Dark Black
Laura Castro

“The map of the savannahs was a dream. The names… were colonial conventions I had known from childhood…..They were as close to me as my ribs, the rivers and the flatland, the mountains and heartland I intimately saw…” – Wilson Harris, Palace of the Peacock, 1959

Dark Black is a publication in progress that roams the frontier between history and fantasy, considering anthropocentric historiography as obsolete fiction. Conceived from the premise of land as self, the project revisits the history of the partition of the island of Quisqueya, present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic, to engage in its reconstruction through capacities of doubt, feeling, and imagination. The book making process parts from historical research to investigate the possibility of new narrative systems that transcend merely human discourse, hence affirming the multiple latent ancestries and phenomenal legacies erased by the dominating historical fables. The quest integrates a series of works by contemporary artists, breeding curious associations that revolve its linearity.
In the need for guiding lights, the project embraces a series of influences encountered along the way, exploring and visibilising a genealogy of similar intents. These explorations manifest as curatorial experiments where past events, artworks, sites, and people gather in rehearsals of affiliation, tryouts in search of the final shape of Dark Black. The first of these exercises happens under the influence of Guyanese writer Wilson Harris’ fiction, and consists in the materialisation of the New Treaty of Sensibility.

July 14, 11.00–13.00 (in exhibition)
Morning Ritual

Morning Ritual is an inaugural gathering that sets off the creation of the New Treaty of Sensibility. Suggested by Guyanese writer Wilson Harris in many of his novels, the drafting of this agreement happens as part of the publication in progress Dark Black, which retells the history of the division of the island of Quisqueya, today’s Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and the resulting birth of a new racial distinction. This split is said to have been settled between Spain and France through the Peace of Rijswijk (NL, 1697). The aula as a time-space of reassembly will host a group of vestiges, vibrations, people, and literary fragments to imagine the clauses of this bond for a world where nothing is alien.

Los Tejedores (2013, Dominican Republic) is a project created by artist and product designer Natalia Ortega Gomez and musician and filmmaker Ricardo Ariel Toribio, rooted in a shared love for weaving, nature, plants and art. The couple investigates the weaving traditions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti to produce objects from local natural fibres in alliance with rural artisans. Through the years these collaborations have translated into a network of friendships and shared knowledges around materials, techniques and the cultural particularities of the Caribbean context.

Patricia Castillo (b. 1972, Dominican Republic) is a Dominican visual artist who explores the language of abstraction and synthesis through sculptures and installations made from ordinary materials and found objects. The formal economy and simplicity that characterise her work derive from the ubiquitous nature of geometry in everyday experience, referencing emotions, situations, and contradictions particular to our contemporary moment. Repetition, a fundamental mechanism in all of nature’s creations, is a frequent technical resource in the conformation of Castillo’s vocabulary, also implied through her use of mass produced yet familiar items such as clothing, medicinal pills, and balloons.

Ro Acosta (b.1984, Dominican Republic) is a musician and graphic designer working from Copenhagen. Ro has been deeply touched and inspired by yoga discipline and traditions. She has found a way to know and understand herself by continuously following her practice. She has pursued Hatha / Vinyasa, Yin Yoga and sound therapy education and has been teaching continuously for the past 5 years. Currently, she is studying yoga therapy, which is a comprehensive program that brings the most effective aspects of traditional yoga and Ayurveda combined with modern medicine. Ro believes everyone has an inner healer which shall be stimulated and awakened, with the capacity to rise to higher levels of being.