Animated Shrines

S. Brent Plate says in his book Walter Benjamin, Religion and Aesthetics that in relation to Benjamin’s destructive-creation, “a key telling of the creation in Kabbalah is taken from the influential works of Rabbi Isaac Luria, whose cosmogonical account is described in three movements: tzimtzum (withdrawal, reduction), shevira (fragmentation, breakage), and tikkun (mending, repair).”

I made a rehilete (Spanish for windmill) using glittery and neon cardboard, some of the materials used by Mexican people to decorate small urban and semi-rural shrines—sites where they connect with the Divinity. The structure of the piece is made of stainless steel wire and rod, a metal used in 2019 by the American military forces to erect barbed wire and fences along the Mexico-U.S. border. The bead that supports the movement of the piece is made of clay combined with pages from the Luminous Mysteries, a part of a sacred prayer by the Mexican people.