Echoes of our ancestors,
Heard across time and space,
We find the key to our future
As we look into the past.
In cultures of the Andes, both the universe and time unfold in the form of a spiral — what has happened will come again, what was up will become down, and all that once was will come again but transformed.
These moments of upheaval are known as the pachacuti.
If we choose, we may see the pandemic and events of the last two years as signaling another pachacuti — and with it, an opportunity to redirect this energy of transformation towards positivity and growth.
The Andean Collection is our contribution to this idea. We created this space to help build community, solidarity, and visibility of our work. Anyone in the Andean diaspora, as well as allies, are welcome.
We are intentional about our choice to identify as Andean, rather than by our national identities. Whether we descend from Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, or any other countries, we are united by shared cultures and histories, as well enriched by our differences. Identifying as Andean means we are honoring and connecting to our ancestry before borders, as well as acknowledging the new communities emerging from within our diaspora.
Some of us feel hardly any connection to that Andean cultural heritage. Others have started reconnecting by exploring our family histories. Some have connected by learning our ancestral languages and knowledge.
We built this space for you, whether you are at the beginning stages of exploring your cultural heritage or already feel empowered in that legacy.
These journeys, while personal, have the potential to not only offer guidance in our own lives — through sharing knowledge, wisdom, and art with one another — they can also hold a key to collectively envisioning a better future.
Through these works, we invite you to (re)connect with the ancestral wisdom that is our heritage, and join us on our own journeys to discover this alternative world.
Envisioning the Future
A joint statement from contributors to the Andean and Asian American collections, speaking on what Alternative Worlds means to us, what we hope folks take away from this, and what we're grateful for.
Andean Futurist Manifesto
In the Andes, geometric images known as tocapus carry within them a coded language whose meaning has been lost and that no Western science can read. However, our ancestors did not themselves believe in death — and the meaning of these geometries may yet continue to live on within us.
The Manifesto calls on us to awaken this knowledge by looking into our past, then project the meaning of these symbols into the future through a process of transrationality, whereby which we may acquire the vision that will allow us to birth new Andean technologies and reshape our reality.
This poem is about reconnecting to land and ancestral roots:
When I hear our native tongue in music I feel every inch of my body respond
I picture the clothing we wear and
The dances we do…
Every time i hear the music, I feel us rising...
— Wiyankiku? by Penelope Durand
Andean Sky is an interactive web-comic about an immigrant who returns to his home-country Ecuador, in South America, to reconnect with his own culture. This project is available for free and it can be displayed on PC, iOS and Android.
Heritage, music, and creative freedom
music recordings and interview
Alejandro Fernandez, an Aymara descendant, creates improvised and progressive psychedelic folk music and is a second generation refugee of the Chilean Pinochet dictatorship. Here we have a few of his recordings, as well as an email interview on his background as a musician.
Letter to Miguel, from “These Are the Things”
In their essay, Paxsi, an Aymara and Welsh-Irish writer and artist, reflects on their Aymara roots as it relates to family connection and their trans non-binary identity.
I wonder if in the future the Kichwa Otavalo community will still be known for being “Mindalaes” traveling merchants, will we travel across galaxies or planets?
Choclo y Chicha Vol. 1
In May 2020, Rimay Raiz launched Choclo y Chicha, a zine that shares the contributions of the Andean/Andinx diaspora through poetry, art, and storytelling. Both choclo and chicha are Quechua words for our ancestral foods of fresh corn and maize drinks, we chose them to reflect our cultural connections and create a space for a uniquely Andean zine.
Choclo y Chicha Vol. 2
The theme of Choclo y Chicha Vol. 2 is family portraits. Our goal was to inspire our communities to re-explore and revisit their family histories, as demonstrated through pictures, while we sheltered-in-place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mosqhoq is a poem both about dreaming and the longing to wake up. It's also a bit of a love story, for a person and a language.
It is written at an intermediate Quechua level with English and Spanish translations. Notes are included at the end to explain my translation choices and also give more context for Quechua words that have no exact translation.
Andean Sacred Geometry
An essay reflecting on the relationship between Andean sacred geometry, cosmovision, and nature:
This is because life itself is dynamic, a spiral — and you can see this play out even in history. Everything is always changing yet circling back on itself, evolving with similarities but transformed...
I find a lot of inspiration in the tocapu as a symbol embodying the mystery of the cosmos. My first completed tocapu design, I found the process of creating this to be compelling and meditative, and a welcome departure from all of the time I spend programming websites and software...
The twin collections Asian America and the Andes were born in solidarity with one another to both celebrate our diversity and recognize our shared humanity.
The following pieces, part of both collections, transcend the boundaries of either community, reflecting our interdependence and our ability to create in harmony with one another.
In this way, may this shared collection offer a glimpse and path forward towards a reciprocal world.
To kick off this project, we brought together the art and music of AltSalt contributors from both the Andean and Asian American communities.
artwork and poem
A piece about the conflicting experience of being disconnected from cultures that have faced so much adversity and colonization. It is about feeling intrinsically connected to these cultures and yet being so displaced from them.
i am a temple forged from sun
an army of iron shimmers from its
golden rays off a white cross
lodged into the beating heart of an empire...
I am a temple forged from sun...
— displacement. by Julien Nakamoto
A creative game of telephone, this zine contains poetry, artwork, and reflections on our creative processes as they relate to our Andean and Asian cultural heritages.
Located across the United States, each person passed the project to the next, who then responded to the previous piece, building up the collaboration via long distance in a manner befitting of our times — digital, cultural correspondence :D
Dear Art, Dear Charles
In the tradition of those old timey letter exchanges, in this series of essays we delve into generational anxieties, life reflections, and vulnerabilities as we unpack what it means to be a human in the 21st century. Letters are written in response to one another with no prior planning and only exchanged when they are posted publicly. In this way, we hope to foster discovery at every point along our journey; we invite you to join us!
To envision an alternative world,
Because representation matters,
Sharing knowledge and consciousness,
Let's create the future.