Mi Cielo

From MoHA Wiki

Event Info
Date 09.06.19
Admission Free

Mi Cielo
When Mi Cielo is repeated,
Mi cielo, mi cielo, mi cielo...
it could be either a showering of affection
Mi cielo, mi cielo, mi cielo...
or a prayer for safety or healing
Mi cielo, mi cielo, mi cielo...

Translated more literally, “my sky” is such an apt metaphor for someone one loves (or intends to love) for many years: my husband says the hardest and the best thing about long-term love of any kind, romantic, familial, or platonic, is that the one you love is always changing, and you are always changing, but it’s possible to love each other anyway in spite of, or even better, in full embrace of, that constant change. The sky is not beautiful only when it’s clear; some of the most magnificent moments are the storms. Even predictable blankets of gray have a depth underlying the reassuring sameness that can make them anything but boring if we pay attention. I hope you will feel love, mi cielo, as you wrap yourself (or your loved one) in this blanket. I want to keep you safe, warm, and cared for in every way. It is my delight to be able to comfort you. I hope you’ll share that comfort in turn.

Katelena Hernandez Cowles is a performer, visual artist, and researcher whose work explores the concept of comfort: why we need it; how we create it; how it is disturbed; how industries profit from it; where it morphs into discomfort, and vice versa; and how it interacts with socioeconomics, age, gender, nationality, and race. Her works most often take the form of interactive experiences and installations that include elements of vocal music, food, or touch, especially lullabies, hugs, sweet treats, and other maternal interventions. Her pop-up emotional day spa, Comfort Station, was nominated for an Austin Critic’s Table award in 2015. The artist’s current bodies of work critique the comforting impact of love songs, airplane safety information cards, and, in PIROPOS, the performance work she presents at EAST 2016, seductive Mexican masculine compliments or catcalls called “piropos.”

Her work was inspired by her undergraduate studies at Yale University in studio art and anthropology, but more essentially by her experience of motherhood paired with her experiences as a survivor of brain injury and PTSD. Following a concussion caused by a fall from a horse, complications in healing caused insomnia so severe that she lost the ability to sleep almost completely; only years of biofeedback, medication, and nutritional therapy returned her to health. During that period of sleeplessness, she sang to her young children, continuing for hours after they fell asleep. She recognized that exchange was of equal value to audience and artist; but that it wasn't an exchange that was generally available in the larger world. This convergence of artistic expression and intellectual exploration inspires all her further studies into the nature of comfort.