Saturday, May 29, 2010

Art and Conscience

_PlayMoney from Ox and O's series of game boxes ©evertson

_Magical thinking. I finished a new box titled PlayMoney with the game and imagery concerning financial meltdown. The overall focus of the boxes remains choice and identity but they sometimes also function as a repository of my frustrations. As if locking these concerns into the box could change minds.
Interior lid image and top compartments ©evertson

In PlayMoney, the play of children contrasts with the play of those in the financial world where the stakes are much higher. I was thinking how the non objective and abstract nature of play is curiously mirrored by deregulations of the financial sector that allowed for the creation of very abstract and complex instruments of transactions to be developed. Play could also be thought of as a transaction between the individuals. Of course now, we are to hold the belief that corporations can be considered as having the rights of individuals. Child-play with the corporate individual leaves many of us with the feeling of having faced humiliation at the hands of the playground bully.

"Instruction Book" ©evertson
Our corporate entity of course has a far differing set of values than we as individuals may grow up with. Developing a sense of fair play and sharing is not the same as maximizing profitability.
Nothing really new here as this type of legal precedence dates back to a case involving the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in 1886. In January of 2010, the court rejected corporate spending limits on political campaigns.



collage from interior - Goldman Sachs tower with Legos
©evertson


The rule of play gets tougher. Perhaps in this game box the money piece always should go first as it speaks the loudest.








prose from instruction book ©evertson
I don't think of myself as an artist who’s content is primarily political, yet the muse of choice and perception I’ve followed for many years always seems to lead down this path.

Those that have been following this blog for a while recognize the handstamp to the right of the photo. The carved bottoms of the hands are used to mark the playing grids in this artist "game".





In keeping with the art and politics theme of todays post I've recently become aware of a woman whose art while very poetic can be tinged with an acute sense of social justice at it's core.

Marsha Parrilla is an artist that I met in Boston during the Alternative Experimental Flower Show in March. Her work involves performance art as well as choreography and dance. Marsha’s piece Harina from the Mobius Flower Show was inspired by word play of Flower and Flour. I was back in Boston several weeks ago for ArtRages and had an opportunity to video a portion of her performance piece Lucha Libre.



Lucha Libre - Marsha Parrilla performs with Angela Ferrara

In this case Marsha’s work tackles the recent Arizona immigration enforcement bill. I thought it would dovetail into this post because I think this piece does justice to a complex and divisive political issue. The following sign was posted outside of Marsha’s room at ArtRages.

“My solo is an improvised response in protest of Arizona's Senate Bill 1070. It worries me that they have decided that they have the right to determine how an "illegal" immigrant looks like, and that they have the legal power to act accordingly. It also concerns me that the color of our skin is once again legally on the table. Are we a backwards country?
I am juxtaposing the idea of -Lucha Libre- as a symbol of the fight between good and evil. Lucha Libre is a national Mexican sport where both wrestlers come masqueraded to fight. I was particularly inspired by El Santo, the most popular luchador in Mexico, who wears a silver mask. The mask is a symbol of heroism, persistence, and uniqueness. They are considered super heroes, who fight for social justice. When a luchador looses the fight, his mask is removed at the ring for all viewers to see his humanity. The winner remains masked, a symbol of being undefeated, remaining a hero.
Arizona is trying to unmask our immigrants. Hopefully our immigrants (and the whole country) will fight hard, and our immigrants and our real sense of freedom will remain undefeated.
THIS IS AN INTERACTIVE SOLO. I INVITE YOU TO JOIN ME AT THE "RING" TO SHARE A DANCE. WE NEED NOT FIGHT, WE SHALL SHARE OUR SPACE TOGETHER. PLEASE REMOVE YOUR SHOES PRIOR TO ENTERING OUR DANCE SPACE.
Performance Artist: Marsha Parrilla
Conceived by: Marsha Parrilla with the assistance of Alejandro Rodriguez
SB 1070
ARTICLE 8. ENFORCEMENT OF IMMIGRATION LAWS
11-1051. Cooperation and assistance in enforcement of immigration laws; indemnification
B. FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).

Parrilla's use of the luchidor mask is at odds with her petite stature lending her a fierceness that belies the gentle probing dance with which she engages her "opponents". The room that acts as her ring is glass sided so viewers can see the contests with viewers she invites into mock combat. While her statement appears to concern itself with the unmaking of immigrants, I take away from her dance a feeling that confronting an illogical fear leads to renewal and understanding.

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