Over the past ten years, Afro borikua sibling duo Las Nietas de Nonó has evolved a creative process that evokes ancestral and communal memory through personal archives of the everyday. Their practice incorporates performance, found objects, organic materials, ecology, fiction, video, and installation. The specific character of places and the people that occupy them are critical to their process. The collective spends considerable time immersing themselves in a geographic, ecological, and social space before presenting work that responds to the context in which they find themselves. Each intervention becomes a playful, richly associative archive of a specific place at a specific time holding specific communities.
For their residency at the VAC, Las Nietas de Nonó have turned their attention to the multiple levels at which community operates. SCOBY (an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), itself a community of microorganisms, is a material they have been working with since 2016. Here, the SCOBY is made three-dimensional. Their shape references a Taino cemí that the siblings encountered as children, symbolizing community persistence through ancient and modern times. The gathering of SCOBY from kombucha brewers across Austin, construction materials from UT’s building sites, and found objects from Campus Departmental Reuse and elsewhere has instigated engagement between the VAC and its community. Further, references to basketball, a carefully choreographed form of community activation for players and fans alike, link UT’s sports-crazed campus, the VAC’s vaulted gallery, and the neighborhood courts of Las Nietas de Nonó’s childhood.
Las Nietas de Nonó would like to thank their collaborators at Buddha’s Brew Kombucha, KTonic Kombucha, Casper Fermentables, UT Surplus, the Department of Integrative Biology, and Texas Acoustics for their assistance in developing and realizing this project.
Las Nietas de Nonó: In Residence is organized by Nicole Smythe–Johnson, 2022–2023 VAC curatorial fellow, with assistance from Melissa Fandos, 2023–2024 VAC curatorial fellow.