A Comedy of Equivocations: Nazario Turpo’s Collaboration with the National Museum of the American Indian
2015. "A Comedy of Equivocations: Nazario Turpo’s Collaboration with the National Museum of the American Indian", Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice across Andean Worlds, Marisol de la Cadena
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Nazario’s participation in the presidential inauguration made him visible to a curatorial team from the National Museum of the American Indian, in Washington, D.C. When the museum was inaugurated in 2004, Nazario was invited to the ceremony, which he attended as an Andean shaman. This story explores how the museum curators translated both Nazario and his practices using Andeanist anthropology as an expert language and notions of Native American spirituality. Representation, a notion central to museum practices, is explored in this story. It was a site of epistemic disagreement between Nazario and his collaborators at the museum, and particularly revealing when it came to the despacho, the vehicle through which relations with sentient beings are effected: while the museum curators certified the authenticity of the despacho because Nazario had composed it, he disputed its reality because the object he composed was inert and would never reach its final destination. This story also discusses Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s notion of equivocation, which was presented in story 1.