Escobar-Morales at the Bruno David Gallery

December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

ESCOBAR-MORALES: Resurrection of Hun-Nal-Ye at the Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis, MO. Opening on Friday, February 1, 2013, from 5 to 9 pm.  Show runs until February 23rd, 2013.

The Resurrection of Hun-Nal-Ye_3

In the New Media Room, the Bruno David Gallery presents a single-channel video work titled “Resurrection of Hun-Nal-Ye” by Escobar-Morales. The 21-minutes video originated from a performance at the closing for RICH-OO-UH’L, RICH-OO-UH’L at Jolie Laide Gallery in Philadelphia, with sound by Armando Morales.

In the Resurrection of Hun-Nal-Ye (2011), Escobar-Morales perform a funerary ritual, referencing the mythical Mayan tale of the Hero Twins reviving their dead father, the Maize God. In their contemporary interpretation of this ancient story, Escobar-Morales simultaneously represent the body and the soul; the God/ Goddess and twin offspring, in both physical and technological forms using live performance and web based video projection.

ESCOBAR-MORALES is a team comprised of Maya Escobar and Andria Morales. The two artists, based in Chicago and New York respectively, have been working together over the Internet since 2010. They produce digital media and performance art that explores the role of self-representation in visual culture and its ability to deconstruct ingrained ideological conventions. By locating their performances online where they are free from restrictions of time and place, Escobar-Morales is able to concurrently enact multiple personas while simultaneously creating a unified hybrid self.

Maya Escobar was born in Chicago, IL in 1984. Andria Morales was born in 1982 in New York, NY. Escobar received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2007) and an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis (2009); Morales received a BA from the University of Pennsylvania (2004) and an MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University (2008).

Photo by Armando Morales

Escobar-Morales: Excerpts from the Ressurection of Hun-Nal-Ye

July 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Performance artists Escobar-Morales perform a funerary ritual, referencing the mythical Mayan tale of the Hero Twins reviving their dead father, the Maize God. In their contemporary interpretation of this ancient story, Escobar-Morales simultaneously represent the body and the soul; the God/ Goddess and twin offspring, in both physical and technological forms using live performance and web based video projection. Performed at Jolie-Laide gallery in Philadelphia.

AMerican MEdia Output in Philly

July 1, 2012 § Leave a comment


Are you Target Audience? Find out in Philly. Stay tuned for details on the next official AMerican MEdia Output appearance.

photo by Abel Arciniega

Calavera Elotera at SOMArts Gallery

September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

ESCOBAR-MORALES PRESENTS:

Calavera Elotera in Illuminations: Dia De Los Muertos 2011 at SOMArts Gallery

Your favorite fame whore Elotita aka The Fat Free Elotera is back…  and this time she has taken it to a new level…  she has faked her own death… and has returned as CALAVERA ELOTERA.

Calavera Elotera in Illuminations: Día de los Muertos 2011
Curated by Rene and Rio Yañez
SOMArts Bay Gallery, 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tues–Fri, 12–7PM, Sat 11–5PM, Sun 11–3PM.

Opening Reception
Friday, October 7, 2011, 6–9PM
Opening will feature music, interactive performance and the unveiling of over 30 altars and installations. The evening includes a special performance by Herbert Siguenza, of Culture Clash fame. Siguenza will perform and live paint as renowned artist, Pablo Picasso.

The exhibition continues to examine the ways technology shapes the celebration of Day of the Dead. Once again, a Flickr group enables the exhibition’s curators to accept digital photos as offerings to those who people want to honor. The public can upload their digital contributions here. Selected images will be printed and displayed as part of the exhibit.

AMerican MEdia Output in New Jersey

May 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

You saw Escobar-Morales as promo models in TX, “promoting” Arizona Tourism…

And here we are as marketing executives in NJ.

Andria was live at Gallery Aferro and I skyped in from Chicago.

Stay tuned for more details on the performance and the results from AMerican MEdia Output‘s #targetaudiencesurvey.

AMerican MEdia Output in Texas

May 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

AMericanMEdiaOutput.com
twitterFacebookLInkedIn

Puerto Rican Taxidermy Funeral pt 2

March 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Will you be attending?


Andria Bibiloni, 28, of New York, ceased to exist on Mar. 23, 2011 in Philadelphia, where she lived since 2000.  A visual artist and educator, she strove through her work to facilitate a dialogue about sociopolitical and interpersonal issues. Known for riding her Blasterbike, 2007, in the streets of Philadelphia, her departing wish was to be displayed riding a bigger, louder, and heavier soundblasting vehicle.  Beth Beverly of Diamond Tooth Taxidermy will be handling the preparations for the viewing, which takes place at the Rotunda in University City on Sunday March 27 from 3-5 pm.  Guests are invited to stay for refreshments.

LAST RIDE: Andria Morales formerly Andria Bibiloni

March 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

UPDATE: visit AreYouMyOther.com to see Bibiloni’s mass card.


Have you ever Googled Puerto Rican funeral? If you haven’t then I suggest you do.  And if you live in Philadelphia or in the surrounding area, you should attend Andria Morales and Beth Beverly’s collaborative performance Last Ride.

LAST RIDE: collaborative performance-based artwork by Andria Morales & Beth Beverly. Inspired by Puerto Rican funeral celebrations & taxidermy traditions – 03/27/2011 @ The Rotunda @ 3:00pm-5:00pm

LAST RIDE
Performance and reception

Sunday March 27, 2011
3-5pm
The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St., Philadelphia

LAST RIDE is a collaborative performance-based artwork by Andria Morales and Beth Beverly.  Inspired by Puerto Rican funeral celebrations and taxidermy traditions respectively, the artists have found a common interest in death.  Using the Rotunda’s church-like interior as a backdrop, the artist’s work will invite viewers to experience mourning as a celebration.

Andria Morales (formerly Andria Bibiloni) explores the divide between art representative of culture, and art produced from within a cultural community. By immersing herself in situations where cultural identity is consequential, she aims to provoke viewers into a confrontation and analysis of their own preconceptions. The resulting work is multidisciplinary, consisting of mixed media sculptures, self-portraits, performance based videos, and site-specific installations.  Andria Morales’s work has been exhibited at Labor K1 in Berlin, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Projects Gallery in Philadelphia, the Ice Box in Philadelphia, and the CUE Art Foundation in New York. In 2008 she was awarded a Joan Mitchell MFA Grant for her work in mixed media sculpture and installation. Andria is currently a resident in the 40th St. Artist in Residence Program, and teaches at Tyler School of Art.

Beth Beverly is a State- and Federally-licensed taxidermist who has a BFA from Tyler School of Art and graduated from the Pocono Institute of Taxidermy with high marks. Ms. Beverly is passionate about using every part of an animal and being thankful for the ultimate sacrifice each creature makes to land both in her studio and on her plate. She has won numerous awards for her taxidermy creations, including Best in Show at the fifth annual Carnivorous Nights taxidermy contest in New York.  Beth’s work has been exhibited at Bahdee Bahdu Gallery, James Oliver Gallery, Wilbur Vintage Boutique and has been featured in a plethora of fashion & art blogs.

Admission is FREE

women and water… what else are you looking for?

February 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

In the heat of the desert…
women and water… what else are you looking for?

visit http://americanmediaoutput.com/arizonawelcome.html

The 1st Arizona Welcome Pics Are Here

February 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

please feel free to share and re-post…
ARIZONA WELCOME GIRL

visit: http://americanmediaoutput.com/arizonawelcome.html

AM I her or is she ME: The Chronicles of The Fat Free Elotera

November 11, 2010 § 7 Comments

The Fat Free Elotera is a (developing) character on Are You My Other? The Battle Between The Self and The Other, an ongoing self-portrait dialog exchange project, produced by myself (ME) and Philadelphia-based performance and installation artist Andria Morales (AM).  Through a series of weekly exchanged blog posts,  Andria and I publicly negate, deconstruct, and reconstruct our individual histories, identities, and conceptions of self.

The Fat Free Elotera

Click on images below to experience the creation of our latest persona.
Cornfield
The Fat Free Elotera with Frida Kahlo Sunglasses
Mas Maiz


My Elotes Cart
The Fat Free Elotera Challenge


Are You My Other? Block Party
elotera xmas

Photo Booth

March 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Maya Escobar Photo Booth

Being a performance artist is fun. Having a mac allows you to seamlessly document your real life alongside your performance life. Can you tell which pictures are real and which ones are from performances?

el es frida kahlo at the gallery

February 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

el es frida kahlo is currently on view in the New Media Room at the Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis, MO.

el es frida kahlo

el es frida kahlo, 2007-present

Frida Kahlo played with the identity that she wanted to project and the identity that was placed on her by others. Kahlo used her clothing, political affiliations, sexual escapades, and personal traumas, to create a character that informed her body of work. She inscribed her identity, painting her image over and over, constructing a mythology around her persona.

In el es frida kahlo I confront the ambivalence I experience as a result of my simultaneous obsession with Frida Kahlo and weariness towards her commodification. Viewed from a tiny pinhole, dressed as Kahlo, I stand before a reproduction of one of her self portraits. With a mixture of rage, anxiety, and complete fear, I chant “el es Frida Kahlo, ella es Frida Kahlo, el es Frida Kahlo, yo soy, yo soy, yo soy Frida Kahlo,” he is Frida Kahlo, she is Frida Kahlo, I am, I am, I am Frida Kahlo. As I yell, the painting behind me begins to fall. I violently tear down my braids and smudge off my makeup while continuing to scream “I am Frida Kahlo, I am Frida Kahlo, yo soy Frida Kahlo!”

el es frida kahlo at the Bruno David Gallery (video filmed and edited by Felicia Chen)

el es frida kahlo YouTube video

FREE el es frida kahlo animated gif avaliable on MayaEscobar.com

link to translation of recent review by David Sperber in Ma’arav Israeli Arts and Culture Magazine:

Frida Kahlo at the synagogue: Maya Escobar and the young Jewish-American Creation

Latina Role Model on Tiki Tiki

January 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Latina Role Model is on Tiki Tiki: Stories with Cultura, Color and Sabor, thanks to post by Carrie Ferguson Weir entitled  Smart Latina vs Sexy Latina. Check out the post and be sure to leave your responses!

Latina Role Model on Tiki Tiki

behind the scenes acciones plásticas purikura

January 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

The Latina HipsterThe Latina Role ModelThe Homegirl

Here are some behind the scenes images from the many Acciones Plásticas プリクラ photo shoots.

The Latina Hipster  (performance still)

The Latina Hipster

The Homegirl  (performance still)

The Homegirl

Becoming The Homegirl (performance still)

The Homegirl putting on fake nails (lovin’ the shabbos candlesticks and theory books in the background)

The Avodah Girl (performance still)

The Avodah Girl

The 612er  (performance still)

The 612er

———————————————————

Check out this inspiring write-up on Acciones Plásticas プリクラ on Truth and Healing Project.

excerpt below:

goodness.   I’ve been thinking a lot about the intersections between new media and traditional forms of knowledge and how these intersections can be ways of supporting tradition, innovation, resistance and liberation.  As a media-maker, I’ve thought a lot about non-traditional forms of telling stories and the value of stories to allow us as individuals and communities  to grow and remain in movement.  I want to both  honor our traditions and create space for challenge in order to support growth.   This is particularly challenging when, as indigenos, we are usually FORCED  into the frozen stance (as my sister Whisper says)  of the “American Imaginary”.    Born out of a flat analysis, the “American Imaginary”  boxes us into specific archetypes and narratives that,  though perhaps grounded in truth,  metaphorically and at times literally  “freeze” us and immobilize us from engaging in healthy movement and LIFE.  As a guatemalan-born/ mixed -id’d/ mayan-adoptee I’ve  dreamed about new and innovative ways to create forums and craft form that embodies the intersections of say,  mayan id, transracial queer, working class, single teen mama id.   For example, as a queerasfuck femme I’ve LITERALLY dreamed of beginning a series of corsets created out of huipil’s with stories attached to each… though I have yet to begin work on that.  I am so excited by the thoughts of spaces for dialogue, beauty, challenge & examination of the COMPLEX identities embodies by the our contemporary indigena communities. .  Fierce and phenomenal chicana and radical latina artists  have had HUGE impacts on me but I’ve been hungry to see this come from other guatemelan/ mayan artists.  Today, I got a taste of a  contemporary and GUATEMALAN artist who is  actively engaged in a similar examination!  I came across this blog (and art work)  and it was as if an answer was given to me in the form of possibilities.  A sweet affirmation that this form of mayan/guatemalan  art CAN and DOES exist.

maya carrying maya

December 16, 2009 § Leave a comment

The wonderful Suzan Shutan has agreed to help me with my resume/cv/statements in exchange for web design and video work.  I couldn’t think of a better collaboration.  Here is one of the many projects (and its many iterations) that I am attempting to catalog for said documents…

tallit rebozo

Tallit Rebozo, from the series Hiddur Mitzvah, Quilted, Embroidered, Woven, and Recycled Fabric, 2006

Modeling Tallit Rebozo

Comodification Series: Modeling Tallit Rebozo, Performance 2006

maya carrying maya

Comodification Series: Maya Carrying Maya, Photo Collage, 2006

Gringa Loves Guatemala, YouTube Video, 2007

maya escobar youtube page

Maya Carrying Maya, YouTube background, 2009

@mayaescobar

Maya Carrying Maya, Twitter background, 2009

Former Myspace Profile Picture, found internet photo (repeated here 3 times), 2006

rio prayed for la virgen de guadalupe and instead got…

December 13, 2009 § 1 Comment

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I am quite the fan of awful horrible animated gifs.  As I continue to work with seeNoga and Rio Yañez on the Jewish characters from Acciones Plásticas プリクラ: The Jewess Blogging Queen, The Avodah Girl and The 612er; I thought I would share this terrible image created early on in our collaboration. There is also another version (which I can no longer find) where in last frame of the gif sequence, it rains diet cokes. :)

maya rio animated gif

Darja Bajagić

November 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

Darja sent me a beautiful email on YouTube earlier this week. Needless to say, I was quite taken by her.




Check out her website and YouTube


acciones plásticas goes プリクラ chicano style

November 1, 2009 § 4 Comments

Acciones Plásticas プリクラ

Acciones Plásticas プリクラ is a collaboration between artists Maya Escobar and Rio Yañez.

The Latina Hipster
a bad-ass Morrissey-lovin’, tuff-girl sexy chica


The Latina Role Model
a diploma totin’ intellectual, sexy, social media goddess


The Homegirl
a hybridized version of Escobar’s Midwestern Chach and Yañez’s West Coast Chola.

In Acciones Plásticas Escobar created a multi-faceted “doll” by assuming the role of designer and distributor, and even posing as the actual doll itself.  Each doll was a satirical characterization of some of the many roles that have been projected upon her, and into which she has, at points, inevitably fallen. In conjunction with these images, she developed a short series of low-definition youtube video blogs through which she inhabits the lives of “real women” who have each been visibly defined by societal constructs.

Recently, Yañez has been utilizing Japanese photobooths (known as Purikura or “print-club”) as an artist’s tool for creating portraits. These booths are much more common in Japan than their United States counterparts. As a catalyst for creative expression and social interaction they are used primarily by young urban Japanese girls. A standard feature in all Purikura booths allows the user to digitally decorate their portraits after they take them. The options are vast and include wild characters, excessive starbursts of light, pre-made phrases and the option to draw your own text directly on the image. Purikura gives the subjects near-divine powers of self-expression in crafting their own portraits.

The two artists who met over the web, decided to bring together Escobar’s highly charged and evocative Acciones Plásticas characters with Yanez’s notorious Chicano graphic-art style and new found obsession with Purikura images, as a way of addressing the construction of Latina identities.

Maya posed as The Latina Hipster: a bad-ass Morrissey-lovin’, tuff-girl sexy chica; The Latina Role Model: a diploma totin’ intellectual, sexy, social media goddess; and finally, The Homegirl: a hybridized version of Escobar’s Midwestern Chach (or Chachi Mama) and Yañez’s West Coast Chola.

Maya sent digital images to Rio, who in turn drew portraits of her as each of these constructed identities. He approached each portrait with a Purikura sensibility and decorated them each as the characters represented might accessorize themselves.

The final series of portraits is the result of negotiating multiple identities and influences. Guatemalan, Jewish, and Chicano sensibilities reflected back through a Japanese Purikura aesthetic. Acciones Plásticas プリクラ challenge and question the thin line between archetype and stereotype. The Purikura elements present the novel signifiers of each social construct represented in the series.

This collaboration is the first of many to come as Maya and Rio explore the commonalities and differences of their cultural identities.

For more information on Acciones Plásticas プリクラcheck out Rio’s blog and stay tuned for guest post by seeNoga aka Carianne Noga on meeting the Chach Homegirl in real life.

(video of the Chach featured below)

take a picture of me for my myspace

May 11, 2009 § 2 Comments

In October of 2006 my rabbi started blogging. While trying to comment on one of his posts, I accidentally registered my own blog. Within hours of posting a comment, my name began appearing in Google searches. I was now linked to the post I had commented on, previous posts my rabbi had written, comments left by other users and the posts they had written elsewhere within the blogosphere. The rapidity with which I was branded, not only by my own online activity, but also by the online activity of others, seemed incomprehensible.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/140/407330068_cef67d7d48.jpg?v=0

I thought about this phenomenon in relationship to, the images that my friends and I had posted on Myspace throughout that year. I unknowingly went from being slightly annoyed and simultaneously amused by the phrase “take a picture of me for my Myspace”, to it becoming completely natural and almost organic to document every moment, every outing, every time my friends and I put on make up, and to take pictures for Myspace. I saw this behavior even further exaggerated in the high school students I was student teaching. Their conversations were dominated with events that had transpired on Myspace, and when they were not talking about Myspace they were taking pictures for Myspace.

When we talked about the factors that contributed to the construction of their individual and collective identities, my students were quick to bring up their style of dress, group of friends, the neighborhood they lived in, and the way they spoke. Yet not a single student referenced their online activity, the pictures they posted, the groups they joined, the comments they left on each others pages. I wondered why it was, that they were so aware of and adept at reflecting upon their experiences in the material offline world, but failed to mention the social network that played such a major role in their day-to-day lives.

DECONSTRUCTING PERSONAL IDENTITY

the chach

(today) I am referring to myself as a performance artist, Internet curator, and editor.  I create and (concurrently) perform multiple online identities, by sampling from different representations of existing cultural discourses. I fragment my personal experiences and invite  others to join in, and modify and regroup those fragments. By doing this I hope to share the process through which I  deconstruct and reconstruct my individual conception of self, so that others can do the same in their lives.

In the series Acciones Plásticas I performed representations of five constructed characters: a religious Jewish woman, a spoiled Jewish girl, a ghetto Latina, a sexy Latina professor, and a Mayan woman. I created low quality YouTube video blogs for four of the characters, the Mayan woman did not have a video, as she would not have had access to YouTube technologies. The videos were strategically placed on popular social networking sites, including YouTube and MySpace. The layout of YouTube contextualized the videos and framed them with user comments and similarly tagged user content. Jewish Girls was picked up by a popular left-wing Jewish blogging site Jewschool, and soon entered the Jewish Blogosphere where it was referred to as the JAP. This repositioning shifted the focus from the portrayal of multiple interwoven identities to a depiction of the Jewish American Princess. The JAP became how people knew my work, validating me while simultaneously conflating my identity with that of this particular character.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3362/3521552366_98c65eccfe.jpg?v=0

One of the strategies that I employed to counteract idea of “me as The JAP was to group videos from the series  Acciones Plásticas together with three other Youtube videos in a video reel of my work. The first video in the reel,  el es frida kahlo is me dressed as Frida Kahlo where I violently scream I am Frida Kahlo! In second video Be Wife, I wear a bright red bikini top in front of an image of a Mayan temple in Tikal. Traditional Guatemalan marimba music plays in the background, while red text scrolls across the top reading Guatemala’s finest export. The third video Que Sencilla, features me as a little girl, who is being coaxed by an off-camera male voice to perform a dance for the camera.

Someone who is expecting to see a Jewish American Princess, is instead greeted with an enragedel es frida kahlo Latina artist, trying to fight the stigma of being associated with Frida Kahlo. My inclusion of these additional videos was to show the multidimensionality of the five characters initially presented in Acciones Plásticas. The Mayan women does not have her own YouTube video, but with the addition of the Be Wife video, her absence is felt even greater. The face of Guatemala in these videos, is the chest of a mail order bride. Another example can be seen within the four original videos themselves. With the grouping of the ghetto latina with the sexy latina professor, vast cultural and class difference can be seen between the two representations of Latina women. Put together with el es frida kahlo and Be Wife, there are suddenly five Latina performers all acting on one stage.

Sarah Jones on TED 2 loves combined

April 30, 2009 § 1 Comment

My friend Jamie Aguirre  who you can visit here and here posted this wonderful  Sarah Jones video for TED on my facebook page.

Jones asks to what extent do we self construct?

I feel like a little kid in a candy store, really, I do.

Here is another Sarah Jones video.

Have I mentioned how amazing I think she is?

Thanks Jamie!

Ga Bless you Ma

April 29, 2009 § 1 Comment

From the Vanessa Hidary the Hebrew Mamita

UPDATE: this post generated these responses

RIO YANEZ:

El Rio’s got The Hebrew Mamita’s back in the Bay Area, f’sho!

Hidary’s ability to discuss her Jewish identity and experiences while talkin’ hella mad shit is amazing. She’s a kindred spirit to my Ghetto Frida project. After watching the videos on her youtube page I didn’t hesitate for a minute to head over to the official Hebrew Mamita online store and purchase her CD. She describes the album as “not appropriate for young children but spectacular for adults with flava!” a line I’m kicking myself for not coming up with.

El Rio’s got The Hebrew Mamita’s back in the Bay Area, f’sho!

ALIZA HAUSMAN:

The YouTube video below is the Puerto Rican Jewess’s riff on “Ga Bless You Ma.” For those of you innocents, this is a common enough phrase slung at female passerby by tigueritos hanging out on the street corners of Washington Heights and other New York City ‘hoods. And just in case you think I can’t spell, there’s nothing religious about the phrase…at least not when you say it like that.

You might want to prepare for the video by rereading my earlier blog posts, “Hispanic Woman Walking” and “My Mother Wore Tight Pants“.

Frida Kahlo at the synagogue: Maya Escobar

April 6, 2009 § 6 Comments

Frida Kahlo at the synagogue: Maya Escobar and the young Jewish-American Creation

by David Sperber in Ma’arav Israeli Arts and Culture Magazine.
translation by Shlomit Nehorai

ARTICLE IN SPANISH & HEBREW

Maya Escobar is no doubt one of the ‘hottest’ things developing in the Jewish-American art scene. Escobar defines herself “dyslexic internet artist”. And in order to view her work you need not wander far.

Her work is mostly created in familiar internet format, and is most often displayed on Youtube. Escobar, daughter to a Jewish mother and Guatemalan father, defines her art work as ongoing personal anthropological-sociological research into the narrative language that uses contemporary media.

The “Acciones Plasticas” work includes short films that present a series of convincing characters and monologues that deal with identity questions. In the first short film in the series she appears dressed up as the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo who became an icon within the feminist discourse. it is commonly argued that Kahlo had some Jewish roots. Escobar is dressed and made up as is famously attributed to Kahlo – the uni brow – while screaming “I am Frida Kahlo, you are Frida Kahlo, we are Frida Kahlo”. In agitation or in ecstasy she tears her custom, messes up her hair, wipes her make up off of her face and returns to being herself. In another short film in the series she carries on with a monologue of a jewish orthodox woman. The text here is so exact that for a minute the line between irony and slapstick to deep seriousness is blurred. In another short film the stereotypical Latin female as a sexual sensual object is presented, when here too the subject is moving between embracing the stereotypes and breaking them. Escobar is presenting different episodes that she had experienced herself and that deal with her hybrid identity as a woman, as a Jew and as a Latin American.

Another work of Escobar is  “my shtreimel” – a video-blog that is also presented on Youtube.
In that piece appears a young man in his twentieths who sits in his room in front of a computer and talk about his Shabbat rituals. The monologue describes an amorphous jewish world in which jewishness lives and materializes without obligation to its institutions and mostly in personal frameworks. A central part in this world is self deprecation: The young man shows his beloved shtreimel and mentions that the shtreimel which looks like the traditional  is actually a women’s hat purchased at a thrift store.

names

In the work “eruv”  (intermingling)  Escobar relates to the fact that in Berlin there is no eruv even though there exists a vibrant jewish community. In a series of photographed interviews with the city’s citizens she transforms the notion eruv – from a halachic-legal notion that creates a conversion of the public space into the private space, into a blending – the creation of a multiple of characters and worlds. The blending (eruv)transforms into a cultural concept that celebrates the different and the unique. The individuals create a splendid mosaic that assembles anew the “collective” as a social concept. The way Escobar deals with the subject is typical to the jewish-american art world that tends to transfer concepts from the practical halachic and transfer them to another world, and so they transform into a metaphor of the personal or social condition. The personal experience is significant to Escobar: ” Like other jewish rituals, the Shabbat encompasses practicalities that materialize private condition in a private space. Except that the understanding of the private space and the public space is fluid and changes at all times. I think that it is very important that people celebrate their Shabbat as a pleasant experience, defined and personal. The Shabbat rituals evolve all the time  – not as an unbending obligation that is transferred from generation to generation, but as a result of a simple choice of the individual to create to him/herself nice and pleasant Shabbat customs. We all have these kind of customs.”

The intercontinental use of the Internet gave birth to a generation of individuals who create for creation’s sake, and the concept of art for art’s sake gets that way a new meaning. The Internet media connects individuals and contributes to mutual influences between people who work separately in far away places. The young work on the Internet challenges the old definitions in relation to what is considered art and what isn’t. Similarly, it adopts new presentation forms that are not the norm in the art world’s mainstream, and breathes new air into the art field.

The discussion into Escobar’s work leads into a wider discussion about the differences between the Jewish thinking in the Israeli discourse into the new understanding of the American world view. The Jewish-artistic engagement in the United States is influenced by the introduction of new-age ideas into the center of the conversation, and is integrating into the effort to create a connection between contemporary culture and the traditional Jewish identity. Within the American-Jewish community there are signs of a move from an organized institutional Jewish expression into a unique and personal expression of the very personal experience. These artists reorganizing the traditions on their own terms, and in this way contributing not insignificantly to the definition of Jewish-American Non-Orthodox Modern-orthodox anew. The link between Jewish culture and Jewish identity to art occupies a central role in this conversation.

The echoes of this tendency can be seen in Israel as well ( in the young Yiddish culture developing in Tel Aviv, for instance ), but generally there is still a deep disconnect between the dominant concepts in Israel and in the United States. In Israel it is common to connect between Judaism to an organized tradition and to a blood line that is based on a genetic continuity. On the other hand, many young Jewish-Americans marry outside their religion, but nevertheless see themselves as an integral part of the Jewish world and expect to not be expelled from it. As opposed to Israelis who experience their Jewishness in terms of disintegration that followed restoration, the Jewish-Americans create new branches where growth and rebirth metaphors fit them better.

The joining of contemporary culture and art to Jewish creativity expresses itself in fashionable characteristics like tattoos, hip-hop music, Internet art and the like, and is often understood as the disconnect with the accepted binary dichotomy between holly and the common. That is why conservative bodies see these art forms as a dangerous provocation. These new cultural concepts interconnect during confrontational discussions with the old cultural concepts. Philologically speaking it can be said that borrowing symbols from one discipline to another interferes with the semiotic systems. In the Kabalistic vernacular it is said that the energy that is released during the friction that is created by the disintegration of the usual vessels – creates  “new light”.

breaking down the elephant

April 2, 2009 § 2 Comments

Ruth at the writing center (who somehow amazingly manages my artistic craziness and dyslexia) helped me come up with this metaphor for my work, based on the story of the elephant and the blind men.

I think it might become my artist statement.

********************************************

Some people think that I am the true representation of the elephant.

It is true I am an elephant, but not the only elephant.

I try to break up the conception of being the only elephant.

Some people see a small portion of my work and think it is the whole- the representative elephant.

Others understand that each piece connects to another piece and that individually they are only fragments.

When breaking the elephant up into pieces, information slips in through the cracks.

People also respond to this new information- creating a bigger more amorphous elephant.

The amorphous elephant is broken up again and again, so that it is relevant to new individuals new experiences…

project map

a) accionesplasticas.com
b) mayatalk.wordpress.com/2007/04/11/obsessed-with-frida-kahlo/
c) thewayismadebywalking.com/
d) www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5sFV2xmpfA
e) berlinseruv.com
f) www.youtube.com/watch?v=359HwupsY1s
g) mayaescobar.com

together we hope

November 9, 2008 § 1 Comment

The polling lines were LONG in STL, I waited over 4 hrs to vote!  But it was well worth it, I have never been more proud to be an american and to take part in such an important moment in history.

The night of the elections, Carianne and I initiated our project together we hope with the help of our friend Becky Potts.  We passed out red tyvek tags and asked people to write down their hopes for the future. We tried to encourage them to go beyond “I hope Obama wins” or I hope McCain wins”.

People wrote things ranging from “I hope I get good grades” to “I hope that we end the war in Iraq and do not go to war win Iran.”

Check out this website we created where you can submit your hopes online. We will make a tag for each hope submitted…
i hope to make the world a better place

Jewish Identity Questions- generated by the 2008 Jewish Multiracial Network Retreat Youth Staff with Artist Maya Escobar

June 16, 2008 § 1 Comment

I just returned from the residency I did for the Jewish Multiracial Network, located at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. As part of my programming I worked with the youth staff to generate a series of questions regarding Jewish Identity. These questions then set the framework for the theater games (inspired by theater of the oppressed) and the flag books that we made over the course of the weekend.

jumping movement JMN Retreat 6/7/08

Unfortunately not everyone got around to answering these questions at the retreat, however here is a new chance :). So I now invite anyone and everyone to participate in finding answers to these questions (JMNners, non-JMNers, Jews, non-Jews….. )

What do you need from society, yourself, the Jewish Community to recognize diversity and to become aware of racism, sexism, homophobia (oppression) both internalized and experienced and the times you yourself have been racist, sexist , homophobic, and then move past to create change?

What do you do when you are in an uncomfortable situation regarding your Judaism?

Do you have a Non-Jewish side, what is that like?

What makes a person culturally Jewish?

What make you a Jew in your everyday life?

Define what makes someone Jewish.

Name your greatest Jewish moment.

Why are you Jewish?

What does a Jew look like?

Did you ever not feel Jewish?

What is it about being Jewish that makes you most proud?

What do you love about being Jewish?

What was your weirdest Jewish Experience?

Have you ever questioned your Jewish Identity?

Has anyone else ever questioned your Jewish Identity?

Have you ever questioned another persons Jewish Identity?

What symbols represent Judaism for you?

What non-Jewish activities do you partake in that to you are “Very Jewish”?

What is your responsibility as a Jew of color?

What is your responsibility as a Jew?

video reel

April 14, 2008 § 3 Comments


The Cuentos Foundation

February 28, 2008 § Leave a comment

I just submitted the work of Michele Feder-Nadoff, to the magazine I work for Zeek. Michele is a dear friend and a phenomenal artist, activist and educator. I thought it would be a good idea to share some information about Michele and to promote her organization the cuentos foundation.

Artistic Director, Michele Feder-Nadoff, who is Jewish, founded Cuentos in 1998 with the humanist vision and commitment to tikkun haolam, a Jewish principal expressing each person’s responsibility to play a part in “healing the world.” Cuentos members believe art is a transformative catalyst for effecting positive social change. Our work combats prejudice and discrimination through artistic and educational intergenerational projects and programs promoting mutual understanding.

The abundance of cultural wealth living doorstep to doorstep in our neighborhoods provide all of us an opportunity to engage with and learn about each others’ backgrounds. What connects us and how can live in peace together, connected by mutual understanding and appreciation of different cultures from around the globe?

 

CUENTOS PROGRAM OBJECTIVES:

To design programs that promote strong personal and cultural identity, as well as cultivate the ability to positively engage and communicate across cultures. We believe these are the keys for empowering youth, families, and communities with the capacity for participating in positive social change and mutual understanding.

To provide reciprocal learning/ educating of artistic strategies and art-making practices, techniques, traditions, such as copper-smithing, poetry writing & publishing, performance, curating.

To provide a safe, nurturing, extremely creative environment to test out ideas, performance, theater, music, a poem, or an exhibition idea in Cuentos’ storefront windows or space.

To empower through collective practices: A place to collaborate with others from similar and different backgrounds.

To make cross-cultural links and networks between groups.

To use art across disciplines to give projects a holistic and contextualized vision.

To develop the acquisition of transferable skills and knowledge: artistic, social, and cultural.

To provide an opportunity to express differences in cultural heritage, history, and traditions.

To act as an incubator for creating community connections and fellowship.

check out their new book: Ritmo de Fuego

Ritmo del Fuego / Rhythm of Fire is a unique achievement, telling the story of the deep-seated copperworking tradition of Santa Clara del Cobre, an ancient community in the forested mountains of Michoacán, Mexico. What is often seen as “folk art” is shown to stem from early workshops established in Michoacán during the 8th-9th centuries AD, by coastal traders and artisans from the Andean Region of South America. Since then, the manufactures have included utilitarian and ornamental objects. Many have been recovered at archaeological sites, most notably from the 15th century Tarascan Kingdom. Others embrace forms of Spanish origin after the 16th century conquest. Today in the expanding international market, Santa Clara copperwares include a wide range of sophisticated decorative vases, pitchers, trays, dinner wares and related forms. A vital community has evolved with this ongoing tradition, portrayed with affection and care by the project organizer Michele Feder-Nadoff, and the many other authors in this remarkable, well written contribution to the cultural history of the Americas.

click here to purchase

abidin travels

February 21, 2008 § 2 Comments

(above)
Willie Cole, The Difference between Black and White,
2005-6. Shoes, wood, metal, screws, and staples, 85 x 16″.

 

ST. LOUIS, MO – War and disaster have profoundly shaped the opening years of the 21st century. In the United States and abroad, acts of violence and terrorism as well as natural catastrophes have resulted in large-scale destruction and displacement affecting the lives of millions. In February, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis will present On the Margins, an exhibition exploring the impact of war and disaster through the work of a diverse range of contemporary artists. Curated by Carmon Colangelo — a nationally known printmaker as well as dean of the university’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts — the exhibition will showcase more than a dozen works, ranging from prints and photographs to video and large-scale installations, by ten artists from around the world.

Several installations play against traditional approaches to war memorial. For example, Fallen (2004-ongoing), by the American artist Jane Hammond, comprises a large field of brightly colored leaves, each bearing the name of a soldier killed in Iraq. Similarly elegiac is Metal Jacket (1992/2001), by South Korea’s Do-Ho Suh, which consists of 3000 dog tags stitched to the liner of a U.S. military jacket. Abidin Travels: Welcome to Baghdad (2006), an interactive video installation by the Iraqi expatriate Adel Abidin, allows viewers to become virtual tourists amidst the wreckage of his native Baghdad.

In conjunction with the exhibition MFA candidates Carianne Noga, Dan Solberg, Erica Millspaugh and I assumed the role of travel agents assisting museum visitors in arranging their virtual flight Baghdad aboard a B52.

Abidin Travels

wille cole piece

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