Colonialism, Extraction and Defiance
September 14 – October 27
Opening Saturday September 14, 6-10 PM Closing October 27, 5-8 PM
(Adan Alonso Gabriel,
Victor Figueroa Infante,
Ingrid Torres Espinoza,
Robert Gomez Hernandez,
Marlet Alejandra Martinez,
Kico Le Strange
Curated by Ann Schnake
During the exhibition, we will be holding a series of Encuentros, or small gatherings, investigations dinners and events, as practical border actions and de-colonization of our imaginings. The calendar of events will be up soon!
Subterranean Borders : Colonialism,Extraction and Defiance
September 14 - October 27, 2019
Subterranean Borders employs a long-distance lens for examining borders and ourselves, as the colonized, as colonizers, as the subjugated and the defiant. In this body of work, we push away the fog of historical amnesia to search beneath the surface: extraction of minerals, water, and labor; racist underpinnings for border claims; the long reach of colonialism into our bodies and dreams ….and then to the deep rumblings of counter forces, spirits from the past joining a cacophony of present defiance and possibility.
This body of work by twelve artists builds dream sequences and time travel of poetics and materialism. The exhibition can be approached from right to left, with the story of colonialism and extraction meeting the subterranean powers of defiance and de-colonization on the left. The exhibition continues through the hallway passage to the upstairs and back out to the sidewalk.
Our collective work holds that 500 years of the intersection of colonialism, racism, extraction and capital characterize our modernity. As we approach borders from the subterranean, we see whiteness as the first imaginary of the colonizer and as the underlying supremacist ideology in play at the border today. Since the search for the elusive El Dorado began in the sixteenth century, the history of Latin America has been a tale of greed and resource extraction. It is said that the silver of Potosi could have built a bridge from Peru to Spain – but instead the silver and gold of Latin America went directly to the banks of Northern Europe, financing the industrial revolution in England, the slave trade, subsequent northern extraction and the long-term economic asymmetry between global north and south. From the metaphoric extraction of teeth for pearls, to the shiny metals of silver, gold, and copper, to the mono crop strawberry and avocado fields that drain the water table of the mountains of Guadalajara today, these are parts of the same story. The colonization of bodies and imagination are more tales of extraction. As Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas says, “ Another world is possible, a world that holds many worlds.” As artists who take our role in future thinking and foreshadowing possibility very seriously, we believe that 500 years is a long time but not an eternity. Our job is to time travel, holding concepts of history, present and future in hand to build imagination, possibility and action. This body of work is one exhibition in a series of explorations of borders and borderless imaginaries.
Images:top: still photographs by Robert Gomez Hernandez from a video narrative for this exhibition
Rio painting by Veronica Rojas
left : Mickey Colonizador ceramic figures with sugar and salt by Ann Schnake
Contemplate The Horizon Beatriz Escobar
Alcatraz aka Calla Lillies
Kico Le Strange
Some of the work...
Ceramic figures by Ann Schnake depict recurrent images of Mickey as colonizer, glutton, and skanky white guy, floating in a sea of sugar and salt, a materialist history of racism and extraction in caricature. Teeth extracted for pearls grow in size next to the shadow, gloves and hat of Mickey in the center of the room. The video in the tiny closet “cinema” is an anchor for the installation. Robert Gomez Hernandez and MobileInTent created a video in the hills of Guadalajara: Mickey Mouse, that old stand in for capital and the Colonizer, morphs and morphs again, extracting more teeth for pearls, while defiant spirit forces of the Aztec serpent-mother Coatlicue and Guacamaya arise from the deep. Veronica Rojas brings us to the present, capturing on canvas a surreal view of current borders, while mixing history with possibility. Her altar and extravagant calla lilies by Kico Le Strange are both funereal homage to loss and a vital live force. In the passage way between upstairs and down, José Luis Íñiguez López offers a tender home altar built from dogmatic teachings, hard labor, academics, immigration and a starving desire for love and compassion. Upstairs, Vasudhaa Narayanan takes us to another continent, vividly portraying the colonizing of the body, with the sandpaper sounds of scrubbing a woman’s body clean. The work of Beatriz Escobar in the window considers how the seafarers’ horizons became a tool for the construction of optical paradigms and modernity. Lastly, a sound piece by Stacey Goodman travels from the underground of the building to the sidewalk, with a current day tale of extraction.