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Mapuch ¡eh!

Miguel Benlloch


Mapuch ¡eh! is a performance that took place in the port out of which Columbus set sail, La Rábida. This piece works with live languages of pre-Columbus origin and generates an act of reunion with languages that are part of the daily life of thousands of people. Some of these languages are today endangered and others are marginalised and unprotected by the Spanish speaking nation states of the South American continent, in which Spanish is in most cases the official and only language spoken.

This is the case of the Mapuche culture (mapu = earth, che = people), whose language is Mapudungun and whose people once populated a vast territory on both sides of the Andes. Due to the persecution suffered under Spanish rule and to the exterminating expeditions that took place after the independence of Argentina, the area where the Mapuche culture is to be found today is reduced to the North of Chile, a territory between Valparaíso and Santiago, and to the nearby islands on the Pacific. There is also Mapuche culture within those communities of this origin who, due to the persecution that they have suffered in their land, have emigrated to the big Chilean cities.

The action Mapuch ¡eh! is performed along a soundtrack containing words and music of the Mapuche culture. The dance-ritual performed instances the creation of new meanings around the idea of territory. In this dance, work clothes are the tools for the construction of new meanings. Red coveralls are resignified through painted words in the Mapuche language.

Mapuch ¡eh! is and eco-linguistic performance which establishes language as responsible for the construction of identity, as a vehicle of communication and a space of a diverse ancestral memory.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Mapuch ¡eh!
  • Direction: Miguel Benlloch
  • Production: BNV. 1999.
  • Team:

    Càmera: Video TV Huelva

  • Duration: 00:18:40
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Original format: DVD
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright