with semen so that their scrotums expand enormously. In a sense she is the ‘libidinal economy’, she is the consuming machine, she is in terms of Lyotard (2) ‘the event that contains more possibilities for interpretation and exploitation than any single structure can give her.’ In our re-working of this ritual she is replaced by an artist wearing a safety jacket who inflates the earth with a pump as his penis. A form of masturbation, a closed circle of desire, Xalpen demands more and more, inflating the earth to the verge of an explosion of desire.

In another part of the same live work Xalpen becomes a dog speaking into short wave radios, repeating ‘Tony’s dog’ referring to the Chilean term for a clown, a ‘Tony’ and to the then current uk political leader. Locked in a loop of repetition the short wave radios begin to feedback on each other distorting the sound with interference. Technology begins to breakdown, the organic, the body, reappears.

1.  Anne Chapman, Drama and Power in a Hunting Society. The Selk’nam of Tierra del Fuego. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 1982.

2.  Jean-François Lyotard, ‘Libidinal Economy’. trans. Iain Hamilton Grant, Athlone, London, 1993).

volver acciones de arte back to live art actions
live sound, with percussion by Tomas Feres
volver acciones de arte back to live art actions
03.12.06 Xalpen

The Brick House, Old Trueman's Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, UK.

web page photos: Fran Astaburuaga, animation by mmmmm from dv by Isabel Rodriguez

chronology and materials