Reading about the origin of the word Peru, I remembered a legend I was told many years ago in Sydney. After Captain Cook had arrived on Australia's East Coast, during his trip to map the Oceania continent, he demanded, in unhesitating English, of a native man about the curious name of an animal that was jumping everywhere. The man's answer was "Kan Ghu Ru." Cook transcribed the name of the marsupial as Kangaroo. What he did not know was that the actual meaning of the phrase in the native language was: "I do not understand you."
For Musuk Nolte and Leslie Searles, black and white is a formal means to mix up the times coexisting in their country. Their Peru is in the middle of darkness—this may be the only way to suggest the extension of what they do not know. The narration of their encounter with their Peruvian peers is undoubtedly the proof of their own otherness, the impossibility of filling in the dark blanks of history.
Their pictures rise up from the shadows. They are scenes lightened by symbolic glow-worms flying around and stopping, seemingly dictated by random motivations and directives. Likewise their story: fragmentary and random, fascinated and passionate: brief.
I would say it is closer to a childish tantrum, as it is much more mysterious than an adult's reasoned reflections...Piruw is an emotional journey, an album. There are no maps; the map only exists in the political speech. There is no History, there are histories. What cannot be named here is instead simply shown. It is, as the admired José Luis Gallero said, like trying to confer sense from the magma. In this case, the photos confer some sense of the real from its pieces, its fragments.
That is the aim of photography and history. No wonder the father of this last one, Herodotus, having not yet found a word to name his discipline, used the verb historein—which we can translate as "to question" or perhaps, "to witness."
Musuk Nolte and Leslie Searles
Self-published, with support from MATE (Mario Testino Association)
[Editor's note: as far as we can tell, it is difficult to find this book for sale on the internet. But feel free to get in touch with the artist to inquire about acquiring a copy.]