It burns. A Dantesque territory chars its cosmography from its own entrails, which are hell. And KuZo knows it. Nobody sprayed a red fuel at close range and then threw a lighted match to it. Nobody tied its hands and feet to a log and approached, slowly, with an inflamed torch. That is to say, yes, all those perverse ignitions and many more of them happened, but not in the way we would like imagine. For a nation to burn up in flames, fire must come from its most intimate torment. Yes. Everything came from within. The sulfurous spark and the pyre that does not stop; the incarnated fuel and the torch; the flint that explodes in millions of slivers that burn everything whole. KuZo (as do those who have been won by despair and seek answers in the face of desolation) light a cigarette to let it burn. And, impassive, he films it: gradual, endless. A simple gesture. Pedestrian vice. A (minimal) pleasure. Just smoke. But no. This cigarette is not a cigarette. This lean cylinder is the axis mundi of destruction. A region of volcanic fire-holes, anxious to make combustion, does not need extrinsic arsonists to stir its flames. Like a salamander, she hides in its igneous belly the magma of her own holocaust. Its end, an ember that cracks, and that fiery cinder gives way to the larva of scoria that refuses to collapse; and it is understood that the fire that exhausts it comes from its inner core, from the scorching miseries that that country, Venezuela, hides in its foundations. And in spite of perceiving that the ash itself is the primordial essence of what has been consumed, of its more luculent nature (and of understanding that, precisely there, is where its enigmatic capacity for resurrection lies), we succumb to the woodworm of not being able to suffocate its ardent fate, thick with penitence and mourning. Unable to stop its ebbing involution towards the inorganic, to the alchemical nigredo, trust in the need for the ultimate sacrifice is the only thing we have left. We know that something must inevitably disappear (paper, tobacco, names, land, lives) in search of the purifying metempsychosis. And under the shadow of a (national) anthem, KuZo’s perpetual cigarette consumes itself, ineluctable, and its ash conceals simultaneously an ephemeral, prophetic artifact and this sort of infinite hourglass – perpendicular to the plane – filled with the scree of annihilation. Emanates from it a premonitory smoke, which is nourished by each incinerated character: … A … L … E … U … Z … E … N … E … V … And if there you were born, or if by chance has corresponded you to deal with the paths of life in that mutilated country that now does not even bears that name, with each letter that is absent something will also burn strong inside you, charred by yearning, inextinguishable. // Sergio Márquez
…it´s burning!!! – Video installation
National Anthem of Venezuela, Cigarette (made & branded in Venezuela), matches.
Music: Juan José Landaeta
Text: Vicente Salias
From the “Patria” (Homeland) series