A Shelter For Survival

For Projector, artist Emma Segura transforms the suffocating weight of fear into a vital pulsation that makes sounds, meanings and stories of liberation vibrate.


2021, video, 15:17 min. 
Video available until February 6, 2022
Text by Sofía Villena Araya

( )
This is a parenthesis
the note that points out
what is to be known in another linearity
of things
the suggestion
the necessary clarification
that breaks the continuity
—Sila Chanto

Why be silent, if even when silent –suggests Emma–  fear remains. The artist transforms the suffocating weight of fear into a vital pulsation that makes sounds, meanings and stories of liberation vibrate. Her own experience emerges from the entrails with cadence; word by word creates a hypnotic constancy, a ( parenthesis ) from which repression is named with incisive precision.

The parenthesis embraces the ramifications of being and discomforts the linearity of the law that repudiates them as “deviations” to be corrected. The parenthesis which Sila Chanto –artist, thinker, writer, educator– refers to inserts in the text “a necessary re-signification”. Emma’s refuge is a parenthesis within the Law of the Name of the Father. Hetero-patriarchal power has a temporal dimension and takes force in its reiteration. One of its reproduction mechanisms is the paternal-filial line as a psychic order that structures and articulates subjects through the figure of the father. Segura, Emma Segura, weaves difference that resignifies: her weaving affirms a safe place to shape subjectivity in transit (the possibility of going and returning in an endless number of directions), as well as to thread bonds through trans-feminist identifications.

In her work, Emma draws on her experiences of participating in sewing and embroidery workshops, where she experiences the creation of community among women in the weaving of threads. Embroidery supports particular conditions of speaking and listening. It offers a common atmosphere of introspection, which oscillates between silences and life stories that are told without haste.

Emma recites, with an even and slow tone, three poems that blend rhetoric: “A Litany for Survival” by Audre Lorde, “Let’s talk about the intersections of the flesh” by Maite Amaya and ends with “Segura”, a verse by the artist. The collective memory of embroidery is registered in the silences that inhabit between poems. The intermingling of voice and silences demands complicit attention; their relationship acts as a reflection that redirects questions towards new forms of listening.

From a deep place, internalized and felt words overflow her body, creating a space of ritual. Emma expresses that each word is a lived feeling that is printed by means of the needle on the textile. Word, textile, needle are extensions of her multiple body and together overflows social molds.

Emma’s refuge is small, but her making is enormous and persevering; it is the militancy of doing that Maite Amaya claimed as the daily exercise of transformation that begins with our bodies as home. As a sensorial space between shadows, fire flashes, fabric and warmth, it refers to a kind of cave. Perhaps where early humans felt the stone walls. Emma holds the tactile encounter of flesh before borders were dictated, body-territories were plundered and sex-gender colonization dominated. Her act remains as a shared memory of intimacy that shelters liberation.


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