Antonio Vega Macotela has a strong interest in the Q’aquchas, a band of pirate-miners, who in the 18th century, exploited the Bolivian silver mines at the times when legitimate miners were obliged to rest. As group of mixed nationalities and of different standing they undermined the traditional power and religious systems and using them to create an alternative society. The research into the Q’aquchas has its origin in The Mill of Blood (2017), which Macotela presented at Documenta 14.
At FLACC Macotela researched and created Nobody will believe the fire. This is the first chapter in the long-term project The Q’aquchas Ballade, in which Macotela explores the figure of a ‘hacker’ as an agent of political and social disruption, in times when information is the most valuable resource. In a set of tapestries Macotela draws a parallel between the hacker’s group Nos del Abismo and the Q’aquchas. Whether mining for silver or for data, both groups have successfully used (loop)holes to undermine the existing power structures, ‘hack’ the system and making the invisible visible.
The tapestries are images of a forest fires, in which the Lagarde list is woven. The Lagarde list contains roughly 2,000 potential tax evaders with undeclared accounts at Swiss HSBC bank and is a subset of a much larger data set, known as the Falciani list. The Lagarde list is woven in a binary language between the layers of the forest fire and make it possible to “read“ the list when this binary language would be transcoded by a computer.
The project is presented under the title Incendio at CIAP (Belgium) as part of a collaboration between CIAP and FLACC.