“Witness: red is the color of mourning” (prototype) is part of a larger project using materiality as a lens through which to speak about art, science, history and culture. The interactive installation makes visible through the body of cochineal, a hidden history of conquest, trade, environmental and human devastation, as well as the beginning of modern globalization. Cochineal is a small scale insect, used throughout history for ink, paint, and dye in art, textile and foodstuffs. Participants create cochineal dye from real bugs, hanging dyed linen squares in an ongoing evolving grid wall painting. Included are printed images dating from the conquest era to today illustrating the history of cochineal, and a video of making dye overlaid with images of the 1980 wars in Central America, a legacy of colonialism. The sterile man-made lab environment is slowly encroached upon by the earthy body of the cochineal, questioning our relationship to natural resources, culture, trade, and globalization, as well as cochineal's particular history in conquest.

red is the color or mourning, video
click on link to view.