“Lumbung Lounge”: Installation at Kulturbahnhof in Kassel

My new video art piece Algún día caerá is currently featured as a video installation in the screening integrated in the Lumbung Lounge installation, a project by Guerilla Architects and Along the Lines, at the Stellwerk Galerie, in Kulturbahnhof, Kassel, Germany from July 22nd through July 30th, in parallel to documenta fifteen. Below are some images from the exhibition.

“Through the installation Lumbung Lounge, the exhibition space of the Stellwerk Galerie in the Kulturbahnhof in Kassel will be brought back to its original state: a public waiting room. Via the installation work by Along the Lines and Guerilla Architects, the public is invited to engage with the topic of waiting as a collective moment. Can a collectively used space inspire experimentation with new forms of togetherness?”

Below are some images from the exhibition. Photography: Natalia Irina Roman

“¿Y ahora qué? Experiencias de la cotidianidad migrante” Exposición

Algún día caerá, 2022, 15:33, digital video, color

My new art piece Algún día caerá is currently featured as a video installation in Madrid, Spain at ABM Confecciones space. It is part of a group exhibition centered around migration entitled “¿Y ahora qué? Experiencias de la cotidianidad migrante”. The show is on display from June 3-12, 2022. Below is my video piece followed by some images from the exhibition.

naipes

naipes, 2022, mixed media

A mixed media piece dealing with the post-genocidal legacy of the Spanish invasion of Mesoamerica through the medium of “naipes”. These images are accompanied by three text quotations:

“It’s important to begin with the coining of the term genocide. Raphael Lemkin first used the word genocide in his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (1944). Lemkin spent an entire chapter defining the term, breaking it down into pieces that would help to clarify what genocide is, how it evolves, and the various forms that it takes on. Lemkin laid out multiple conditions that may lead to genocide, which included Colonial expansion, three method types (physical, biological, and cultural), each with multiple techniques… two phases—genocide as an event as well as genocide as an ongoing process, and multiple other facets and considerations for each genocide such as information on the “genocidists,” propaganda, victim responses, outsider responses, and the aftermath.”

“What’s more, Lemkin’s unpublished notes and essays show that he also based his original definition on the colonization of the Americas, and specifically Spain’s notorious treatment (otherwise known as the “Black Legend”) of the numerous tribes that used to occupy Central and South America.”

“Lemkin left behind copious notes, outlines, and unpublished articles on the indigenous Inca, Maya, Aztec, Caribbean peoples… The cultural genocides are all remarkably similar. Lemkin, in any of his notes that have been made available, does not acknowledge the component of disease responsible for killing the vast majority of the population; however, there is no real need to since he is not claiming physical genocide (which relies on violence and death-tolls to be measured) outside of some documented events of massacres and shifting populations around for the encomienda communities that the Spanish set up. Disease may have hastened the loss of cultural identity, but the fact remains that the indigenous populations were forced into encomiendas/haciendas, had to give up their religion and language, and had their sacred artifacts and locations desecrated. This had little if anything to do with rampant disease (aside from workers in encomiendas being relocated to replace communities wiped out by disease) and cannot be ignored.”

-Kristina Charleston “Reframing the Debate: Spain’s Colonization of the New World as Genocide”

“Entre 1545 y 1558 se descubrieron las fértiles minas de plata de Potosí, en la actual Bolivia, y las de Zacatecas y Guanajuato en México; el proceso de amalgama con mercurio, que hizo posible la explotación de plata de ley más baja, empez ó a aplicarse en ese mismo período. El «rush» de la plata eclipsó rápidamente a la minería de oro. A mediados del siglo XVIII la plata abarcaba más del 99 por ciento de las exportaciones minerales de la América hispánica… en tres siglos España recibió suficiente metal de Potosí como para tender un puente de plata desde la cumbre del cerro hasta la puerta del palacio real al otro lado del océano.”

“Entre 1503 y 1660, llegaron al puerto de Sevilla 185 mil kilos de oro y 16 millones de kilos de plata. La plata transportada a España en poco más de un siglo y medio, excedía tres veces el total de las reservas europeas. y esas cifras, cortas, no incluyen contrabando.”

“Los metales arrebatados a los nuevos dominios coloniales estimularon el desarrollo económico europeo y hasta puede decirse que lo hicieron posible.”

-Eduardo Galeano “Las venas abiertas de América Latina”

“Los navegantes de Cristóbal Colón se entretenían al jugar cartas durante el trayecto del viaje y de igual manera, los pasajeros que viajaron de Europa a las Indias eran jugadores apasionados que se valían de los naipes para matar las largas horas que la nao recorría hasta llegar a su destino…”

-María Isabel Grañen Porrúa. “Hermes y Moctezuma, un Taror mexicano del siglo XVI”

erasure 2.0

erasure 2.0, (2022) digital collage

“Erasure 2.0” continues a digital collage photo series that deals with the theme of Western censorship by U.S. based social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. The collage is composed of the last three photographic portraits I posted of my family on Mother’s Day on a new Instagram art account in 2022. I had the account for a week before Instagram locked me out of my account with no further explanation.

This piece engages with the historical erasure of indigenous people by Western institutions through genocidal violence and whitewashed colonial teachings of history and draws a link to the ongoing successor to this legacy in the tech industry. White supremacist tech companies such as Google and Facebook, which have deep ties to the United States surveillance state and military industrial complex, actively work to uphold racist algorithms and systems of oppression such as Israeli apartheid and limit which posts circulate widely on their sites. These platforms are increasingly used to suppress dissent and silence activist voices in the Global South.

This piece was also inspired in part by the recent controversy surrounding Facebook’s role in fueling the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, founder Mark Zuckerberg’s colonization of Hawaii, and Meta’s decision to allow for death threats and calls for violence towards Russians and glorification of the Neo-Nazi Ukrainian Azov battalion to be hosted on their social media platforms this year.

la independencia de méxico

la independencia de méxico, mixed media (2022)

A mixed media piece using iconography that details Mexico’s situation as a site of violence and control dictated by its proximity to the United States.

The first image is of a caged Mexican flag resting in a cactus. The eagle on the flag perched can be seen with a serpent in its beak.

The second image is of an Otomí-Mazahua rag doll perched in a Bougainvillea tree. These dolls also known as “Marias” are handmade and traditionally sold for income by indigenous artists to tourists in Mexico. The doll has a pistol laid across her lap.

The third image is a dead cat underneath the shade of an avocado tree.

agua coca-cola

agua coca-cola, mixed media (2022)

Agua Coca-Cola is a mixed media project made from polluted river water from the Río Cuautitlán in the State of Mexico bottled in a Ciel plastic bottle. Ciel is Coca-Cola’s Mexican bottled water brand and has been sold throughout the country since 1996.

Coca-Cola has a long standing history of plundering Mexico’s clean water reserves for production of its products while the country suffers from water pollution in its natural waterways from discharge of domestic, industrial, agricultural and mining residues by multinational corporations and industry. Millions of Mexicans face water scarcity in various regions of the country.

erasure

erasure, (2022) digital collage

“Erasure” is a digital collage photo series that deals with the theme of Western censorship by U.S. based social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. The collage is composed of the last three photographic portraits I posted of my grandparents and family on my Instagram art account in 2021 before the platform abruptly claimed a violation of terms and deactivated the account with no further explanation.

This piece engages with the historical erasure of indigenous people by Western institutions through genocidal violence and whitewashed colonial teachings of history and wishes to draw a link to the ongoing successor to this legacy, white supremacist tech companies (Google, Facebook) that actively work to uphold racist algorithms and systems of oppression (Israeli apartheid) against indigenous peoples in the Global South.

“Erasure” was also inspired by the recent controversy surrounding Facebook’s role in fueling the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar as well as Facebook and Instagram’s decision to allow for death threats and calls for violence towards Russians to be hosted on their social media platforms this year.

altar

altar, mixed media, 2020

An altar I made for Día de Muertos in 2020 dedicated to the lives of children and adults that were cut short due to state violence and the coronavirus pandemic. The altar is composed of various food offerings and snacks for children. Along with refreshments, books, religious items and flowers.

In 2021, photography of the altar was featured in “Día de los Muertos” Art Exhibition at Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery in Seattle, Washington as well as in “Honrando a los Muertos” Art Exhibition by Freedom Arts Collective at Local Distro in Nashville, Tennessee.

The central space of the altar holds a place to honor the memory of those who have passed on from this world. Pictured below are three migrant children who died in I.C.E. custody. From left, Felipe Gomez Alonzo (8), Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez (16) and Jakelin Caal Maquin (7).

Entre

Entre, mixed media collage (2020)

Entre is a work that came out of a time of sealed borders and quarantine lockdowns at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The collage engages in multifaceted ways with the liminal patchwork space of being “in between”, using a variety of found objects that reflect the fractured history of Latin America in the face of imperialist colonization.

Melding broken pieces of technology and ephemera from the natural world, the work opens a temporal rupture between the past and the ever evolving present. A bloody bullet hole shatters the glass frame piercing the natural world and opening the veins of Latin America during the colonial period of European pillaging.

The materials in the composition engage with aspects of indigenous resistance, armed revolt and social uplift in the continued struggle for liberation in defiance of the continual U.S. imperialist agenda of exploitation, regime change and destabilization of the region.

“Political Statement” Exhibition

Una Separacion, 2019, 3:56, digital video, b&w

My video art piece Una Separación was recently featured in a mixed media format of still and moving image as part of an international group exhibition by LoosenArt entitled “Political Statement”. The piece was on display from February 1-8, 2022 at Millepiani Gallery in Rome, Italy. Below is my piece followed by some images from the exhibition.