Laundry of Sorrows 1982
Materials: Concert with washing machines
Exhibition history: 2015 The Banff Center, Canada; 2008 Galleria Continua Les Moulins, France
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
Laundry of Sorrows was imagined in 1982, in reaction to the political regime of the military junta in Argentina. It was finally performed and filmed over several days at the Galleria Continua Les Moulins, in 2008.
The war over the Islas Malvinas directly resulted from the military dictatorship of a decadent and weakened Argentina. The disappearance of thousands of citizens during the period 1976-1983, was further augmented because of the irresponsible acts of the military commander Galtieri. Seeking to distract the Argentine population from his failing rule, he claimed the return of the island to Argentina by military force. As the General Belgrano warship sank, so too did the entire country with it.
History repeats itself with the millions of refugees struggling along the routes of exile, over walls and borders provoked by yet more wars and dictatorships, along with famines, humanitarian and natural disasters. In the hope of a new future so many personal lives are waiting to be wiped clean and for their realities to be cleansed. Personal stories, too hard to bear, are washed and washed over and over again until they finally fade and discolour. A purification of the past to reveal a new identity.