project image
Scott A. Carter

first performed on November 3, 2013
Roots & Culture Contemporary Art Center, Chicago, IL
performed three times in 2013


Liliana Castellanos, Janeth Palacios, Mary Tilden, Meredith Weber and Caitlin Ryan

Chicago, IL


Machera Series is a project that investigates narratives of the artist’s identity through a series of performances in the Trailer Park Project. In Hispanic countries like Colombia, dancing salsa and merengue is a popular and frequent practice. It is a tradition that is passed through generations. In this practice, gender roles are clearly defined: the woman follows the man, and the man is the one who asks the woman to dance. Because of this, females without a partner often will not dance in public.

In this performance, body language works as an identifier and is a reflection of women’s desire, a desire governed by structures and traditions that mark gender roles. Music awakens the body memory, resulting in ephemeral actions that are made visible by the imprints left in a powder covered dance floor.

The formal meaning of the word “machera” refers to the breeding of cork oak trees, and it seems to have a relationship with the word macho. In the dictionary of the Real Academia de la Lengua Española, machera means “criadero de alcornoques.” Alcornoque is a cork tree, but it is also a word that informally means idiot. Therefore, other possible translations of machera could be “nursery of idiots.” It is also used as an informal Spanish word in Colombia meaning something that is very good. In American English, this word could work as the expression or word: cool, awesome or great. Nevertheless, the pronunciation of the word machera holds a similarity to the word macho.