Fillip 8 — Fall 2008

Visages Faux
Mariana Castillo Deball

Mariana Castillo Deball’s contribution to Fillip is part of Master Humphrey’s Clock (2008), a project that examines the intersections between storytelling and circulation through a series of art exhibitions, publications, and events. The project is curated by Yulia Aksenova, Jesse Birch, Sarah Farrar, Inti Guerrero, and Virginija Januskeviciute, the participants in de Appel arts centre’s 2007/08 curatorial program, Amsterdam.

Texts from Kutenai Tales, collected by Alexander Francis Chamberlain and Franz Boas (Washington: Smithsonian Institute, Bureau of American Ethnology, 1918).

The Giant

There was a town. There was a newly married youth. He went hunting. The newly married youth was skilful hunter. (I do not know his name.) He killed a mountain sheep. He skinned it. After skinning it, he felt hungry. He thought: “I will dry some of it, so that it may be light. I will carry it tomorrow. It is far, and it would be heavy if I should not dry It.” Then he made a place to dry it. He began to cut up the meat, and hung it up. He was about to hang almost all on his drying frame. There were two thin pieces of meat lying there. He did not know where they fell off from. He was hungry. He thought: “I’ll eat it.” He put the meat on the fire; and when it was done, he ate. It tasted good. What he had killed did not taste that way. He thought: “What may it be, that it tastes so good?” He looked, and he saw that his own flesh was missing. He looked at it and he saw that a knife had done it. Then he knew that it was his own flesh that tasted good. He thought: “Well, I’ll cut off another piece of my flesh.” He cut it off, put it on the fire, and when it was done he ate it. Then he saw that it tasted good. He wanted some more. He began to cook his flesh on the fire, and, although he had eaten, he wanted some more. Then there was no more flesh on his legs. It was late at night, and he was still eating his flesh. Then in the morning he was still eating. He wanted more. He could not stop eating. It was evening again, and he had eaten all his flesh. He had gnawed it off and only bones remained. He ate his own eyes, and only the orbits remained. He even ate his own tongue. He ate his whole body. Only his intestines remained lying there. His intestines remained, and his throat. It was that way; he did not eat his intestines and his stomach. Only his bones remained; and he did not eat his brains and his marrow, but there was no more flesh in his skull. He was sitting down. Then he would not look any more at the mountain sheep.

Coyote and Caribou

They were two—Coyote and Caribou. Caribou started. Coyote was angry. He thought he would kill Caribou. Coyote said: “Why does it take you so long?” Caribou said: “I eat small grass and I quickly get fat.” Coyote killed Caribou. Coyote came along. He entered Caribou’s tent. Caribou was dead: Coyote cried. He said: “I loved my friend.” Enough.

The Animals and the Sun

There was a town. A chief gave his commands. He said: “Who will be the Sun?” Then they began to talk about it. One of them was told: “You shall be the Sun.” After this one had been told that he was to be the Sun, all heard about what was to be done. Those who were told to be the Sun went. The name (of this one) was Raven. Then he started. It became dark. On the following morning they watched for him to come up. He came up. It was not bright enough when he came up. The day was always blackish. It was always like evening. The Sun came back. They said: “This way is bad. It is always blackish.” They said that he could not be it. Another one was looked for. Chicken Hawk was sent. It grew dark. Then Chicken Hawk started. On the following morning he went up. When he went up higher, the world looked yellow. It was always like that. He went down. In the evening the Sun came back. They said: “You can not be it. It looks like bad weather.” They assembled and talked it over again. Coyote said: “I will be it.” They said: “Well.” Coyote was about to start. Coyote started. At night they slept. On the following morning Coyote went up. When he went up, it began to be hot. It was fairly warm, and then it was noon and the people cooked food. The Sun spoke, and said: “Will there be any left for me?” It was heard what he said, and they left food for him. Even when they went into the shade, it was warm. The children began to cry, for the Sun burned them. They went into the water, and they thought it would be good, but the water was hot. It was the same, when the Sun went down. It became warmer and warmer until sunset. When it was dark, they felt well. They had almost been burned to death. Coyote came back. He was told: “You can not be it; you are bad. You were too hot.”

Coyote and Owl

Owl stole children. Coyote said: “I’ll be a child.” Coyote cried in the evening. He was told: “You make a bad noise. Owl may almost take you away.” Coyote was taken. He was thrown out of the doorway. Owl took him along. He carried him along. He said: “I am Coyote.” Owl was told: “Let us dance!” Coyote and Owl danced. Coyote killed Owl, who had stolen the children. They started back. He said: “I killed Owl.” Enough.


In gambling many things are lost—horses, blankets, shirts, bows, knifes, money—everything is lost.

Image: Mariana Castillo Deball, Faux Visage, 2008. Microperforated poster, 64.35 × 60.85cm. Photo courtesy of Michael W Schnepf

About the Author

Mariana Castillo Deball is a Mexican artist based in Berlin. Recent projects include These Ruins You See (2006), at the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, and Interlude: The Reader’s Traces (2003), an intervention at public libraries in Paris, Berlin, and New York. In 2004, she was awarded the Prix de Rome/Netherlands, and her work is currently on view at Uqbar Foundation, Amsterdam, as part of Manifesta 7.

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