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Livia Daza-Paris, The Witness at the Boundary Layer, 2019.

Intervention in situ à Buffalo Mountain, Banff Center for the Arts, Canada.
Documents de la CIA récemment déclassifiés sur l'ingérence des États-Unis au Venezuela des années 1960.
Film photographique 35 mm développé au caffénol et imprimé à la main sur du papier photographique, tronc d'arbre tombé au sol.



Thursday Septembre 14, 2023

From 5:30 to 10 pm.
Free, no reservation

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The exhibition opening coincides with Belgo's Rentrée event! Come and discover the Belgo's exhibitions in an evening full of discoveries!

Guided tour
Friday, September 29, 2023 
5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Free, no reservation required
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Come and discover the exhibition with curator Nuria Carton de Grammont. This will also be an opportunity to discuss and ask questions about the exhibition and the artist's work. 

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Livia Daza-Paris


14.09.2023 - 28.10.2023

Curated by Nuria Carton de Grammont

They say they now live in your gaze.
Hold them with your eyes, with your words;
Hold them with your life, don’t let them get lost,
don’t let them fall. Listen, listen; another voice sings.

Daniel Viglietti,
Another voice sings

Your feet have tired footprints, but even if the river
is very gentle little by little they face the sea.

Alí Primera
Gentle Song For A Brave Nation

The Wounded Tree traces artist Livia Daza-Paris’s forensic method of investigation, which recognizes the more-than-human as a witness to unofficial history and state violence surrounding the enforced disappearance of her father, Iván Daza, during the Cold War in Venezuela in the late 1960s.

The exhibition proposes a criminological narrative woven under the notion of attunement  (3) understood as an investigative poetics guided by the capacity for deep listening and synchronization of human and more-than-human entities (trees, rocks, sea currents, etc.). These elements are endowed with emancipatory potential and political agency, enabling them to participate in non-legal investigations of state violence. Daza-Paris’s practice is the result of extensive research based on family archives, declassified documents from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in the USA, and fieldwork with campesinos (4) in the village of Cocorote in the state of Lara, where on January 23, 1966, her father and other communist militants belonging to the Armed Forces for National Liberation (FALN) were ambushed. Using these sources, Daza-Paris develops a counter-narrative that proposes a new interpretive framework for the official history of US interventionist policy in Venezuela and Latin America more broadly.


Seeking information that could guide her to finding answers about the whereabouts of her father’s remains, in 2015 Daza-Paris visited the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C. and in Maryland. The information found in the libraries shows American diplomatic correspondence on  negotiations in the sale of military equipment to the Venezuelan government during the presidential term of Raúl Leoni just a few months before her father’s disappearance. In The Witness at the Boundary Layer (2019-23), the symbiosis between archive and plant matter positions violence as an experience that extends beyond the human, by affecting other communities, ecosystems and forms of existence with which we coexist in the world (5). The terrestrial bryophyte (moss) intervenes in history to decentralize the limits of politics in the Anthropocene era and restore memory through the ritual of mourning. In the video-performance Testimony V: Moss Burial (2019-23), Daza-Paris buries in the forest the last image of her father, presumably taken by the Venezuelan armed forces, which she received from a journalist friend while at an artist residency in Banff in spring 2019.

For Daza-Paris, the recently declassified archives also corroborate the direct experience and testimony of the Cocorote
campesinos, as well as the extent of American covert interventions in the region marked by the presence of the Military School of the Americas based in Panama since the 1940s. Awakening from a premonitory dream - an attunement, in her own words - she travels to Venezuela in 2012 to meet the campesinos, including Solano Fonseca, who helps her reconstruct the ambush and the place where it possibly took place. Farewells (for a return...) (2012-22) is a walk that traces the juxtaposition of archival and ethnographic narratives, highlighting the crisis of the referential values of history in the context of forms of interpretation and collective knowledge of the territory. The scars left by the bullets that struck the forest trees, ceiba pentandra 
(6), materialize the narratives shared by the campesinos and the semiotic possibilities of nature.

Having lost her father at the age of one, and in the absence of images with him, Daza-Paris creates My family album (2020-23)

through a collage of ten photographs made with the help of a scanner. The hand in the frame does not conceal the mechanical device, nor the weight of a family history that is reinvented by the machine’s innocuous, repetitive gestures. In the fragmentation of space, a shift in meaning takes shape: the smiling father in guérillero (7) costume, the perceptive poses of the young daughter, the mother and other family members are perpetuated in a new symbolic space. By preserving moments that never existed but should have, the album represents a foundational space for recreating emotional memory. Whereas The Wounded Tree. Simultaneous acts (2022-23) embodies family reunification through a simultaneous three-act performed by Daza-Paris in Canada and by her brother in Venezuela, overcoming distance and travel restrictions imposed by Venezuela’s geopolitical crisis that exploded between President Nicolás Maduro and his opponent Juan Guaidó in 2019. The performative interventions suggest a territorial crossing by oceanic currents, woven from the
unfinished letters left by Daza-Paris’s mother before her death in 1999. The release of the pine trunks into the sea evokes the meeting of human and more-than-human witnesses to heal and restore collective well-being, setting in motion an ‘‘assembly of solidarity’’ across the continents of North and South America.


Beyond the boundaries of traditional artistic practices, the convergence of art, human rights and Anthropology for the Ecozoic (8), Daza-Paris proposes a unique research method rooted in improvised movement and the kinesthetic engagement inspired by her background in contemporary dance and somatic practices. In this way, she unveils a ritual of mourning, both intimate and collective, for the disappeared, for bodies never found, through gestures that are profound in their simplicity, embracing the intangible traces of life and memory, challenging the limits of what is seen and what is felt. It is a matter of putting into action alternative ways of being in the world through an ecological corporality that proposes the radical expansion of consciousness by invoking a collective history of the living.


Nuria Carton de Grammont




* I want to thank Klaudia Gąsecka and Antoine Bertron for the
exchange of ideas and corrections in the writing of this text.

1_ Original Spanish text: “Dicen que ahora viven en tu mirada. Sosténlos con tus ojos, con tus palabras. Sosténlos con tu vida, que no se pierdan, que no se caigan. Escucha, escucha, otra voz canta.” Daniel Viglietti, Otra voz canta.
2_ Original Spanish text: “Huellas cansadas tienen tus pasos, pero aunque el río sea muy manso poquito a poco se enfrenta al mar.” Alí Primera, Canción mansa para un pueblo bravo.
3_ Syntony.
4_ Spanish: a native Latin American farmer.
5_ Daniel Ruiz-Serna, When Forests Run Amok, Durham: Duke University Press, 2023.
6_ Kapok tree, a giant tree from the Malvaceae family.
7_ Someone who fights as part of an unofficial army, usually against an official army or police force.
8_ In an age of anthropogenic ecological crisis marked by unprecedented
climate change, Ecozoic anthropology questions the human-centered ethical frameworks integral to modern life, and recognizes that human life is just one part of the larger living planetary processes that sustain us, as defined by the thinker Thomas Berry. Reference:




As a research-based artist, my practice develops new frameworks to investigate non-official history and political disappearance in Cold War-era Venezuela as a felt experience. This is explored through a process I call ‘poetic forensics’ that stems from my Skinner Releasing dance background and from Indigenous knowledge. With attunement methods using kinaesthetic sensing and Indigenous knowledge, I propose that my process of poetic forensics contributes to the new field of ‘investigative aesthetics’ identified by Matthew Fuller and Eyal Weizman, researchers with the Forensic Architecture agency.


Poetic forensics brings together poiesis from the Greek (‘to make’; ‘to bring something into being that did not exist before’) and forensis from the Latin (public discussion; ‘pertaining to the forum’). This process considers ‘more-than-human’ beings—understood here within Indigenous discourse—as witness to state violence. The inference is that the more-than-human has agency (Kichwa 2015, Kohn 2013) and thus participates in a ‘politics of witnessing’ (Derrida 2000). 

The processing and interpreting of primary sources, personal essays, archival materials and poetic testimony, create textual and moving-image counter-narratives to official history. I experiment with temporality, participatory art and long-duration, performative on-site interventions as decolonial strategies. Drawing from decolonizing methodologies (Tuhiwai Smith 2021), I suggest that ‘improvisational forms of assembly’ (Butler 2015), enacted with human and more-than-human participants, can exert political agency with emancipatory potential to subvert life-negating power structures that enforce disappearance.


Livia Daza-Paris is a Venezuelan-Canadian interdisciplinary artist and researcher. 

She has degrees in Community Economic Development, and in Digital Technologies and Design Art from Concordia University and holds an MFA from Transart Institute. She obtained her teaching certification in Skinner Releasing (Dance) Technique in 2001 under the supervision of Joan Skinner. Currently, she is completing her Doctoral practice-based research at the University of Plymouth, UK. Her writings appear in journals such as Performance Research, VIS NORDIC, THEOREM and Project Anywhere. Daza-Paris’ work has been presented at renowned venues including: Dance Theater Workshop and PS 122, NYC; DuMaurier Theatre, Toronto, Ruskin Art Gallery, Cambridge, UK; Tanzquartier Vienna, Austria; Alchemy Film Festival, Scotland; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Caracas; Optica Gallery, SBC Gallery, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts invited by MAADI.


Nuria Carton de Grammont has a PhD in art history (Concordia, 2012). Her research focuses on diasporic identities, participatory strategies and pluralization in the arts.


She co-curated the exhibition “Gilberto Esparza. Plantas Autofotosintéticas” at the Galerie de l'UQAM in 2017, and subsequently collaborated on Maria Ezcurra's installation “Personal belonging/Objetos personales”, presented in 2018 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In January 2020, she curated the exhibition “Uno, dos, tres por mí y mis compañeras” at the OPTICA center.


Nuria Carton de Grammont also has an extensive repertoire of publications, among them “Politics, Culture and Economy in Popular Practices in the Americas”, co-edited with Eduardo González Castillo and Jorge Pantaléon (2016). In 2023, she co-wrote with Laura Delfino "Un happening dans le Musée: pluralisation et appartenance institutionnelle", for Cahiers de l'OMEC.

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