A significant amount of the hand-drawn animation seen on television today is cartooned in sweatshop-like animation factories in Korea, China, and the Philippines. The writers and animators who form Animaquiladora sharpened their skills in one such factory located in Tijuana, Mexico. After years of animating logos for the American talk show Regis and Kathie Lee, Lalo Lopez and Alex Rivera escaped from the hellish sweatshop of Tijuana to seek better lives in Los Angeles and New York.
Luis Cruz Azaceta (b.1942) creates paintings and mixed media works which use the recurring theme of the displaced individual. Marked by his own exile from Cuba—he emigrated to the U.S. in 1960, in the wake of Castro’s take-over—the artist realized that home is something he carries with him from place to place. Through his piercing expressionism, Azaceta depicts the frailty of human existence in a world full of social anarchy, historically mandated violence, and natural chaos.
Martin Sorrondeguy, former vocalist for Los Crudos, produced this powerful and uplifting documentary about the U.S. Latino punk scene and the DIY movement. The video features live performances by bands, including Huasinpungo, Los Crudos, Subsistencia, Sbitch, and many more.
Sitting at an altar decorated with a kitsch collection of cultural fetish items, and wearing a border patrolman’s jacket decorated with buttons, bananas, beads, and shells, Gómez-Peña delivers a sly and bitter indictment of U.S. colonial attitudes toward Mexican culture and history.
This strange, lyrical performance video diary is a millennial reflection on the impossibility to "reveal" one’s self in stormy times such as ours. The piece is also about the intricate connections between performance and everyday life; about language, identity, love, nostalgia and activism amidst the California apocalypse.
In 2002, my troupe, La Pocha Nostra and I were invited to conduct a workshop at Columbia College in Chicago with 15 students and faculty from different departments. At the end of the two-week workshop, we created a large-scale performance-installation with the participants. Canadian video artist Liz Singer was invited to shoot the entire process, from the early workshop exercises, meant to connect students with their bodies and build a sense of community, up to opening night... In this documentary we reveal the working methods and radical pedagogy of La Pocha Nostra.
Veronica Majano depicts the character of a street in the Mission District of San Francisco. This street is personified as a fifteen year old Salvadoran/Ohlone girl on a search to understand the changes brought on by colonization, dislocation, and more recently, gentrification. Tracing the history of the Mission from its first residents, the Ohlone Indians, Chula explores the effects of re-colonization on memory and memory loss. For Chula, memory loss is a birthmark that was passed down to her from her ancestors.
Spanish painter Chema Cobo discusses his early years of studying and creating art in Southern Spain. His career began in the mid-1970s, exhibiting at the Buades and Vandrés galleries, along with a generation of now-established artists. His work began showing outside of Spain in the ’80s. Cobo also talks about the ways that his Spanish background and identity have informed his work.
A historical interview originally recorded in 1994.
"Emptiness: I just watched your latest video, Colchones Individuales (Single Beds), Volume 1: Desolacion, and I wanted to write you about it. Oddly, Single Beds sums up much of what I have been thinking lately. In these times of speed, where everything is propelled forward at an incredibly spiraling rate, it is only in moments of pause, of inertia, that we examine what is occurring to us. Your piece, Single Beds, performs an arrested time, a succinct suspension of time. (It is in many ways a companion piece to an earlier video of yours Staying Alive).
In this political satire featuring the comedy trio Culture Clash, sharp dialogue, physical comedy, and state of the art video techniques are used to dramatize a mock trial of Columbus in a present-day courtroom. With a “Spanish-by-way-of-Mexico” judge presiding, Columbus on Trial hits on the complexities of Latino identity in America while slicing into the kitschy consumer icons and buzzwords that stand for racial and ethnic identity in contemporary society.
In this humorous short, Astrid Hadad, dressed in traditional folkloric costumes and religious garments, sings and performs to a Chilean love ballad before a painterly background of fantastic landscapes. Her hyperbolic posturings enact the song’s tale of a woman’s heartbreak. This satirical presentation of femininity references pathos and the role of the victim. Cuevas’s use of animation and video montage adds a playful tone to the heartfelt melodrama of love songs, familiar touchstones in all cultures.
In a series of 1992 performances, Coco Fusco and performance co-creator Guillermo Gómez-Peña decked themselves out in primitive costumes and appeared before the public as “undiscovered AmerIndians” locked in a golden cage — an exercise in faux anthropology based on racist images of natives. Presented eight times in four different countries, these simple performances evoked various responses, the most startling being the huge numbers of people who didn’t find the idea of “natives” locked in a cage objectionable.
As a "Post-Mexican” performance artist operating out of the US for over 20 years, one of my conceptual obsessions has been to constantly reposition myself within the hegemonic maps. Whether this map is the Americas, the larger cartography of art, or my personal biography, one of my jobs has been to move around, cross dangerous borders, disappear and reappear somewhere else, and in the process create "imaginary cartographies” capable of containing the complexities of my multiple and ever-changing identities, voices, communities and performative bodies.
Felipe Ehrenberg is a prominent Mexican artist who has been actively producing interactive political art, installations, and murals for more than 30 years. Also a writer, Ehrenberg has run a small press in Mexico City and has published numerous articles for art journals in the United States.
Interview by Carol Becker.
"The palms of Lana Turner's hands were full of scars; the technique she used in order to achieve melodrama was to tighten her fists, digging her fingernails into them until she began to cry. Day after day, soap opera actresses smear Vick's Vaporub into their eyes in order to cry. The effect of these false tears are the tears of the public. In Devil in the Flesh we see the camera's tricks, and even so the action seems dramatic.
The first installment of The Mexican Tapes: A Chronicle of Life Outside focuses on Hock’s status in the community. At first Hock is the “outsider,” the tourist who doesn’t understand his neighbors’ jokes. It's only months later that he becomes a close friend, travelling back to visit Mexican homes and families, and beginning to empathize with their struggles.
In English and Spanish with English subtitles.
Interrupting the nightly news in an act of guerrilla television, Gómez-Peña returns to the persona of a Chicano-Aztec veejay—"The Mexican who talks back, the illegal Mexican performance artist with state of the art technology"—to elaborate the complications of American identity. This post-NAFTA Cyber Aztec pirate commandeers the television signal from his underground "Vato bunker", where virtual reality meets Aztec ritual. Gómez-Peña embodies the doubly radical Chicano performance artist, delivering radical ideas through a radical form of entertainment.
In the second installment of The Mexican Tapes, Hock begins to participate more in the family life of La Colonia, attending baptisms and helping shop for new cars. Hock interviews the white residents of the complex who resist the Mexican community, and rumor that it will soon be torn down.
This title is also available on The Mexican Tapes: A Chronicle of Life Outside the Law
El Zócalo is an observational portrait of Mexico City’s central Plaza de la Constitutión during one day in August. Soldiers, Aztec dancers, clowns, food vendors, protestors, rain, dogs, tourists, kites, balloons, and dignitaries all meet in the public space of the Zócalo. This documentary presents daily life in one of the largest and most vibrant urban centers in the world, but it begins with a dream of history and ends with a dream of the space full of people for a Zapatista rally.
Coco Fusco is a Cuban-American artist and author who investigates race, gender, politics, and identity through installations, performances, video work, and writing. In her second On Art and Artists interview, Fusco discusses her recent works with Romi Crawford — an art historian at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago — and describes how she has evolved as a storyteller over her career.
In The Great Mojado Invasion (The Second US - Mexico War), writer/performer Guillermo Gómez-Peña and filmmaker Gustavo Vazquez combine Chicano wit and political vision to create an ironic, post-millennial and postmodern look at the future of U.S./Mexican relations. Both artist and director generate a complex commentary on history, society, pop culture, the politics of language and the repercussions of ethnic dominance.
Since the turn of the century, popular media in the U.S. have promoted a stereotyped image of Latin America in order to justify the concept of U.S. dominance in the hemisphere. The Gringo in Mañanaland uses travelogues, dramatic films, industrial films, newsreels, military footage, geographical textbook illustrations, and political cartoons to take a detailed look at United States media representations of Latin America. This video is not a dry document or didactic lesson: it is a look at history and the telling of history.
This dreamlike, poetic video provokes the viewer to question the nature of the most human of experiences. The collage aesthetic exposes how human relationships—between men and women, men and men, women and women—are mediated by dominant ideologies as represented in the mass media and religion. Bobe posits no theories and draws no conclusions, leaving the viewer with a truly postmodern conundrum about life, love, art, men, women and death.
I Stare at You and Dream is a slice of life melodrama that journeys to the core of interrelationships. This film juxtaposes and links the lives of four people: the filmmaker, Susan Mogul; her friend, Rosie Sanchez; Rosie’s teenage daughter, Alejandra (Alex) Sanchez; and Ray Aguilar; Susan’s-on-and-off boyfriend. Tender and unflinching, each character gradually reveals their desires, wounds, and romantic entanglements in the context of their everyday lives.
(In) Visible Women shows the heroic responses of three women with AIDS in the context of their respective communities. In the face of adversity, these women confront all aspects of the AIDS crisis in their lives. Through poetry, art, activism, and dance, they explode notions of female invisibility and complacency in the face of AIDS. We hear each woman describe how she came to terms with being HIV+ and joined others in speaking out about the neglected needs of women.