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Luis Vasquez La Roche

The Impossibility
2020
Gunpowder, Palm Oil, Lemon Juice, Sand and Red Clay Bricks from Richmond, VA / Performance

The materials used in this performance all have ties to the history of the Slave Trade. The history of bricks began in the early 1600s, where enslaved folks would harvest clay from the James River in Virginia to make bricks. Likewise, Palm oil, combined with gunpowder and lemon juice, was poured over slaves to cover bruises and marks before they were sold.  
There is an interesting layering that happens here with palm oil as a commodity and the enslaved as a commodity. I put both materials in conversation by creating an ephemeral monument, where palm oil body casts would lay on top of another to impart the sense of a pile of bodies. Eventually, these casts melt and disappear. The large cube/base made of 1000-1400 bricks is the only thing that would remain, giving the sense of a removed monument.