Filed under: Chicano, Latin America, Latinos, Music | Tags: Latino, Music, Sound and Vision
Over at Super Sonido, nuestro carnal aural Joseph Franko is indulging his visitors with digitized cuts from his massive collection of forgotten, though tenderly curated, Latin American and Latino music. Franko’s latest blog project, 28 days of 45s, has him and guests such as DJ Lengua posting–among other things–yeh-yehs, Chicano beats, cumbias, metal riffs, rebajadas, psych freak-outs, and Tejano Soul throughout February. What proceeds is an intensive course on the sounds of Our America(s).
Image: Pedro Lasch, Latino/a America, 2003/ongoing [Pedro Lasch, con gracias al Profesor Mignolo]
Filed under: Chicano, L.A., Latinos, Los Angeles, Photos | Tags: L.A., Passings, Photos, Sleepy Lagoon, Zoot Suit
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, news came of Alice McGrath’s passing. Luis Valdez dramatized her work as an activist in the Sleepy Lagoon defense in his play Zoot Suit. Her L.A. Times obiturary is here.
Information on the photo from Calisphere below:
Title: Alice Greenfield McGrath, portrait, Alice Greenfield McGrath, back in the Bradbury building, where her work on Sleepy Lagoon defense began
Creator/Contributor: Los Angeles Times (Firm), Publisher; Barnard, Tony, Photographer
Date: May 2, 1978
Contributing Institution: Dept of Special Collections/UCLA Library, A1713 Charles E. Young Research Library, 405 Hilgard Ave, Box 951575, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
Filed under: Aesthetics, art, Philosophy | Tags: art, Cai Guo-Qiang, ethics, Nancy, Ontology, taking-place, zones of undecidability
Cai Guo-Qiang, Self-Portrait: A Subjugated Soul, 1985/89
From the first time encountering this image, the associations with a handful concepts were inescapable. In one fell swoop, ideas of subjectivity, energy, temporality, the trace, eventality, halos, and (most interestingly) incandescence glisten in the flow of attention when standing before the Qiang’s image.
Multiple passages from Jean-Luc Nancy’s The Experience of Freedom speak to this flash of bundled energy in the act of taking-place or becoming that Qiang’s self-rendering seems to record. In one particular instance, Nancy writes of the ontological dimensions of freedom’s flare (82):
…freedom is itself nothingness, which does not negate itself properly speaking, but which, in an pre-or paradialectical figure of the negation of negation, affirms itself by making itself intense.
The intensification of the nothingness does not negate its nothing-ness: it concentrates it, accumulates the tension of the nothingness as nothingness (hollowing out the abyss, we cold say…), and carries it to the point of incandescence where it takes on the burst of an affirmation. With the burst–lightning and bursting, the burst of lightning–it is the strike of one time, the existing irruption of existence.
This radiance occurs at the border between the formless being that lays beyond representation and representations of humanity that take on a determinate form or another. It is the most basic point of our existence where ontological and ethical categories blur and come into play with each other.
Qiang’s gesture shows a trace of a human being that at a point in time glistens with a particular intensity, radiates heat and energy, and warps and bends the field around him. At some points the halo surrounding the figure crackles with electric flashes whose ardor match that of the body.
In the halo’s dark singes it is difficult to determine whether each ray is a wayward flash straying outward from the body or if the body is attempting to collect loose bits of energy from the surrounding environment to concentrate and make possible that blinding flash of light that burns the parchment of our world. The halo allows itself to radiate and dissipate outwards in a faint light to reveal the dark, unknown form that captivates our attention.
Filed under: art, Chicano, Los Angeles, Video | Tags: Alla, Eddie Martinez, Gary Garay, Josh Kun, Oscar Zeta Acosta
About a month ago, a discussion on the Art and Music of Post-Mexico by Josh Kun at Boston’s ICA got our juices flowing. More than that, it gave us some considerable material to reflect upon, which we hope to share sooner or later on our pages here at tirado/thrown. We hope to do so once we have a some more developed reflections ready to go.
Among the trove of exquisite finds Kun shared with those in attendance was the work of Gary Garay, whose evocative work retrieves and re-imagines some of the basic elements of Mexican-American life: paletas, Nike Cortez shoes, “Grandes Exitos” collections, sheepskin seat covers, brick cell phones, cinder blocks, pagers and so on. He’s got a wealth of images to offer from the sources he draws upon. A favorite of ours is The Last Buffalo (above), an ink drawing that almost immediately calls to mind the original Brown Buffalo, Oscar Zeta Acosta, and a painting by Eddie Martinez, Val Kilmer’s James Brown. One part celebration and another part lament, it appears to melancholically announce the loss and disappearance of the Chicano as a robust cultural figure in American life.
As a part of LACMA’s Phantom Sightings show–which we hope to check out when it arrives at New York’s Museo del Barrio in March 2010– the county museum has an interview with Garay that goes into how he treats his source material. More to come in time.
We here at tirado/thrown stand roundly accused of falling for the faddish, which we will attempt to neither defend nor justify. Posting this video for Girls “Hellhole Ratrace”, we suppose, only advances the imaginary prosecution’s case.
Be that as it may, there’s something about the above clip that, aside from evoking loads of nostalgia,* temporarily forgives the hints of Ryan McGinley-esque aesthetics permeating it. It’s our affinity for the kind of subdued, almost depressed disposition struggling to overcome isolation, despair, and misery that we’re quite familiar with.
The song begins with a folky sincerity that’s almost tongue-in-cheek because the lyrics are tough to pull off with a straight face. Almost as if suddenly realizing that the lyrics had bordered on bad-faith bromides by the end of the song’s first minute, Girls changes tack altogether. They decide to move in the direction of a slow-burning, slow-motion escalator ascent from the basement.
From that point, the song takes on a life of its own and gives us a hazy headiness that tries to keep a lurking, ham-fisted aggression at bay. By the end, we’ve been carried to a sunrise view of San Francisco by way of the least-jarring freak-out we’ve come across in a while. “Hellhole Ratrace” wants a gentle, eased access to happiness and community. Although these days, it’s difficult to gauge the feasibility of such a possibility.
More posts to come, we hope. We’re working on some notes regarding Josh Kun’s discussion “The Ranch and the Network” at Boston’s ICA last Thursday, which we’d like to post within the next week. There’s also a bundle of posts in various stages on the back end of this page, which we may slowly, though occasionally get to. So thanks, and be sure to keep visiting.
* For California and for keeping odd hours to hang out and fuck around, no less.
Filed under: art, Items | Tags: cosmos, forms, geometry, Maya, pyramids, virtuality
Rhizome, a favorite website here at tirado/thrown, directs our attention to these animated gifs from artist MDCCLXIV. At first, they resembled little more the Mayan temple’s ziggurat cousins to us. But a close eye on the way the images unfold rewarded us with the deceptively simple geometric patterns that give structures like those in Tikal the austere rigidity to peek their tops out over the jungle canopy. The contrast created by the crayon and pastel-colored gradations only heighten the possibility of grasping the geometry at work- breathing, pulsing, spinning, rising and falling. From the name of the series from which these pieces belong, “About the Field of Statistics”, there’s quite possibly some mathematical ontology to be had here.
The initial allure of these pieces comes on the heels of a day where chats, discussions, phone calls, and re-established connections with friends and relatives from Guatemala and Honduras occupied a great deal of time. They’re potent, abstract reminders of a land and culture that’s in our cells and are yet to discover here at tirado/thrown. On this occasion they were even more potent than photos of the pyramids themselves, in that their truth resided precisely in their rendering as virtual, which was more faithful to the nature of the highly mediated communicatons conducted via cell and internet than a photo or video of a temple itself (which served more as a secondary reference than anything).