November 22, 2009 § Leave a comment
November 2, 2009 § 4 Comments
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
November 1, 2009 § 4 Comments
Acciones Plásticas プリクラ
The Latina Hipster
a bad-ass Morrissey-lovin’, tuff-girl sexy chica
The Latina Role Model
a diploma totin’ intellectual, sexy, social media goddess
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)
October 20, 2009 § Leave a comment
no sos frida kahlo, 2007
April 29, 2009 § 1 Comment
From the Vanessa Hidary the Hebrew Mamita
UPDATE: this post generated these responses
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!
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.