Haas Scholars

Bryan Truitt

Quipu: Debt, Archive, and Amnesia

The Incan quipu was a record-keeping and computing system based on knotted rope, encoding debt, land ownership, genealogy, and other information, but its precise meaning has been lost through colonialism. The arbitration of archival inclusion is an exercise of power, and scholarship, as practiced in the western academy, is a negotiation with or an interpretation of the archive. Yet inclusion is not enough: the organization and decontextualization of indigenous archival objects reflects the fragmentation of indigenous ways of knowing under colonialism. Using artistic production as a framework for critical inquiry, Bryan will travel to Peru to visit archival collections and 3D scan quipus, repatriating the files to supporting institutions, and responding with a series of sculptures which draw from their material and knotting techniques, as well as ideas of indebtedness, memory, and cultural loss.

  • Major: Art, Cognitive Science
  • Mentor: Jill Miller, Art Practice