Video Works

“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

quintana road

quintana road, san antonio, texas (2022)

Photography documenting the community memorial to the 53 migrants who lost their life in a trailer truck in San Antonio, Texas on June 27, 2022. 67 people were locked up inside an abandoned trailer without water or air conditioning for at least 4 hours in the middle of a heatwave in Texas, with temperatures reaching 114ºF (46ºC). It is believed to be one of the worst migration tragedies in U.S. history.

robb elementary

robb elementary, uvalde, texas (2022)

Photography documenting the community memorial to the victims of the school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that took place on May 24, 2022. 19 students and 2 teachers were gunned down and killed by an armed shooter while Uvalde police waited over 1 hour in the hallways of the school and never entered the classrooms while preventing parents from attempting to rescue their children.

“¿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.

Bahía

Bahía (2022)

Duration: 1’30” Medium: digital video, b&w

A short narrative set in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. A mysterious figure emerges from the waters of the bay. Could she be the legendary “la escondida” for whom the Mexican port town is named?

tenanitla

tenanitla, ciudad de méxico (2022)

A photography series documenting the colonial era convent of El Carmen in the southern neighborhood of San Ángel in Mexico City. The following quotations are from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and El Sol de México.

“San Ángel es un barrio fundamental de la ciudad de México. Su privilegiada situación geográfica, sus ricas tradiciones y el dinamismo de su economía le han configurado un carácter particular.  Debe enfatizarse que sus méritos históricos y arquitectónicos le valieron en 1984 la declaración de Zona Nacional de Monumentos Históricos.  De este formidable cúmulo de monumentos -más de 80 inmuebles- el más importante de todos, sin lugar a dudas, es el antiguo Colegio de San Ángelo Mártir, hoy sede del Museo de El Carmen.

El colegio fue construido por los frailes carmelitas descalzos en 1615 con la finalidad de preparar a sus sacerdotes.  El diseño y las obras estuvieron a cargo de un personaje fascinante, fray Andrés de San Miguel, quien hizo del edificio un paradigma de la arquitectura religiosa y una de las más bellas fundaciones novohispanas, enclavada entre la sierra del poniente del valle y el lago de Coyoacán.  La trascendencia del colegio fue tal, que la comunidad no tardó en cambiar su antiguo nombre, Tenanitla, por el de San Ángel.

El edificio se caracteriza por su sobriedad y la armonía de sus proporciones. Su estilo refleja el anhelo de oración y contemplación de los viejos ermitaños del Monte Carmelo, en Palestina. Diversos espacios conservan con fidelidad este espíritu y destacan por sus cualidades estéticas: el Claustro, con sus juegos de luz y sombra; los Lavabos, joya en talavera poblana; la Sacristía, punto de encuentro de las más refinadas expresiones artísticas novohispanas; la Capilla doméstica y su retablo barroco, único ejemplar que sobrevivió al paso del tiempo.”

-INAH, Museo del Carmen

“Al sur de Ciudad de México, en el barrio de San Ángel, se encuentra el museo de El Carmen, ubicado en el antiguo colegio de San Ángelo Mártir, del siglo XVII, en cuya “capilla mortuoria” existen una serie de momias en muy buen estado de conservación y que su origen concreto es aún un misterio.

Fueron descubiertas durante la Revolución mexicana, iniciada en 1910, cuando las tropas zapatistas entraron en el complejo, escarbaron en el suelo de la cripta y encontraron estos cuerpos, que finalmente dejaron amontonados en un costado del lugar.

Después de que los revolucionarios se fueron del lugar, los monjes regresaron al mismo y se sorprendieron con las 12 momias. Y, a partir de este momento, surgieron muchas leyendas en torno a su origen.

Entre ellas, aquella que asegura que fueron traídas por los propios revolucionarios y que las depositaron allí porque era un enclave “sagrado”. “Pero no se sabe absolutamente nada”, aseguró a Efe Daniela Alcalá Almeida, jefa de difusión del museo de El Carmen.

“Se constituyen como un patrimonio cultural muy importante porque arrojan mucha información histórica sobre cómo se vivía en otros tiempos, sobre todo en el México del siglo XIX”, confirmó a Efe Daniela Alcalá Almeida, debido a que, a través de estos cuerpos, se conocen las características físicas de la época o de qué se moría.”

-El Sol de México, Cultura

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.