Disappeared Quipu[s] for Ensemble

Camilo MENDEZ (Composer)

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


Disappeared Quipu[s] was the result of the project Post-Colonial Recherche; a collaboration with Ensemble Recherche curated by Bongani Ndodana-Breen. The work is inspired by and based on the installation: Disappeared Quipu by Chilean artist and poet Cecilia Vicuña. Quipu were complex objects used by ancient Andean communities to keep records and communicate information. Quipu consists of knotted cords of different colours and lengths. The information was codified by placing the knots at different positions, by adjusting the lengths of the different cords and by using strands of different colours. These objects were also forms of registering current events, remembering the past and in the case of Vicuña imagine the future. Quipu were banned by the Spanish during the colonization of South America. In her installation Vicuña hanged massive strands of knotted wool from the ceiling of the exhibition space evoking ancient quipu.
In my work Disappeared Quipu[s], I am channelling Vicuña’s installation by creating a collection of 6 musical Quipu that consist of knots (percussive textures) and strands/cords (sustained textures & long notes) that can be performed in ANY ORDER, but ALWAYS as a single movement, therefore all Quipu[s] must be played ATTACCA and transitions between Quipu[s] must be as smooth and continuous as possible. Under no circumstances the work must be performed in such a way that changes of Quipu[s] are perceived as such.
In order to reinforce the idea of Quipu, I have also modified and expanded the musical instruments to create ‘individual musical Quipu’ that are combined to produce a Quipu with the whole ensemble (see comments on notation). Each individual instrument is a ‘Quipu’ and the whole ensemble is a ‘Quipu’.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEnsemble Recherche
Media of outputOther
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2022
EventPostcolonial Recherche - Konzerthauss, Freiburg, Germany
Duration: 5 Dec 2022 → …

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Music


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