The Liquid Archive 27

The Liquid Archive

So what other kinds of “Liquid Archives” might we consult in a search to recover ‘the maps they brought with them’? Capoeira, the Angolan martial arts that has been preserved in Brazil, is taught from Master to student, generation to generation – sacred movements that contain an ancient physics. Or maybe the Samba – not just the rhythms, melodies or lyrics, but the wheel and it’s motion. Samba is performed in a circle, with a specific motion built into its traditions. Or the Jongo strongholds, some of which have been mapped as territories of resistance, especially in the runaway communities. But what of the motion of the body, the dance, or the structure of the call-and-response. These are living histories, living archives to be consulted. But if, as I suggest, they are preserved in the traditions that survive in Brazil, what purpose would mapping them serve?

In a recent talk at the Rudman Conference, scholar Edson Krenak presented a paper entitled “How to Map My Body.” Krenak works with mapping projects in indigenous communities in Brazil and Columbia. He calls maps “machines of war” and argues that colonial maps are not just records of violence, but acts of violence. The indigenous map, for him, is a counter-attack, an act of self-defense.