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We are Paz Ortúzar and Lucy Cordes Engelman, two artists originally from the American Continent(s) who met in 2019 while studying together in the Advanced Master of Artistic Research in a sociopolitical context (Sint Lucas Antwerpen, BE). Our individual artistic-research practices share a deep care for words, narratives, the natural world, belief systems and intuition.
We work together as SAPLAB, an artistic collective that aims to research narratives parallel to the official history with the purpose of discovering and replicating new ways of inhabiting our planet from a feminist, sustainable, mystical and community-based perspective. Furthermore, we agree on a view of space, land and geography as animate, highly charged political entities, and are continually searching for new ways of living together in today’s world by developing a practice deeply connected to human beliefs and its different expressions.

I am Lucy Cordes Engelman (b.1987), an artist-researcher and filmmaker originally from Washington DC. My practice is driven by an interest in subjugated and alternative knowledges especially related to land and place. I am currently based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

I am Paz Ortúzar (b.1985), an artist and researcher. My practice is connected to writing, spirituality and the standardization of knowledge. I was born in Santiago, Chile and I currently live in Ghent, Belgium with my partner and my son.


From 2020 onwards we, Lucy Cordes Engelman & Paz Ortúzar as SapLab have been researching mysticism, erotic love, and Beguines in communal living lead by women, gender non-conforming, and queer medieval mystics’, both their writings and their lived experiences. Our research has taken different forms, during July 2020 we worked together on a project called “And the Sap Will Flow Upwards”, which took place at RAAT in Antwerp. We created a space of research, creation and dialogue, meeting with artists, theologians and independent publishers with a gender perspective. Later on, between May and July 2021 we created a written score and shared it at Extra City in Antwerp through the performance “And it appears to us in the dew between the thorns…”. Based on our previous investigation, the score was composed by our own personal writings and the writings from Hadewijch, Agnes Blannbekin, Beatrice of Nazareth and Marguerite Porete. All women mystics who lived around the 12th and 13th centuries in the Low Countries, France and Austria.

We now consider this score as a first step toward a long-term project that can be activated in different spaces, where the writings and more importantly, the words of these women are spoken out loud. Each iteration of the project implies a new research of the writings and lives of specific authors. Their words and our words are integrated with the previous score in a revised version. Similar to the process of sourdough or the transmission of oral traditions: there are always some things that stay, others that shift and some that are completely new. The limits of authorship and time collapse to give space to a new blend of voices.

We view all these women writers as inspiring us towards the creation of different versions of the text and performance/rituals that straddles the intersections of art, feminism, nature and the unknowable. We believe that in this time of impoverishment and dis-enchantement with the world, our senses must be awakened and our relationship with the animate thriving world beyond patriarchal logic must be deepened.