Shoreline Movements: Nefandus

This film is part of the exhibition Shoreline Movements, a program of non-fiction films curated by Erika Balsom and Grégory Castéra (Council), in a space designed by Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, for the Taipei Biennial 2020.

Two men travel down the Río Don Diego River in northern Colombia, one indigenous and the other Spanish-speaking. In voiceover, they tell of how the practice of sodomy was understood before and after the arrival of colonialists and the accompanying imposition of Christianity: the Spanish used it as a weapon of war, yet simultaneously condemned it as immoral. As their canoe moves through a landscape that betrays no hint of the atrocities it has witnessed, their reflections speak to how coloniality entails not just a conquest of territory but an importation of categories that reorganize ways of thinking, knowing, and acting. In the face of the violence and hypocrisy of this history, Nefandus asserts the persistence of indigenous epistemologies, reclaiming a pre-Hispanic past for the emancipatory potential it wields in the present. Motta crafts a parable of the threshold, putting into relation the encounter of two cultures and the encounter between two bodies.

Nefandus, 2013, 13:00

Text, Camera and Editing

  • Carlos Motta


  • Carlos Mendoza

Sound Design / Audio Editing

  • Zachary Dunham

Field Sound Recording

  • Juan David Alfaro


  • Arregoces Coronado (Kogi)
  • Carlos Motta (Spanish)

Color Correction

  • Margarida Lucas

Still Photography

  • Leonardo Baquero

English Translation

  • Cora Sueldo


  • Sodomites Savaged by Mastiffs by Theodore de Bry, 1594-1596

Images courtesy of the artist.

Field Producer

  • Sorany Marin Trejos

Production Assistant

  • Itamar Vargas


  • Don Diego, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia

Made while in residency at

  • The Institute for Art, Religion and Social Justice, New York