Daniella New Image 1Copy

The land does not reject

the land

they they the land


The land holds all bodies

all bodies are held by the land

all bodies are claimed by the land

The land does not belong to bodies

bodies belong to land

The land does not have owners

The land is not a country

The land is not a nation

The land belongs to themselves

We speak to the land in mother tongue

mother tongue is not a language

it is a muscle

Land and muscle bone body speak through gravity


land and body are one and the same

Even when the mind constructs




muscle mother tongue prevails

The mind floats

the body is pulled by the earth

this is how we move

and how we hold stillness

how we live and how we die

When I think of the language that lives in my body

I feel a tight knot at the back of my mouth

Stiff sinew sinking towards my throat as it expands

My unruly tongue narrows my air passage:

To speak or to breathe?

A bind to loss

Choked in the airless effort of words

Daniella Valz Gen 3

To dig a hole


into another world—

There’s no other

It is this

It is here

This is here




To open a seam inside the present

inside the space of time

within ancient shifting matter

To dig a hole as a way of saying I am here

This is here

This is now

inside time-space

inside the body of bodies

the body of land

the body of time space

the body of the past and of the future

Perhaps to belong means to belong to grief

and to be present in the now is to be present in grief

with grief

witnessing death

time death

land decay


to shape shift is to move through grief

to lose and to shed

in a wordless state

Daniella Valz Gen 4

Each time I curled I offered my pain as a jewel

to the land

Each time the land received it and opened up their pain

to me

Here, they said, take this glimpse, a mirror, an echo

(I am held in correspondence

I am held in reciprocity

I am given what I can handle)

How much death can one body handle before it’s claimed completely?

We were circling that edge, my friends and I

(the caretakers, the hole diggers, the stewards of sunrise)

Presence requires entering a great void of immersion

where layers of the self peel away

The hardest thing is to re-emerge



Daniella Valz Gen is a Peruvian artist based in London, UK. Their work explores the interstices between languages, cultures and value systems with an emphasis on embodiment. Valz Gen is author of the poetry collection Subversive Economies (PSS 2018). Their prose has been published in various art and literary journals such as E.R.O.S, SALT. Magazine, Paperwork Magazine and The Happy Hypocrite Silver Bandages amongst others.

Catalina Barroso-Luque is a Mexican artist based in Glasgow. Her practice spans across writing (Spanish and English), installation, performance and arts programming; utilising language and sexuality as instruments of power. Between October and December 2019, Catalina led the Penetrate: Translate reading group organised in association with MAP.


Credits: (Be)longing project by Daniella Valz Gen: produced by ]performance s p a c e[ , images by Rowan Powell, funded by Arts Council England.