Chicana/Latina

Field Review

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For my MFA field review, I read six sources and viewed four films that canvas the field of studies related to my final project to deepen the research. One of the most relevant resources I read was Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement because it outlines a Chicana art making structure I can identify choreographically with in my project. This book goes into depth about using identifiers such as Chicana/o and makes visible the precautions one might need towards not essentializing the identity. The next book, The Surrealism Reader: An Anthology of Ideas connected many ideas together because it draws from the minds of surrealist painters, sculptors, and fabricators and compiles their theory, poems, and process notes alongside their artwork. The spider-web of information resonates loudly because the surrealists were not all dreaming about surrealism, investing in surrealism, and consuming surrealism to produce surrealism. No, these artists were living and breathing while putting forth efforts to contribute to areas of phenomenology, perception, haunting, sciences, politics, and social constructs. These areas outside of surrealism better inform their art.

I am aware of the lineage.

I am active in the conversation.

I am prioritizing presence.

I am re-imagining the alternative.

Countering the perspective of The Surrealism Reader is another book called Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement. In this book the experiences, histories, artworks, and theories of Frida Kahlo, Remedios Varo, Dorothea Tanning, and Leonora Carrington are all captured and interwoven. The relevance here is the detour away from the inner circle of surrealist ideology which tends to be driven by patriarchal standards. Surrealism is the ability to continue to expand and shift ideas so that they do not remain fixed. I can use this as I begin to engage more with the choreography of the final project. However, I tend to be drawn more towards feminism from a Latinx perspective, so we will see how much of the surrealist inner circle maintains its presence. I do like the way the information is organized and accounted for in this book while directly speaking to the art produced.

On the other side, the viewings most influential were Yanira Castro’s Court/Garden and Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealers. Castro’s work encompasses the designed choreography, audience participation, and media installation and sections the piece into three parts.. This work is relevant to my own project because of its attention to the audience’s role in the work. However, by focusing here I am not neglecting my attention to costumes, choreography and media, but if the audiences’ design is not woven into the main components then my outcome will be not so subtle. One would not recognize this device, however, the subtlety of the design makes this experience magical. Out of my research so far, I can weave three different levels of engagement to support my project and involve the audience at different capacities.

Lastly, Sleep Dealers is like watching someone depict the future. While I can only hope Rivera’s future does not come to pass in the era of trump politics. This film is powerful to watch, noting, a sci-fi narrative constructed through the Latina/o perspective. This film at times was hard to sit with because of how real it seems with the current political USA/MX tensions. An important part of the film unites Mexican and Mexican American to overcome the USA’s oppression. This is not a common narrative and was refreshing to see.

Shout outs:
MA by Celia Rowlson-Hall
Borderland Saints by Desiree A. Martin
Silver and Gold by Nao Bustamante

Citations:
Ades, Dawn, Michael Richardson, and Krzysztof Fijałkowski. 2016. The Surrealism Reader: An Anthology of Ideas. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Chadwick, Whitney. 2002. Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement. New York: Thames and Hudson.

González Rita, Noriega Chon, and Howard N. Fox. 2007. Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Castro Yanira. 2014. Court/Garden. Vimeo

            https://vimeo.com/145859179

Rivera, Alex. 2008. Sleep Dealer. DVD. 90 minutes. Maya Entertainment.

Obscura by LROD y Artistas

A short dance-film inspired by Frida Kahlo’s The Wounded Table. I am not only thinking about rituals, offrendas y mi Familia but also what is the camera’s (me essentially) relation to the people in the frame.  I wanted to produce vibrant color in juxtaposition with darkness or the feeling of darkness. Creating worlds where inter-generational populations are included as well in the dance canon. Adelante!

Made by LROD y Artistas
Music: “Death Bed” by Alex Somers (Liminal Remix)
(I do not own the rights)

MASK MAKING

I usually get asked this question a lot: Why the masks?

Well, I started wearing the masks back in early 2014, I didn’t have the context than to the why but I had the feelings. Knowing now that Mestiza or Latinx peoples often struggle with hidden or fractured identities has led me into a deeper investigation of mask and alter-ego studies. Reading many great Latina/o scholarship has enhanced my understanding of the masking culture that is alive an well today in Mexico and the Borderlands. This vein of studies also operates as a creative and productive outlet for my work as an artist.

Back in 2014, I was drawn to omitting my identity and obscure the image of the body onstage. The mask work has added a layer of surrealism that I am researching from a feminist perspective and admire works from Frida Kahlo, Remedios Varo, and Dorthea Tanning. Masks in these studies stem from Luchador culture which came out of the Tejas Borderlands and is now a pop-culture Mexican staple, however, the use of masks is relevant in Dia De Los Muertos and other traditions.

Starting this semester with a Costume Practicum with Lindsay Simon for 6 hours a week was such an outlet for creativity and production, and gave me time to really understand this process of making masks.

To get started, Lindsay asked I create a storyboard and gather materials. I created an inspiration board (Pinterest) to gather ideas for the Lucha Libre, Animal designs, and LROD masks I was interested in producing. Since I had only made these masks by hand I was ready to produce a pattern so that I could easily make more on a sewing machine rather than hand-stitch. The goal was to experiment with many fabrics and styles to gain experience making the masks and practicing my sewing machine abilities. For the animal heads, what was the next level of design besides making, shaping, and coloring them? I was excited to find out.

Here are some previous masks I have made for my work:

Innominate Performance – LROD + Artists Dance Artists: Sierra Hendrix, Levi Ryan, Kince De Vera, Scotty Flores, Hannah Cavallaro, Becca Blackwell, Molly Levy Lighting: Meg Fox Photo: Devin Munoz

Innominate Performance – LROD + Artists Dance Artists: Sierra Hendrix, Levi Ryan, Kince De Vera, Scotty Flores, Hannah Cavallaro, Becca Blackwell, Molly Levy Lighting: Meg Fox Photo: Devin Munoz

Now the hardest part was figuring out how to pattern the mask, seeing how I had the one I made by hand and the Lucha ones from a previous work. We decided to deconstruct one and go from there. Lindsay and I decided to use my head as the main pattern and build adjustments in as we went.

What was surprising about this process was that every material used needed a different pattern to account for stretch or no-stretch. By the mid-way point of the semester, we had finally gotten the hang of different materials and patterns. Now, we were ready to start adding more details.

In reflection now going through this process, I realize what fabrics I most like to work with for the masks: poly-rayon-spandex blend, lace-mesh w/stretch, spandex, lycra, cotton, sequin mesh, cosplay vinyl w/ stretch. For decor and lace-up low-industrial vinyl ended up being the most suitable. I also used 1in elastic to secure the bottom and string for the lace-up models.

THE WORK

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Mask 1: “Homegrown”

The basic learning.

Mask 2: “Borderlands”

More Structure.

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Mask 3: “Los Muertos”

New Pattern.

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Mask 4: “Rupture”

Full mask design.

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Mask 5:“Pesadilla”

Double layer mask.

Mask 6: Demo “Puebla”

First run on this design

before surging.

Mask 7: “Puebla”

Final project.

Mask 8: “Puebla”

Final Project.

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Mask 9: “Puebla”

Final Project.

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Mask 10: “Stag for Days” Design and stud work on the animal head. Final Project.

Mask 11: “Bunny in Bloom” Design and Stud work on the animal head. Final Project.

Mask 12: “The Revolt” Design and Stud work on the animal head. Final Project.

 

I noticed as the process went on the use of brighter colors started to emerge. I am drawn making more masks with color and expanding the masks to include some other materials such as wire, flowers, studs, gas masks, and more. I am also looking forward to making some more costume pieces for LROD + Artists to work with. While I am eager to go more extravagant I have to remind myself that they also need to be danceable and breathable during performances.

These creative outlets provide my research with necessary fieldwork and experience that aid my MFA thesis and artistic practice while connecting the multidisciplinary vein of research I identify with as a choreographer.

 Until next time – LROD.

The Internal | Connecting | Creative Process

Date: October 26, 2017

Two levels in Creative process v.210

Mapping out a creative process to connect two parts of my research resonating with Inside the room and Outside the room branches. Inside the room’s design is led by the Experiment thread, while Outside the room reflects the Research thread. I was compiling this information from a word bank created in Grad Composition class with Professor Susan Van Pelt Petry and peers. We then each took the word bank and made a visual map of our own individual creative process.

For my own challenge, I only used each word one time and practiced this assignment utilizing a present moment embodiment. Meaning, I only allowed myself one piece of paper with no option to have a do-over. Utilizing this assignment as a challenge I was aware of my devising boundaries. This project created a meditative space for me to sit with my pen to the paper, and process my process. Which usually feels meta, however, this project was calming while being informative. Most of my reflections have happened through a stream of consciousness or analytical essay, so it felt good to move towards a tangible medium to flush out information.

Further noting the attention and weight of each word resonating within my body and I continue to let these words reconfigure inside my body. A digital roadway on the frontier of inter-connectivity pulsing, sparking and transferring connections that re-wires and retracts information before surging it back out again.

The system is operating. 

I recognize these maps are abundant within my body, mind and are the containers to hold, organize, connect information used to make co-creative spaces. They are roadways of information. Living knowledge intrigues me as I delve into the internal self of producing art. Maybe the cyborg self is emerging underneath the surface below my skin and responds to the familiarity of the motherboard. While the image below relates to this emerging, I examine the depths and intricacies that are possible in overriding.

Cyborg Self Reflection | Awakening

In trying to navigate my own cyborg self-relationship I am drawn to this quote by Donna Haraway a professor, consciousness, and feminist scholar, “Cyborg writing is about the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other” (Haraway 2016, 55). My journey over the past five years has sent me plunging into words, writing, and language – preparing me for my conversations, arguments, and discourse today. Sometimes my consciousness rejects my impulse to respond, and my unconsciousness delivers connectors to reconnect broken bridges of thought. Tracing the map above throughout my creative process enables me to redirect how I am thinking, feeling, and exploring the material.

Responding to a recent visit by Vida Midgelow who presented at the DSA inaugural Scholarly Conference and is a Professor in Dance and Choreographic Studies at Middlesex University London says, “Coming into language is a significant process through which experiential, material and emergent forms of knowledge can be foregrounded, processed and shared” (Midgelow 1994). Previously, I rarely spoke my stance or dared to share the perspectives that ran rampant in my mind.

The information comes to me as this digital space allows me to write about these developing curiosities that are awakening. Identifying as an “other,” I do claim the tools to unearth my potential as a choreographic researcher, scholar, and free-thinker to engage in practices that move humanity towards change. Structures, rules, and traditions can be broken and reconfigured to make manifest new ways of operating that enhance artistic ability, connect technology and humanity, and revolutionize the central core of art making.

Free Motherboard Vector Art

The above image is how I imagine the framework for my discourse of choreographic research operating. The motherboard vector art is part – object – abstract – micro-processing –  unit –  internet integrated – modern – binary that projects future technological advances – or human.

 

Works Cited

Haraway, Donna J. and Cary Wolfe. 2016. Manifestly Haraway. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. https://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed October 25, 2017).

Midgelow, Vida. and Jane Bacon. 2014. “Creative Articulation Practice (CAP).”                                      Forthcoming in Choreographic Practices. 5[2]                                                                                  https://www.academia.edu/9956868/Creative_Articulations_Process_CAP_  (accessed October 25, 2017)

Home Alter: Living Forward

Home Alter: Dedicated to mi abuela Martinez y mi Tio Rubio
Design: LROD + Becky Rubio
Lighting: Meg Fox
Photo: Devin Marie Munoz

What does it mean to remember someone when they have passed on. To hold onto the memories in order to keep them alive means so much to those who celebrate Dia de Los Muertos and invest in a joyous death culture. My home alter has developed from my desire to connect with my loved ones. Home alters are still huge focal points of homes in southern Mexico. These spaces are the heartbeat of the home usually consuming up to half or sometimes a full room. The alters have different components to help the loved ones make their way back to the living on special occasions such as marigolds, fire, food, and candles. Symbolic meanings and religious meanings entangle in what is pagan and what is holy. Some might find this joining of spiritual and corporal morbid. However, in order to grieve one must celebrate the life lost by having a moment each year to share the stories of loved ones with younger generations is important and keeps the ancestry in tacked.

The work here makes visible the deep connection and importance to those we have lost. My small daily moments with loved ones whom I can no longer visit or call helps me move life itself forward. I am my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother and so on. I am my father, my grandfather, my great grandfather and so on. Branches of love, care, and family are the ones I desire most as my lineage expands and decays.