A Conversation With: Luz Peuscovich

(she/her) @luzpeuscovich

You can also listen to this conversation between Luz and Nkech:

Can you introduce yourself to us?

I am an artist and astrologer from Argentina. I have been traveling before the pandemic for four years, working in different projects, specifically focused on the integration of human nature. And I was working with collecting objects from different places, then changing the context of these objects and building installations, that were involving the participants. Somehow you should go in and have an experience inside. The work with the space, work with the body, is in my practice since, I don’t know, 10 years?

© Luz Peuscovich

Yesterday I was thinking that 10 years ago I did my first costume that was called ‘Bicho’ in Spanish, which means bug. And yeah, was really playful. It was made for a band of friends [Morbo & Mambo] who were presenting their first LP and we did a performance with this Bicho. Was super fun. And this was 10 years ago.

Congratulations! That’s awesome. But you said, in the last four years before the pandemic you’ve been travelling around?

Yeah, before the pandemic. And then I settled in Berlin. I was already here before the pandemic. I brought my cat from Argentina, which was the symbol of my moving. And yeah, on the other hand, I’m an astrologer. I am working, teaching and doing readings since 2012, which was when I finished my education. So that’s almost 10 years also. So I appear young, but I’m not (laughs).

© Luz Peuscovich

You’ve been doing cool things for a while. Well, that actually leads to the next question. You do have different titles under your belt: Visual Artist, Astrologer, Alchemist, Grower of Crystals. Did you start with the astrology then and it led gradually to the others? Which one inspired the other, or have they always been intrinsically linked?

We could say that the first one is being a visual artist. In high school, I went to a school of arts. Actually, I went there because I was following my older sister. She was super good at making sculptures and I was really awful. My things were very very bad, but I always felt inspired by her. And then, when I finished the school, I said ‘Okay, well I should study something, let’s continue with arts’. Of course, I didn’t know which kind of things would happen after. But on the other side I’ve been interested in the understanding of the unknown. So I experimented with different practices and really went from one pole to another in terms of believing in something and then being ‘anti’. In certain periods I was a very spiritual person, while in others really like ‘no’. I studied for being a chef also, like a small career. Well, I also played drums in that period, I had a band. (...)

© Luz Peuscovich

Coming back to the question, at my 24 or 25, in that period of change, I started to study astrology in a great school in Argentina [Casa XI]. This really transformed me in many levels, in the way that all these ancient knowledges and myths to understand life, others, myself… started to settle somehow. And for sure, I can say that took me four years to study and then four years of research in the same school, so it were eight years of information. And it took me four more years, so twelve years in total, to really start to feel that the astrological practice was serious in my life. Because it’s very… It’s not simple to interpret. It’s not simple to work with symbols. You really need to go through many experiences in your life to also work with others.

© Luz Peuscovich

On the other hand, something very important that I forgot to say, is that in Argentina I’ve been working in a gallery space [Club Cultural Matienzo]. I studied curation and I was curating many projects. And then I had another work in Panama, where I was coordinating an art residency that was in the indigenous community of the Guna Laya area [La Wayaka Current]. And I was working there for two years, which was of course a very transformative experience on many levels. But in these two works, the project space in Buenos Aires and this residency, I worked a lot to accompany others in their creative processes. (...)

© Luz Peuscovich

Then, when I settled in Berlin, I started to work more with teaching. The last two years, I started to really focus on the transmission of knowledge, the astrological knowledge, trying to create my own techniques with images and so on. Parallel, the work with the crystals appears in my artistic practice. That was in these last two years. So alchemy appeared in my practice as a kind of a dot connecting everything. We could say that the alchemical practice is related with the integration of things, of everything that arises. Everything that happens in the practice should be embraced, is a part of the whole. So in the growing of crystal, what happens is that you cannot control it. You can create the context but they grow. They develop themselves. What I can say, as a synthesis, is that in all these different things that I do, the research attitude is the union between these parts. And the alchemy is somehow the metaphor to express how my artistic and astrological practice go together. And are part of the same. Because in my artistic practice I also work with the creation of symbols. My pieces are always symbolic. (...) And it’s always an expression of a personal process, of something that is moving me in that period.

© Luz Peuscovich

When did you start playing with the idea of growing crystals, and how did you start? Was there someone that introduced you to it?

One day, a friend sent me ‘Hey look what this person is doing’. It was an artist from the USA, I don’t remember who it was. But I remember that I saw these crystals and it’s like a… In the US, there’s a lot of artists that work with crystals but they do almost all the same, which is crystallizing bugs and skulls of animals and different kinds of bones. And then I started to research. I found that there exists a whole world of people that investigate minerals and crystals. It’s actually, from my perspective, quite a male world. I mean, all the people that I knew are these kind of nerds and half-scientists. For sure there’s a few artists. There exists one crystal dress in the history of art and different pieces made of crystals. But I tried to bring it more to my world, to what I feel. So in this sense, for example the masks… I told you that ten years ago I did the first costume (...), which I really liked making.

© Luz Peuscovich

So somehow, the play with these masks… When I make them, I try them on my face and really change my expressions. And I feel it’s really fun. To imagine that we can create different identities, like fluid and changing, that we should not be just one fixed person. And it’s interesting with the crystals, because the material appears so permanent. It’s a crystal, so it’s something solid. But how can we make something flexible?

When did you make your first mask with crystals? Was it also within these two years or more recent?

The first one was this year in the beginning, like January or something. I had this idea to have it around my head since like one and a half years. But I was not able to develop the technique. Everything takes time, you know.

Anything else you'd like to say about growing crystals?

Yeah, so my friend sent me this and I was fascinated. Then I started to research and it took me six months until I got the first crystal. Six months just waiting, observing… It was a really long time! (...) For sure it was one mineral and then it was like ‘Oh this also crystallizes, and look at this color’. So then it just went from there. Later I met another artist on Instagram, who is working with skulls and bugs and so on. And this person told me many things. We were chatting and somehow he was very impressed about how I was doing the work with the materials in a different way. But yeah, it was important to be able to talk with someone about it. I also know another artist from Australia or New Zealand, I don’t remember exactly, who is quite good and very scientific. A few weeks ago, I saw a live video where he was showing his lab. And wow, the level of precision. It was like ‘Okay I have still a lot to learn about it’.

© Luz Peuscovich

But I’m working super intuitively. I’m not even using a thermometer for example. (...) I can see in the process with my eyes, depending on transparency and the colors, what the temperature was like. They grow in water, so I can see how the liquid was. I work in this way by using the five senses. And I like to work in this way, not measuring and analyzing, but more artistic. For sure I got inspired by all these people, but on the other side I try to make it on my own. And especially with these materials, they grow in the way that they want to anyways. Frustration is always part of the process. And this is where I can feel myself as an alchemist, in the sense of ‘How can we embrace this and do something with it?’ And theres’s many tries that failed and many things that didn’t work. But how to continue? Without guarantees but with a lot of patience and passion.

You have started a workshop about a non-binary perspective on astrology. Could you tell us a bit more of what you are exploring there? In what ways is astrology changing nowadays, according to you?

Well, astrology is made by humans. It’s a language that we create through the years since the beginning of humankind. In the old times, astrology and astronomy were the same. The observation of the sky and the understanding of the cycles of it were astrology. So through the years, astrology was always a reflection of the human psyche, of the collective unconscious. In the 20th Century, with the boom of psychotherapy, astrology was really transformed. So now in this time, where in our bodies we are experiencing a lot of changes as a generation and society, astrology as a reflection of our psyche is also changing. Because we are changing. So this workshop is based on the attitude of research and the observation that many things about the non-binary way to perceive, understand and relate is something that is not in our psyche since a long time. Our brain is working in this good-bad, black-white… We have a lot of structures in our mind that are very unconscious and super binary. So the non-binary is an exploration. And then we have many symbols to work with to observe how we can create bridges. The one we use specifically in this workshop are called ‘symbols of transition’. And they are basically symbols of bridges, to create new connections. So I feel that this is the transformation of astrology. And we should do it. It’s not that a non-binary astrology already exists. It’s something that we should develop together in the research of our own bodies, our own experiences, our own life… Because the info of this transformation is happening to us. It’s in the sharing. The symbols don’t only have one meaning. What does this full moon mean? Okay, research it! What is going on in your body? What is happening to you in this moment? (...)

© Luz Peuscovich

It’s again about the idea or the practice, the theory or the experience. If we train ourselves to be open to the experience, then we can investigate and absorb the experiences and talk to other about them. But if we have quite theoretical images about things, it’s hard to open up. So we are in a super interesting time in terms of transformation or transition as a humanity. In the discovery of new ways to talk. My mother tongue is Spanish, right, and I mean for example how we change our language to talk more non-binary. This transformation in language is amazing. Well, in astrology the same is happening. It’s a re-interpretation about the classic symbols and the observation that there exist much more bodies to see in the sky, now that we have technology. Why Jupiter is called Jupiter, or Mars called Mars, is an accident of the collective unconscious. So which are the hidden symbols? Where are the parts that aren’t being told? (...)

Your work is beautiful, delicate and ever-changing. What is it like for you to create? Are you still ever surprised by the results you get?

I feel that it’s frustrating and surprising all the time. This never-ending story is somehow the path of the practice. So you can experience many things in the practice, like ‘Damn this isn’t working’ or ‘Wow this is incredible’. It’s changing all the time and many things can happen. But what I can confirm completely is that I get fascinated and surprised many times. And almost floating sometimes. Leaving the studio feeling like (sighs happily). Especially the days that the sky open, then I go out with the fresh air and the stars are there, which to me are like gods. It’s the magic of life and the feeling that we are somehow connected. I feel that this feeling is so powerful, feeling part of the plot of nature. And this is actually the core of what I have been doing since the beginning with all my practices. Trying to connect with a regional source in the sense of origin, beginning or essence. And for that reason I work with organic materials since many years. (...) It’s about something that should not be permanent and eternal.