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

The Most Radical Thing A Woman Can Do Is Own Her Body

October 7, 2010 § 2 Comments


A recent tumblr find, led me to the remarkable work of Stacyann Chin.

Creating Resistance: Using the Arts in Challenging Racial Ideologies

September 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

I am so excited to announce that on November 5th 2010, I will be presenting at the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, Emerging Paradigms in Critical Mixed Race Studies at DePaul University in Chicago.

Creating Resistance: Using the Arts in Challenging Racial Ideologies
A Roundtable Discussion Moderated by Laura Kina with Alejandro T. Acierto, Maya Escobar, Tina Ramirez, and Jonathan Reinert
DePaul University Student Center |  11/5/2010 |  10:15 am

CONFERENCE IS FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

This roundtable focuses on the use of the arts as a strategy to discuss, challenge, and confront ideologies of race and mixed-heritage identities. The panelists involved – each of whom work in different artistic fields – will present their work either via performance or through a discussion of their current work and the process that helped produce such work. The discussion will highlight how identifications of mixed heritage have integrated, collided, or been negotiated within and through their work while also placing their work within the complex relationship between art, activism, and organizing. Additionally, the panelists will address how their creative projects have been used strategically within specific contexts while also reflecting upon the reception of their work among the public. Likewise, they will address the relevance and necessity of this type of work within the “multiracial/post-racial” framework and how their work speaks to those issues to challenge racial expectations and stereotypes.

As experienced cultural producers of various mediums, the panelists will also open up a forum for discussion about their own experience with specific art forms and how those mediums have presented various challenges, limitations, and problems in addressing ideologies of race. The audience will be encouraged to participate in the discussions by contributing their own experiences of using the arts critically and strategically as well as responding to the panelist’s remarks and performances.


Multiple identities align in Behind The Scenes Acciones Plasticas プリクラ

CREATIVE RESISTANCE ROUNDTABLE BIOS

LAURA KINA
Laura Kina is an artist, independent curator, and scholar whose research focuses on Asian American art and critical mixed race studies. She is an Associate Professor of Art, Media and Design, Vincent de Paul Professor, and Director of Asian American Studies at DePaul University. She is a 2009-2010 DePaul University Humanities Fellow. She earned her MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she studied under noted painters Kerry James Marshall and Phyllis Bramson, and she earned her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Born in Riverside, California and raised in Poulsbo, WA, the artist currently lives and works in Chicago, IL with her husband, Mitch, and their daughter, Midori, and her stepdaughter, Ariel. Her work has shown internationally is represented in Miami, FL by Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts.

ALEJANDRO T. ACIERTO
Alejandro T. Acierto is an active collaborative musician, improviser, composer and sound artist whose innovative work in contemporary music and performance has led Time-Out New York to call him a “maverick of new music”. His creative output embraces an ambiguous aesthetic that integrates music, sound, performance art, and installation based on historical narratives and his own experience as a third and fourth generation Mexican Filipino American. He recently won the Sidney and Mary Kleinman Prize in Composition and was granted a composers’ residency fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. His work has also been featured by Trifecta Publishing, a curated collection of multimedia works by diverse artists.

Acierto holds a Masters’ degree in Contemporary Performance from Manhattan School of Music and received his Bachelors’ degree in clarinet performance and composition with a minor in Asian American Studies from DePaul University. He has performed and presented his work in Germany, Austria, Italy, France, and across the US. He is a founding member of the New York-based ai ensemble and Chicago-based chamber orchestra ensemble dal niente and is currently freelancing in New York City.

MAYA ESCOBAR
Maya Escobar a performance artist, Internet curator, and editor. She uses the web as a platform for engaging in critical community dialogues that concern processes by which identities are socially and culturally constructed. She performs multiple identities, sampling widely from online representations of existing cultural discourses. Her identifications as a Latina-Jewish artist, dyslexic blogger, activist and educator are indexed by the blogs she keeps, the visual and textual links she posts, the books, articles, and blog posts she cites, the public comments she leaves, and the groups she joins.

Escobar received her MFA from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis, and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited work in Spain, Guatemala, United States, Germany, Venezuela and Chile.

TINA RAMIREZ
Tina Ramirez is a Filipino Colombian writer, educator and youth organizer, claiming roots as a country mouse and a city mouse (Kansas-born, Chicago-bred). She has co-developed curriculum with youth spaces such as YAWP! (Young Asians With Power!) and MCYP (Multi-Cultural Youth Project), using creative self-expression as a vehicle to explore identity politics and community-based issues. She was a core organizer with Kitchen Poems, an Asian Pacific American writing workshop, and currently serves on the board for the Leadership Center for Asian Pacific Americans. She has self-published two chapbooks and performed at various venues, including Free Street Theater, Judson Memorial Church, and Insight Arts.

Tina received a B.A. in Literary Studies and Creative Writing from Beloit College and an A.M. from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration with a focus on youth development, nonprofit administration and education policy. She currently works with community schools in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood.

JONATHAN REINERT
Jonathan Reinert was born in Tuguegarao, Philippines. At three and half years of age, he was adopted into a German American family in 1987. Jonathan lived in Kirkwood, Missouri for 15 years before leaving to attend college in Chicago where he graduated from DePaul University with a B.A. in Art and Art History and a concentration in painting and drawing. Inspired by the work of Vito Acconci and Chris Burden, Jonathan began experimenting with video performance art toward the end of his college career. His debut performance, “Twenty Twinkies,” was a surprising success and compelled him to pursue a career in video production and documentary filmmaking.

Jonathan has recently finished his studies as graduate student in Asian American Studies at UCLA. His master’s thesis film, Left on Lockett Lane, is an autobiographical work which examines his experiences growing up in the Midwest as an Asian adoptee and was awarded official selection in 2010 Los Angeles Visual Communications Asian Pacific Film Festival. Jonathan will spend the remainder of the year submitting Left on Lockett Lane to various film festivals across the country and is in the process of applying to film schools for the fall of 2011.

Emerging Paradigms in Critical Mixed Race Studies

September 26, 2010 § 2 Comments

Come join me at the 1st annual Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, Emerging Paradigms in Critical Mixed Race Studies, at DePaul University in Chicago, November 5-6, 2010.

The CMRS conference brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines nationwide. Recognizing that the diverse disciplines that have nurtured Mixed Race Studies have reached a watershed moment, the 2010 CMRS conference is devoted to the general theme “Emerging Paradigms in Critical Mixed Race Studies.”

Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) is the transracial, transdisciplinary, and transnational critical analysis of the institutionalization of social, cultural, and political orders based on dominant conceptions of race. CMRS emphasizes the mutability of race and the porosity of racial boundaries in order to critique processes of racialization and social stratification based on race. CMRS addresses local and global systemic injustices rooted in systems of racialization.

I will be presenting at the conference on November 5th in a roundtable discussion moderated by Laura Kina, on the use of arts in challenging racial ideologies. My next post will include more information on the roundtable and on my fellow panelists: Alejandro T. Acierto, Tina Ramirez, and Jonathan Reinert.

Chicago Does Jibaritos a Cyber Banquet in East Rogers Park

March 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

This Saturday my friends and I participated in a Cyber Banquet (virtually) hosted by artists Lisa Link and Io Palmer. Here is a re-post of my post on Lisa and Io’s site serve & project, documenting the evenings proceedings.

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Cyber Banquet hosted in Chicago at Sandi and Stacey’s apartment.

cyber napkin 5

cyber napkin 2
Follow the Tamalero on Twitter http://twitter.com/tamaletracker.

cyber napkin 3

DSCF5280
Caldo de Pollo in the making.

DSCF5281

Chicago Does Jibaritos

A New York Bagel

The Pig Roast

I Lost Myself To Good Cooking

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 Women Respond

February 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Recently Latina Role Model was featured on TikiTiki Blog: stories with cultura, color and sabor, in a post by Carrie Ferguson Weir called Smart Latina vs. Sexy Latina.  Carrie asked readers:

So, has your Smart Latina run up against the Sexy Latina? What do you see when you watch Maya’s video? What does it bring up for you? Why can’t we be both Smart and Sexy? Let’s talk about this, break it down, maybe shatter some stereotypes, and bust our own too.

Check out the PROFOUND difference in the nature of the comments left on this post (comments posted below) vs the ones left on YouTube.

my contribution to post on Tiki Tiki:

I perform over-the-top representations of different identities. I group together these representations (characters) as a means of challenging limited perspectives of what women are like, and in this case, what Latina women are like.

This character is supposed to be an intellectual, accomplished, socially conscious woman- who will forever be seen as the “Sexy Latina.” The low quality video blog is meant to mock scenes in movies, where the hot high school teacher walks down the hall and all the boys undress her in their minds.

But I am not taking a negative or positive stance either. I want to question the role Latinas play in perpetuating this persona, and question if that is even a bad thing? Are we limiting ourselves by continuing to have this same conversation, even though the behavior persists, are we enforcing it by bring more attention to it?

I haven’t always been so impartial. Out of all of the characters in Acciones Plásticas, The Latina Role Model is the one I identified with the most.  My original description of the way this character was perceived by others was much more reactionary and much angrier than it is now. (see below)

The Sexy Latina© from Acciones Plásticas free (stereotype) postcard, 2007

The Sexy Latina© is an educated woman who cares about important social and political issues. She wears suggestive provocative clothing to compensate for giving up her role as a homemaker. She uses her sexuality to obtain positions in the work world.


Latina Role Model from Acciones Plásticas プリクラ 2009

Over the last two years this character has really evolved. Here is the new description of The Latina Role Model, re-imagined as part of my Acciones Plásticas プリクラ collaboration with artist Rio Yañez:

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

What do you think?  How does the earlier description of The Sexy Latina© differ from this new description of The Latina Role Model?  How do these two images relate to the Latina Role Model YouTube video?

  • This is an excellent post and an excellent video. It really does make you think.

    I am really not qualified to speak from a “Latina perspective” on this topic because I am Anglo. (If you read my blog, you’ll know I’m Sra. López only because I married a Salvadoran.)

    That being the case, I can’t speak from personal experience on Latina stereotypes, but I would like to contribute an opinion or two on topics that are pretty closely related.

    For example, it really bothers me that the Latinas picked as reporters and journalists on Univision and Telemundo seem to be more for the purposes of eye candy than to report the news and add intelligent commentary — not that they aren’t intelligent women, but I think the sexism by the head honchos over there is pretty evident, not just on the news, but on other programming as well… And English language channels aren’t always much better. I think Western women in general – no matter what their race, fight very hard to overcome the sense that we are valued more as objects of sex/beauty, than for what’s inside.

    It’s very frustrating and I don’t envy the difficult job many women have of raising daughters in this world. (I have 2 sons) … With my own self esteem issues, I can’t imagine what a challenge it would be to raise a girl who is confident in herself and who doesn’t let Hollywood, fashion magazines, men, or even other females, get her down.

    I don’t know the solution to achieving true equality, but I think talking about it all is a good start.

  • Very interesting…The role model I immediately identified with was the socially-conscious, smart role model, which made me realize how loaded that role is. Being an accomplished and educated Latina comes with so many expectations — the whole giving back to the community, serving your community, being a role model and mentor for others, etc. — that’s not something that an accomplished non-Latina woman has to worry about (or feel committed to).

    With regards to the sexy role model — I always say that there is no sexier woman than the one that exudes confidence in herself and who she is — the sexy clothes are just extras…

    Great conversation…

  • [...] 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 [...]

  • Ana Lilian says:

    I guess I just never even thought of myself as the Sexy Latina…but a cute one yes! LOL! But once I´m on the dance floor, then the sexy comes out and it´s all good.

    But,seriously, I guess I just lack the perceived-Latina sassy-ness as I´ve never felt that bias towards me.
    I will definitely agree with dear Sra. López that the media, especially the Hispanic media, is completely promoting the hot Latina stereotype, and not much of the smart Latina one. Why do their “news” anchors feel they need to have their breast augmented to be taken seriously?

  • Kikita says:

    I think it is inherent in our culture to be “hot” in every sense of the word because we are so passionate.

    I love what Maya was trying to accomplish and say with her video, but I found that she couldn’t hide or deny her Latin sensuality even when she was trying to play the part of an “intellectual, accomplished, socially conscious woman.”

    This DID make me stop and think, but what I realized is that I tend to shoot for a 3rd type. I go for “Classy Latina.” You know, the one that can wear the big hoops and sexy top with a pant suit. Someone like Ingrid Hoffman or Karla Martinez.

  • C. Morales says:

    My impression is that Latina women play into the stereotype because Latino men often expect them to, and they are threatened by a smart woman. It is not just non-Latino men who expect a mujer caliente and nothing more.

  • Liz says:

    How you project yourself, depends on you, no matter what. I, like Ana, never felt that I was looked at differently because I am Latina. I don’t see my self as a Sexy, Hot, Latina(I hope my husband does, though). Hell, I’m 33, been married for 12 years, and have 3 kids. I don’t get “chifles” anymore… ): LOL!

    This is directed towards the younger, single generation. How they present themselves as the future “Latina Generation”, depends on how they are raised. It’s up to us, as moms, to teach our daughters to go and be the BEST they can be. It’s up to me to raise my daughter to know what it right from wrong. Do guys really still think that girls are still destined to be “home/baby makers? Really??

    Forget Hollywood. Forget the Media. Heck, forget the evening news. If those ladies felt that they need to have their lady lumps hanging out in order to get the job, then I feel sorry for them. But, it is what it is.

    I will raise my daughter to know that education is the key to being classy and sexy! Not exposed Humps and Lady Lumps! Also, I will raise my boys to see women and they see themselves. Whether they marry a Latina or not.

    Ay, me pase de mas! he he!

  • SUZ says:

    A smart and fun video commentary on the stereotypes of women in general…the educated intellectual, the hot babe, the innocent women. I like that Maya uses humor to deflect the extremes. Also that she creates a fine line between integrating the different role types. This is interesting because everyone is never just one thing…but we may choose to identify one way.

  • I think it’s part of a male dominated culture. Many women have this problem of having to manage male expectations in their professional lives, whether it is living with objectification or men projecting their need for nurturing from any woman they meet. I’ve had jobs where men thought it was okay to flirt with me and expected me to fulfill some messed up hot secretary fantasy, and I’ve had jobs where men I worked with expected me to be maternal and when I was driven, I was labeled aggressive. I’m not a dog, I’m not a hooker, and I’m definitely not your mother, guys.

    I think we have to teach men when they’re children that women can fill many roles and to expect them to be as capable and androgynous as any man performing the same duties. By the same token, I don’t know how I feel about using gender or sexuality as an asset to get ahead, my feeling is that anything you do that is manipulative in nature, is skirting unethical, if not flat out crossing the line.

    Having a sense of humor about stereotypes though, I don’t know if I see a problem as long as you don’t go too far and reinforce them. If it’s clear it’s a joke and part of the joke is how ridiculous stereotypical behavior really is…

  • Carrie says:

    I love the feedback, ladies. All great points and fabulous reflection.

    I am left wondering this, after reading Ana and Liz’s comments: Is stereotype/perception felt/seen at a greater level when we don’t live in predominately Latino communities?

    This comes to mind because your comments made me realize I never thought too much of my Latina side and my American side until I lived in cities where there weren’t a bunch of Cubans running around me everywhere. My otherness was apparent and pointed out. It was almost like, wow, I am different?

    Interesting!

  • Marta says:

    I don’t fit into the Sexy or Brainy Latina mold at all. Probably because I look very Anglo – light skin, blue eyes. I blend pretty seamlessly into my So Cal suburban life.

    Except for the Latina “chispa.” That’s always the big giveaway right there. =D

  • Liz says:

    Carrie,

    I emailed your post to my niece, whose studying at Penn State, this is what she had to say:

    Well, I agree with her lol. A lot of people especially here in Pennsylvania, see me as exotic because I’m Hispanic. They expect me to speak Spanish all of the time and a lot of them expect me to be kinda stupid and slutty. But when people get to know me, they find out that I’m extremely smart. Smarter than most people they encounter. And it sucks because I’m always having to prove myself to people and to teachers. But in the end, I’m the one that’s dropping jaws for my intellect and not for my attractiveness =)

    The end haha. Hope that helps.

    I am one PROUD Tia!!! (:

  • Carrie says:

    Liz, aha! Thank you for sending the post to your niece and validating my theory. I love how your niece wrote to you and the “stupid and slutty” line made me bust out laughing — especially because she obviously is not.

    Gracias, proud Tia!

    (Maybe she needs to write for the Tiki Tiki? hmmmm?)

  • Veronica says:

    Great video and excellent points.

    I think that this expectation for Latinas to appear sexy is one reason why I reject the hot mom movement. I wish there was just as much social pressure to be smart Latinas, smart moms, smart women as there is to be hot, sexy, etc.

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

Tzit Tzit: Fiber Art and Jewish Identity

December 24, 2009 § 1 Comment

I met Ben Schachter at the 2009 Conney Conference on Jewish Art: Performing Histories, Inscribing Jewishness, where coincidentally, we both presented Eruv themed works.

In addition to making humorous Jewish themed conceptual art, Ben is a curator and is the man behind Tzit Tzit: Fiber Art and Jewish Identity. I have a few pieces from Hiddur Mitzvah included in the show.

Tzit Tzit Fiber Art and Jewish Identity

A special exhibit assembled by guest curator Ben Schachter, “Tzit Tzit: Fiber Art and Jewish Identity,” will open with a reception at The Saint Vincent Gallery in the Robert S. Carey Student Center at Saint Vincent College from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, January 28. Admission is free and open to the public.

The exhibit will continue from Friday, January 29 through Sunday, February 21 during regular Gallery hours: 12 noon to 3 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 12 noon to 3 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The Gallery is closed on Mondays.

Participating artists include Maya Escobar, Melanie Dankowicz, Carol Es, Leslie Golomb, Louise Silk and Shirah Apple.

Ms. Silk will present a lecture, “Quilting and Spirituality,” at 6 p.m. Monday, February 9 in room 100 of Prep Hall.

Mr. Schachter, associate professor of fine arts, will give a Gallery tour of the exhibition at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 9.

The exhibit was developed by Mr. Schachter. “I have been studying various aspects of Jewish art for the past three years and this exhibit is an outgrowth of that interest,” Mr. Schachter said. “The artists hail from Los Angeles, New York City, Kansas City, Illinois and Pittsburgh.”

“Fiber art refers to any use of a cloth such as stitching or weaving,” he explained. “The title, Tzit Tzit, refers to the fringe on a prayer shawl, or tallis, worn by many Jews during prayer. While using thread, cloth, pattern making, stitching and other craft materials, each artists’ process creates a language derived from craft techniques that reinterprets the Old Testament, the oral law as written in the Talmud and personal histories. In so doing, both craft theory and Jewish Art are reinvigorated. I learned of these artists through Jewish art conferences I have attended, through exhibitions and through national awards. I think our students and our friends in the region will really enjoy seeing their work.”

Ben Schachter is an artist whose work integrates conceptual art and Jewish law. He sees a connection between the rules artists have created to guide and limit their work and Jewish traditions. His work has been shown nationally and will be on exhibition at the Westmoreland Museum of Art in Greensburg concurrent with this exhibition. He holds an M.F.A. and M.S. degree from Pratt Institute and lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and two children.

Carol Es paints images that powerfully scream of a life of hard labor. As a child she worked endless hours in a sweatshop with her family. Ms. Es’ works are featured in numerous private and public collections, including the Getty Museum, Brooklyn Museum, UCLA Special Collections, the Jaffe Collection and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. She is also a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation and was recently awarded the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Fellowship.

Maya Escobar’s work directly challenges gender roles and illustrates how Jewish tradition empowers women. Ms. Escobar received her master of fine arts degree from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis, and her bachelor of fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited work in Spain, Guatemala, United States, Germany and Venezuela.

Melanie Dankowicz creates intricate papercut sculptures, marriage contracts, and wall art. An expansion of the medium, Dankowicz’s three-dimensional forms are ephemeral lace-like paper structures, of elegant tracery that has inspired her recent metalwork. She draws inspiration from the countryside of Illinois, where she resides with Harry and their three children.

Leslie Golomb exhibits her work nationally and internationally and is the recipient of numerous awards, including recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Individual Artists Fellowship Award and a State of the Art Award from the State Museum of Pennsylvania. Her work was recently included in the Three Rivers Arts Festival and Best of Pittsburgh Invitational. Ms. Golomb holds a bachelor in fine arts from Carnegie-Mellon University and a master of fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She served as founder and director of the American Jewish Museum of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh for nine years. She has returned to the studio producing prints and artists books.

Louise Silk began her quest to acquire skills as a quilter after being inspired by an article in Ms. Magazine in 1971 about quilt making as a woman’s art form. Over the past 30 years, her work has been included in Quilt National Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Quilts as well as many private corporate collections such as USAirways, Paine Webber and PNC Bank. She is a certified Integrated Kabbalistic Healer. She is currently living and working from her loft in the South Side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Golumb and Ms. Silk collaborate and join their printmaking and fiber art into multilayered quilts, runners and tallisim. The images and techniques bring together American folk traditions and Jewish history in surprising ways. Ultimately the perspective of these five artists reinvigorates what Jewish Art is and can become.

Shirah Apple received a master of fine arts degree from the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2006. She is a graduate of MICA’s post-baccalaureate certificate program and of Miami University, where she received a bachelor of science degree in business administration.

Further information about the exhibition is available by contacting the Gallery at 724 805-2107, www.stvincent.edu/gallery.

CHAP OPENING 12/6

December 2, 2009 § Leave a comment

Show opens 12/6.  If you haven’t seen it, check out guest post I did on MyJewishLearing.com about my father’s and my piece in the show.

Orchard Street Shul Cultural Heritage Artists Project

Becoming Mainstream?

December 2, 2009 § 2 Comments

The Rise of the Hot Jewish Girl- Why American men are lusting after women of the tribe

Time Out’s Get Naked goes shomer negiah

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


Berlin’s Eruv Talk

November 2, 2009 § 4 Comments

I will be presenting Berlin’s Eruv at KAM Isaiah Israel, as part of their World Jewry Program, this Sunday, November 8th. The lecture is open to the public.


video still from interview with Moshe Or

In 2008 I traveled to Berlin as part of exchange program with my University. Prior to this visit, I had never been to Germany- nor did I have any particular reservations about going or not going, but it seemed everyone else had their own opinion on the matter.

“Germany, how can you go there as a Jew?” “There are Jews in Germany? I thought they were all dead?” “You are so brave to go to Germany…”

Ultimately people’s projections as to my intentions for going to Germany became the filter through which I experienced Berlin.

While I was in Berlin I conducted interviews with members of the community concerning the highly visible presence of the monuments and memorials commemorating Jewish life (death) have impacted their individual and communal Jewish identities. Other topics included: the notion of German Jews vs Jews living in Germany and how this differs from an American Jewish identity, their status as diaspora Jews and their relationship to Israel, their thoughts on the European Union, anti-semitism and the widespread use of facebook as a mode of connection.

The title of the piece Berlin’s Eruv is a play on the fact that there is not actually an eruv in Berlin.  An eruv is a rabbinically sanctioned demarcation of space that transforms public space into private space for the purposes of the Sabbath, allowing Orthodox Jews to carry in public places, a practice which is otherwise prohibited. Modern eruvs are often made of wire strung between utility poles, a gesture towards a “walled courtyard,” indicating an enclosed, private space.

Just as the eruv exists in the minds of the people who abide by it, Berlin’s Eruv manifests itself through the conversations surrounding the idea of the piece. The interviews I conducted in Berlin relied on the presence of institutionalized markers of Jewish identity, to give weight to the idea non-presence of the living Jewish community.

Berlin’s Eruv Talk

11/8/09 @ 10:30 am
KAM Isaiah Israel
1100 E Hyde Park Blvd
Chicago, IL 60615-2810
773-924-1234

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)

SHOMER NEGIAH PANTIES ON ESTY

October 25, 2009 § 1 Comment

Shomer Negiah Panties have finally arrived!!  Get a them on ShomerNegiahPanties.com and Etsy

Shomer Negiah is a concept in Jewish law halacha that prohibits any degree of physical contact with, or touching of, a member of the opposite sex, except for one’s spouse and immediate family. Shomer means “guards”, but due to its common use in phrases relating to religious practice, it has come to mean: “adhere to” as well. Negiah is the Hebrew word for “touch”, and thus Shomer Negiah is a term used to describe one who “guards the touch” or simply “adheres to restrictions of touch”. Although the feminine form of the term is technically Shomeret Negiah, it is almost always used in the masculine, even when in reference to women. Shomer Negiah Panties allow a woman to abide by the halacha, but still be individual and sexy at the same time.

No Sos Frida Kahlo

October 20, 2009 § Leave a comment

from obsessed with frida kahlo

no sos frida kahlo, 2007

puppets, 2007

Orchard Street Artist Cultural Heritage Project

October 13, 2009 § 1 Comment

During the months of December 2009 and January 2010, The John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art in New Haven, Connecticut will come alive with memories, recollections, and recreations of an important community heritage site,  in an innovative group installation designed to both stimulate reflection on the legacies of past generations and engage the public in dreams for the future.

The Orchard Street Shul Cultural Heritage Artists Project is an art exhibition, a history lesson,  a point of cultural exchange, and meeting place for dreamers, both nostalgic and visionary.  Artists, researchers, and scholars have joined together to celebrate an important historic New Haven landmark which was once central to the life of a large Jewish immigrant population in the Oak Street neighborhood.

Urban changes in the last 50 years have all but erased evidence illustrating the importance of the Oak Street neighborhood in the lives of the newly arrived immigrants and migrants who populated much of the area now known as the “Oak Street Connector”, Route 34.  Where some see open space, or a new hospital, or a school, or a parking lot, others with longer memories see shops bustling with activity, voices shouting in Yiddish and Italian, sprinkled with a variety of accents from elsewhere, including near and distant regions within the USA.

Contributions to the installation offer a range of approaches.  Some artists researched the history of the Orchard Street Shul and its neighborhood, uncovering multiple stories of this community: stories of women working together to aid refugees, stories of hard-working fathers and mothers who dedicated themselves to making a better life for their children, and stories of teenagers who giggled and mingled on the steps of the Shul.   Others built on their own experiences, reaching into their hearts to create depictions of the Shul that are evocative of deeper connections with history and community.  Still others focused on the issues of urban renewal, making real the shifts in our urban landscape that are difficult to imagine as we visit the site today.

Included in the Project are presentations by researchers from Yale University who developed innovative ways to document the building, including  virtual reconstructions exploring new digital methods, ground-breaking research by computer scientists that promises to change the ways that cultural heritage sites will be documented in the future.  Some contributing artists used this digital data in their creative work.

The Orchard Street Shul Cultural Heritage Project is organized by Cynthia Beth Rubin, a New Haven based artist, in collaboration with participating artists and researchers: Nancy Austin, Meg Bloom, DonnaMaria BrutonJeanne Criscola, Roslyn Z. Croog, Linda Drazen, Paul Duda, Gonzalo EscobarMaya Escobar, Alan Falk, Greg Garvey, Shalom Gorewitz, Jaime Kriksciun, Leslie J. Klein, Beth Krensky, Seth Lamberton, Mary Lesser, Lisa Link, David Ottenstein, Bruce Oren, Robert Rattner, Cynthia Beth Rubin, Holly Rushmeier, Janet Shafner, Frank Shifreen, Suzan Shutan, Sharon Siskin, Christina Spiesel, Yona Verwer, Julian Voloj, Laurie Wohl, Chen Xu, and Howard el-Yasin.  The group includes artists from California, Florida, Utah, Missouri, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York, who traveled to New Haven to contribute to the project alongside artists from the region.

A Project Book is being published in conjunction with the exhibition, including essays by Haisia Diner, the eminent scholar of Jewish immigration history,  Walter Cahn, renowned historian of art and and architecture, and Hana Iverson, known for her remarkable multi-media installation “View from the Balcony”  that was instrumental in helping attract attention to the renovation project of the Eldridge Street Shul.  The book will also feature photographs of the works in the exhibition and memories of the Orchard Street Shul, with commentary by Karen Schiff.  The innovative book design is by Criscola Design.

The Public is Invited to the Opening Reception for the Participating Artists,  on Sunday, December 6, from 12:00 Noon to 5:00 pm.    To set the mood for the launch of “The Orchard Street Shul Artists Cultural Heritage Project”, the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale for Jewish Life at Yale will host a Jazz jam session on December 5 at 7:30, celebrating the swing dance music of 1924 and beyond, when the cornerstone of this Synagogue was put in place in a ceremony attended by Mayor Fitzgerald and much of the entire New Haven community.

The John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art is open W-F, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, and weekends 2:00 pm  to 5:00 pm.  Schools and other organizations who would like to arrange a group visit outside of regular hours may do so by sending an email to: arts@orchardstreetshul-artistsproject.org.

Interview on Blogadera

September 15, 2009 § 2 Comments

I was interviewed on the Latino Blog Directory site Blogadera

click here for full interview:

Here we are with Maya Escobar. An artist and educator whose art, personality and opinions come to life by way of her blog and social media extensions.  We are thrilled to have her on to talk about her background, blogging and sharing her blogging experience with the rest of the blogadera.

When did you start blogging? What prompted you to pick it up.

I started blogging in 2005, at the time I was completing my degree in art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  I was interested in connecting with other artists, activists, students and educators to share ideas and resources.

What do you blog about? Why?

I blog about issues that relate to the artworks I am producing (basically concepts I am thinking about). Topics include: the construction of identity, hybridity, sexuality, education, placelessness, immigration, activism, religion, and mental health.

Can you give us a little bit of background on Maya Escobar?

Well… it just so happens that I just posted a new “about me” to my website:

I am a performance artist, Internet curator, and editor. I use the web as a platform for engaging in critical community dialogues that concern processes by which identities are socially and culturally constructed. I perform multiple identities and sample widely from online representations and existing cultural discourses. My identifications as a Latina-Jewish artist, dyslexic blogger, activist and educator are indexed by the blogs I keep, the visual and textual links I post, the books, articles, and blog posts I cite, the public comments I leave, and the groups I join.

By examining and re-imagining my personal experiences, I attempt to provide others with a framework for questioning societal limitations based on gendered and racialized cultural generalizations.

(if you found that about me too dull there is a post on my blog where I describe myself as an elephant)

Does your blog reflect your culture? Is this intentional or just a natural byproduct?

I hope that my blog reflects a culture of critical inquiry, communal dialogue, and collaboration. (this would be intentional)

What is the state of the Latino Blogosphere? Do you see it growing? Any Examples?

I see more and more Latina and Latino bloggers every day.  But what I find most exciting is when those bloggers are young people and they are blogging with a positive message.  A wonderful example that I have found is MyLatinitas.com the social networking platform hosted by Latinitas Magazine. Here young Latinas are actively sharing their thoughts on politics, culture, education, and family.

You work alot with videos…do you consider yourself a vlogger? If so, can you define that for us!

hmm… I am not really sure if I consider myself to be a vlogger.  When I think of a vlogger, I think of a person who makes videos that contain similar content to content that would be included in a blog post (such as current events, politics, or personal observations.) Maybe, I am a part time vlogger

Any advice for Latinos who want to start blogging?

I think it is important to get a sense of why it is that you want to blog, what will your blog say about you, and how you envision your blog interacting with your personal and professional life.

Write about issues that you are passionate about, in a way that other people can relate to.  Use the Internet for all it can do- link between your own posts and link to posts written by others.  Read other people’s blogs and comment!  If you want people to be interested in the things you are writing about know what they are writing about!

And most importantly when you can, blog in Spanish!

What blogs do you follow or subscribe to? Favorites?

I just started reading VivirLatino which led me to the awesome blog of La Mamita Mala. I have been following Latina Lista for sometime, Rio Yañez and his buddy Maya ChinchillaSergio AntonioJorge Linares…… the list just keeps on growing…

What are you favorite social media sites and how do you use these tools in your day-to-day?

At this point twitter, youtube, flickr and wordpress are the sites that I most commonly use. My activity on all of theses sites crosses over.  For example, I might write a post on my blog, that will include a youtube video and images I posted onto flickr.  Then I send a tweet that includes either a segment of my blog post, an image from the post, or some of the tag words describing the post.

Do you divide social media by purpose, friends, professional v. personal, etc.?

Not really, for the most part my personal life is my professional life.

What’s next for Maya? What do we have to look forward to from you?

I am working with my father on developing my first performance piece entirely in Spanish. We are using a recording of an interview my mother conducted with my abuelita in 1985, as source material for the monologue I will be performing recounting her experiences, but as myself- two generations removed……

I am also planning a piece with fellow artist and blogger Rio Yañez surrounding the Wise Latina phenomenon.  I don’’t want to give too many details away, but I can promise there is going to be a Top 10 list!

wise latina on Twitpic

[more]

check out other Blogadera interviews with Carrie Fergerson and Jo Ann Hernandez

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.

Jewish Girls Youtube Comments

May 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

Jewish Girls from the series Acciones Plásticas


Responses to Jewish Girls

Berlin’s Eruv Video

May 2, 2009 § Leave a comment



click here to visit website

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“.

ongoing intertextual exchange

April 28, 2009 § Leave a comment

The other day I posted a link on facebook to an article by Kevin Kelly on vizual literacy. Both Eric Repice and Eliyahu Enriquez responded to this post, and Eliyahu wrote a post about this exchange on his blog….

The following is a repost of Eliyahu’s post Vizual Literacy

RT/Hat Tip @mayaescobar Tools for Vizuality

Excerpt from Fb Thread Transcript:

In archiving poems in blog format, I find embedding videos with a distinct narrative to the word-piece heightens the sensory experience: simultaneous stimuli, rather than a replacement paradigm with regards to medium. The experimental nature of combining/utilizing moving images with poetry, such as those of Filipino Author, Nick Carbó, hints at what I’m trying to get at, though the idea I’m reaching for may be more a novelty for Literary marketing strategies/accessibility on the web… With an accompanying video in whatever length, the reader is more likely to stay with the poem, rather than a wham-bam!-thank you, sir means of creative dissection. Whereas, to capture the essence of canonization – the written word to a cinematic language, while maintaining their distinction – that’s something I’m currently playing with…

What Would Judas Do?

“I visited a sage, Rav Yosef Shalom Eliashuv, who lives in one of the most secluded ultra-Orthodox communities in Jerusalem. He was in poor health but still taking visitors… Speaking in Hebrew, I told him what, at the time, I felt was the truth. ‘Master, I am attracted to both men and women. What shall I do?’ He responded, ‘My dear one, my friend, you have twice the power of love. Use it carefully’ – Rabbi Steven Greenberg.”

I am attracted to

He loved me.
He loved me not.

I love bringing pleasure too

She loves mi.
She loves mi knot.

The Art of Couch-Hopping

Lark descending.
Lost Ark.

As Queer as A Clockwork Orange

Sources:


Maya Escobar’s YouTube Channel
Nick Carbó’s YouTube Channel
Eliyahu Enriquez’s YouTube Channel

Berlin’s Eruv at the 2009 Conney Conference on Jewish Art

April 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

I will be presenting Berlin’s Eruv at the 2009 Conney Conference: Performing Histories, Inscribing Jewishness at University of Wisconsin Madison.

Berlin’s Eruv is a conceptual project that addresses the assumed non-presence of Jews in Germany. Berlin does not actually have an eruv. There is however, an active Jewish community, one that is frequently overshadowed by the city’s prominent monuments and memorials commemorating Jewish life (death). Berlin’s Eruv weaves together voices from Berlin’s Jewish community in an attempt to construct a metaphorical eruv representative of a living Jewish Community. Just as the eruv exists in the minds of the people who abide by it, Berlin’s Eruv manifests itself through the conversations surrounding the idea of the piece.

*****

I will be showing Berlin’s Eruv at 2009 MFA Thesis Exhibition, opening May 8th at the Kemper Art Museum.

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

video reel

April 14, 2008 § 3 Comments


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