Pauline Arroyo

Pauline Arroyo



artist statement

Reciprocity aims to distill humans to their most basic parts in order to find commonality, and explore the world at a more instinctual, unbiased level. The idea arose from the sensation of detachment that comes with living in the in between of two cultures—constantly split between identities, constantly unaware of what identity to claim, constantly refused from each side. Reciprocity liberates the participant from the enslavement of identity. It does so by inviting the participant to exchange their experiences with those of the artist. The participants relive time through individual sensory groups, in the order that they developed these senses during fetal development, thus experiencing their own rebirth. At the end of this four-day process, the audience will complete the healing process and look into the possibilities of the future.



Day One:
Feel the Textures of the Present.

Place your hands into the cloth chamber. What do you feel? Touch and/or untie the knots using only touch. You may either take the knot with you or leave it in the chamber. However, before or after you feel the knots, you must make one of your own and place it into the chamber.

Materials: plastic line, copper wire, rope, hair

Knots were chosen partially because of their significance in Incan culture as a method of communication, and partially because of their connotation as binds. Knots can bond things, make them stronger, hold things together, but at the same time they may frustrate, restrict, cause difficulty and pain. The same with the present; unity and rough complexities coexist. The materials were chosen based on reducing what we most interact with each day to their basic levels. We touch fibers, synthetics, metals, and live objects. Copper was specifically chosen for its conductivity.



Day Two:
Ingest the Past

Take a piece of rice paper and using the ink and brushes provided, write down a memory. Something from your recollection—a story, moment, word, phrase, something you’d like to accept, remember, or move forward from. Either eat it, or let it dissolve into the pot.

Materials: water, spices, rice paper, coffee, beer

Smell and taste are interdependent senses. Both involve ingesting something from the exterior world to better understand it. Mixtures of spices boil to create a warming smell central to the artist’s past, as well as Ecuadorian cuisine. By eating/breathing in the steam of their past, the participants allow their memories to re-enter their body and become part of their future selves.


Day Three: Synthesis

Today, I give you my heartbeat. Let me borrow yours.

Materials: Audio landscape, stethoscope, recorder

In order to synthesize the past and present, the artist reduces the way humans relate to each other to the sounds and vibrations of heartbeats. By trading heartbeats—the symptom of life—the artist asks the audience and herself to acknowledge their essential commonalities and share a part of themselves.



Day Four: Visiones

Relics from the past days gather and form the foundation for the hallucinogenic dreams of the future. By accepting the past, feeling the shifting present moment, andconnecting with others, one can begin to heal and move into the sublime future.