La Cornuda de Tlacotalpan

Emilio Nasser

2016 - 2018

Veracruz, Mexico

"Times have changed and the story of La Cornuda de Tlacotalpan has been disappearing. People say that when you don't believe in something, it ceases to exist". An informal chat in a bar in Tlacotalpan town.

Many people said that La Cornuda, is a mysterious being who lives in the depths of the Papaloapan River in Veracruz Mexico, who appears to disappear, who frightens, scares away and explains the inexplicable. In its attempt to survive the forgetfulness of modern times, it makes a decision that requires courage.

Leaving the river, crossing the threshold of the shore, transforming itself, and entering into Tlacotalpan´s town dimension.

While La Cornuda walks around invisible to the eyes of the community, photography´s lens reveals its new life.

The central idea of the project on the legend of La Cornuda de Tlacotalpan was to re-imagine the story in the face of its possible disappearance: involving the community of Tlacotalpan in Mexico and its memory, to re-invent the story through a collective, playful and participatory re-construction.

The project La Cornuda de Tlacotalpan is part of Memory is a Swamp, a title of a series of research and audiovisual works on myths, urban legends, local stories and oral histories. Adopting, retelling and re-interpreting these narratives in a changing contemporary world, trying to open a space for experimental visions, re-framings and collaborative working contexts.


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  • "La Cornuda de Tlacotalpan"

  • The project "Memory is a swamp" is a visual experimental researches based on a folk story.

  • The community was spontaneously involved.

  • The construction of the mask was made with organic elements coming from the margin of the river.

  • When I heard about this legend, I did a research based on drawings and video interviews in the village community.

  • How did they imagine the Cornuda?

  • Because in fact nobody has ever seen her.

  • In this serie I try to generate a new narrative between these universes of imagination.

  • The small town of Tlacotalpan in Mexico.

  • The legend of the Cornuda was born from the heart of the Papaloapan river.

  • Memory is a Swamp.

  • A short documentary film about "La Cornuda de Tlacotalpan".