Thursday 10/06/22 7:30PM
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Performances · Exhibition-Related

Performative Screening of The Formaldehyde Trip

Cover Image: Naomi Rincón Gallardo, The Formaldehyde Trip, 2017. Photo: Eliana Cetto

Join artist Naomi Rincón Gallardo (b. 1979) for a performative screening of her film The Formaldehyde Trip (2017) in the New Museum Theater. A dynamic and experimental story-teller, Rincón Gallardo mixes live performance with video projections to expand upon her “mythical-critical surrealist” narratives, using pre-colonial myths to find anti-colonial poetic weapons against injustices of the present.

Made in honor of human rights activist Alberta “Bety” Cariño, The Formaldehyde Trip imagines the activist’s passage through the underworld after she was murdered in a paramilitary ambush in April 2010. Through music, dance, improvisation, digital animations, and excerpts of speeches by Cariño, the lively, eventful, and mesmerizing journey unfolds as a series of encounters with spirit animals, women warriors, witches, and Mesoamerican deities. The journey is narrated from the perspective of an axolotl preserved in formaldehyde, played sometimes by the artist herself. Almost extinct in its natural habitat, this species of aquatic salamander explains to us how Cariño’s murder is directly associated with the maintenance of colonial power structures.

Featuring an original soundtrack by composer Federico Schmucler set to Rincón Gallardo’s lyrics, the film comprises nine distinct musical numbers with interchanging parts in Spanish, English, and German. In this her live performance of The Formaldehyde Trip, Rincón Gallardo expands “Bety” Cariño’s feminist legacy and challenges hegemonic forms of social categorization and hierarchization, imagining a vibrant and surreal environment of pleasure and flourishing interdependence in the face of brutality and expropriation.


Tickets for this program will be available Tuesday, August 9.

The program will be presented onsite at the New Museum. All attendees are required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. Performers may be un-masked and will be socially distanced from the audience while performing. Review the New Museum’s COVID guidelines in advance of your visit.


We strive to make our programs as accessible as possible. Review the New Museum’s accessibility information here, including services available by request.

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