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Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Couple in the Cage: A Guatinaui Odyssey 1993

The things we see that are presumed to be authentic can be false.

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       A man and a woman, both artists, had an idea for a new piece of art. Its aim was to satirize the concept of discovery; a social experiment. They displayed themselves in a cage as Amerindians from a fictitious ('undiscovered') island in four different countries. They were making an allusion to colonial practices in the 16th- 20th centuries in which natives were brought to Western countries and shown to the public. They soon began to see that audiences actually believed they were real. Throughout their performances, people took photos with them and children even interacted with them as if they were a rare curiosity. They rarely spoke, but only on occasion to tell stories in a fake language. The native 'traditions' they did included: sewing voodoo dolls, watching the television and, the use a laptop. Audiences were awed at this 'King Kong'- like "discovery" and treated them like they were unintelligent savages or a circus act. They were highly misunderstood , but few people realized the 'joke'. Some people were really outraged that humans were being displayed in this manner and decided it may be a hoax. The artists' interactions with the people resembled cross- cultural misjudgments people make that are still relevant today.

    This work raises the question of authenticity and how people still make stereotypes on things they do not understand of have knowledge about. For this work, museums agreed to let them perform. This shows the power museums hold as to what they want displayed. Fusco and Gomez- Pena make good points about people believing something that is not true and the common misconceptions that are bound to take place. They truly convinced many spectators using maps, make-up, native attire, false history and their odd actions. I believe that people should take the time to really determine the realness of something and not make ridiculous misconceptions. This also brings up a morality issue. Is it right to make people that are from a different culture seem exotic and rare like animals? They are human and should not be mistreated and made feel like they are objects for entertainment. People need to think about the credibility on things they see on a normal day. We need to question the 'real', the 'norms', and 'the unknown'. Fear and acceptance of facts deter us from inquiring. The problem is that people are not trained to ask something "different" or to be daring.
    As for my opinion, I think this piece is informative and thought provoking. I personally would not have believed the exhibit because I have background knowledge on Native American culture. The most interesting thing I learned about was their breakthrough on medicinal practices. I specifically learned about the Shamans. They came before modern medicine and used natural plants to heal the sick. They were very amazing people with a long rich history!
    So, if we are made to believe certain things how can we deviate ourselves from it? How do we know what to believe? Why do people tend to believe something that is stereotyped? How far does the authority of museums go in terms of the interpretation of art? To what extent do people misunderstand other races and cultures?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Persepolis

I am not sure of how accurate the movie “Persepolis” is, but I did see it. It was very interesting and I did not know that it was a graphic novel. I love the illustrations and the history embedded in it. I find it interesting that Marjane Satrapi based the ‘comic’ off of her childhood and I praise her for it.

Marjane shows her side of questioning. She knows that she should be entitled in knowing why exactly she must wear a veil but, because she is religious, she submits to authority. She is against the so called revolution and wants one of her own. She is very close to her mother and admires her because of her strong belief in change; yet she excludes her daughter. She tells about how the Islamic Revolution brought with it, a very restricted and structured society. The new leader says that bilingual schools are capitalistic and that he wants a ‘cultural revolution’. This was a basic ethnic cleansing.

Marjane has a special Holy Book. She is deeply involved with religion and the values of freedom and equality. She has conversations with God. In school, she is ridiculed for wanting to be a prophet. As a result, she hides her desire from her family. I believe she does this because she does not want to disappoint her parents. The only person she know that will not judge her is her grandmother. She is very understanding towards her and knows how committed she is. Marjane is a lovely young girl in this time because she shows a strong love for her family by wanting unity and for people not to suffer.

During the revolution, Marjane decides that she needs to focus on a rebellion. She makes an effort to protest in her garden. She becomes very engaged in Castro, Marx and Che. She realizes that her efforts are futile unless everyone is participating just like a bicycle as she mentions. She took it upon herself to make a change. I loved the fact that she was so open for her age. Even if her parents did not really approve, she was determined.

She also mentions that she like the comic “ Dialectic Materialism” and it reminded me about the discussion in class about Hegel. I noticed the complexity of the mind that she possessed. I believe that she is very philosophical. Once she becomes unmovable in the face of rebellion, “God” becomes skeptical. I believe the symbolism behind his disappearance is that she has chosen her true destiny.

From what I saw in the movie, she moves away because she cannot keep herself quiet. She wants the whole land to know about the injustice. As a result, she is sent to Austria. There, she is at a constant struggle to find where she belongs. I believe the essence of Persepolis is finding where you belong. When she was in her country, she is at a struggle with Faith and rebellion. Her parents do not want her to protest and religion is shoved into her mind. She is very strong however and does not let people tell her what to do or tell her who she is.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mere Puppets of PROPAGANDA!---Cool website, check it!

     I often criticize or ignore advertisements. I do not like all this propaganda because it seems so fake. All it wants to achieve is new consumers. The advertisements serve as tools to make people have fantasies about what their life could be. They are the tool of the band wagon. If someone wears something, it becomes embedded into our media and our lives. People use these items not necessarily for luxury but, for acceptance. We want to be as happy as the images captured behind the lens. We want to be more, so we try to obtain more. By simply obtaining more, does not truly mean that we are richer. Society is brainwashed into wanting to be where these images are. Where are they exactly? Surely, they are fiction because they are deliberate situations. They are caught moments that are merely duplicates. So then where is the value in them? The emotions portrayed somehow relate to us and tap into our feeling sector. We grow fond of these familiar images as if they are truly possible. When in fact, these pictures are meant to be catchy so that they do not fail to be ignored or erased. Its all promotion and fictional propaganda, technically.
     The saying sex sells is so obscene and untrue. Power sells is more like it. People envy power and hence is more reasonable to have people dream about. Countless images of masculinity and “happiness” make sure that people try all the many ways there are to be “loved” and “accepted“. People love to be the center of new crazes and do not rest until they are the product of the media. For what? For a life that really is not the one in the magazine or billboard you last saw. I guess being raised into not really giving attention to name brands, trends, and advertisements has made me nonchalant about them.

     I did however like the comparison about the oil paintings and the “publicity. The painting represents the present state while publicity refers to some “remote” future. The paintings show how the subject’s life is, in a small scope. Pictures do not always “speak 1000 words“. Pictures do not show how the person feels or what is going on in their life. Because, come on, who wants to here about the hardships. We all want to dream of something better so we look to these images for a sense of belonging or comfort. Images in today’s society falsify identity. They play pretend on the reality. When we cease to pay attention to reality, we are only allowing for progression to stop. Well, who wants to be sad all the time? But, who wants to live in a fictitious world?

     Publicity leaks its way into our social and personal lives. They do not really make bold statements about “change” but, rather about how to change yourself and how to be admired. The moments recorded have to do their job; and that is to make more business. If not, then the business itself suffers. They are compensated at the expense of our emotions and dreams. They depict that we have very little now but, can have a great life by creating standards. Our eyes can fool us into imagining something that just is unnecessary.

    1. I love the colors and the geometry of this image. The black background really makes the color potent. I just stumbled upon this image while looking for a very different kind.

2. The two images with the balloons are a performance that I was in with two of my friends for an art internship this summer called "City as Site". We learned a lot about different ways to view art and we created temporary works of art. I loved it because it promotes a sense of community unity. The partnership is with a community organization called ENLACE Chicago. I love what they are doing for low income communities like Little Village, North Lawndale, and Pilsen to name a few.
I encourage you all to view this website because the work we did and the fun we had should be shared amongst others. I enjoyed being in the program and I hope you have fun looking and reading about everything we learned. =)

Who Do You Owe your Sucess to?

          I can relate to Richard Rodriguez’s ‘The Achievement of Desire”. I can also disagree with him in different terms. Initially, I was not a bright person. As a child I had ADD, I was out of control, I had delays in my growth and social development. I had no idea just how out of control I was. I went to many therapy sessions, early intervention programs, and special education. My mom (really my dad’s second cousin) was very involved with me and so was the rest of the family. Her love, strength and, determination proved to be highly motivational and powerful.

         The family felt a need to help me because they did not want me to end up in a terrible position or to suffer like my brothers. To this day, I wish I would be able to thank my mom for everything she did for me. One day, I stumbled upon paper work from the early years of my life. I read about all the problems I had and the problems I gave my family. I also read about how devoted my mom was and how my family gave their fullest attention. There were also some instances when observers would note that although I did not listen most of the time, I had my own unique way of doing activities. They said I was very friendly as well even if I did not play with other children.

       I feel that if your family is involved in your life, that you have a greater confidence and motivation to do your best. Of course when she passed away I felt a great sense of emptiness. I began to under achieve and lose trust in people. I locked myself away in my room and distanced myself from my family. I was again unable to socialize up until I entered the seventh grade. My teachers nurtured me and I trusted myself more. I was able to make some friends and achieve so much in only two years!

        When I entered high school, I again became better at my social skills and a lot better in academics. Still, I put my studies first and stay up late to finish projects. I also needed my sister and her husband to take me to debate competitions and pick me up from practices. They went through a lot to help me but, when I got my awards, I did not feel like they appreciated all the work I put in.

       I know that if my family were not around to help me, then I surely would not be successful. You are not successful on your own because you need people in your life to make things possible. This is where I disagree with Rodriguez. Even if I did isolate myself and my family made fun of me or get angry for me studying so much, I know that they only wanted me to not forget about them. When you involve your family with what you do and not make them feel bad, then they understand why.