Carlos Motta

COL (1978). Lives and works in New York.


Trilogía Nefandus, 2013
- Nefandus (13’ 04”)
- Naufragios (Shipwreck) (12’ 31”)
- La visión de los vencidos (The Defeated) (6’ 46”)
Videos, color, sound

Nefadus, 2013
76.2 x 50.8 cm

Carlos Motta’s video trilogy Nefandus investigates pre-Hispanic and colonial homoeroticism, exposing the manner in which sexuality is a cultural construction with very specific origins based on moral and legal discourse on sin and crime. In the first video, two men, a native and a Spanish speaker, travel by canoe along a Colombian river, telling stories about abominable sins—acts of sodomy that took place in the Americas during colonization.

The second video is a fictional adaptation of Los infortunios de un sodomita exiliado en la Bahía del siglo XVII (The misfortunes of a sodomite banished to the seventeenth century bay), a text in which the Brazilian anthropologist and gay rights activist Luiz Mott documents the unfortunate story of a Portuguese man whose life was defined by innumerable confrontations with the Inquisition. Lastly, a native slave in La visión de los vencidos (The vision of the vanquished) leads a group of Spanish conquistadors and describes the instant in which a captain of the Spanish navy witnesses a homoerotic ritual which he condemns as “unnatural and abominable” and orders the men executed.

The purpose of Nefandus is to establish what the consequences of revising historical categories could be and writing new meanings into them through research or imagination in order to achieve greater social freedom. The project is a continuation of the artist’s research based on recognizing the stories and identities of communities that have been suppressed by history. He shows us the problems that exist in the peripheries in relation to what is imposed on them from the centers, emphasizing the contradictions embedded in the process of modernization.