Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Show & Tell

I stumbled across this incredible talk by Guillermo Gomez-Peña morning and had to share it with you all. He discusses so many of the things we've been mulling over this term in such a poetic/performative/humorous/powerful manner.

I posted a few quotes below because I know everyone is busy, but I do so recommend listening if you get a chance.

Here is the link:

Radical art, radical communities, and radical dreams: Guillermo Gómez-Peña at TEDxCalArts

Here are some moments:

"I think democracy cannot thrive without the critical voice of the artists constantly testing its limits and possibilities, without the ethical mirror of art reflecting the distorted features of power."

"Since 9/11, I became obsessed with hope, with finding its spiritual source and location. Is hope a deep feeling of expansion located on the chest, the abdomen? Is it a distant marker in the horizon that directs our actions or a mysterious spiritual energy that propels you into the unknown? Is hope a matter of quantum fury? A form of poetic will? Is hope by definition illogical and unreasonable? Can hope be nurtured through education? Does hope put you at odds with the state? Will I vote in the next elections? Did you vote last week?

Unlike the presidential candidates, my hope is not connected to god, country, or economy. My hope is located somewhere else, in obscure books, films, and performances. In the small communities that exist under the radar of the media. In the political streets of our cities. In the eyes of my students. In late night conversations in a bar full of outsiders. In animal species I have never seen. In the wisdom of indigenous cultures. My hope is always located on the other side of the border, or the mirror, and in this very moment, my hope is located in your arms.”

“Is love still an option? Love in times of war, disease and global warming?  Love amidst earthquakes and floods? Under red alerts and a suspicious purple moon colored by smog and chemical waste? Is it possible to love as if 9/11, the invasion of Iraq and New Town never happened? As if America was a true democracy and an active member of the world community? Can we love as if the Patriot Act didn’t exist? As if the earth is not mortally wounded? As if we had open borders and open hearts? I think we can. Love can certainly help us continue.”

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Peter Morin's Cultural Graffiti in London

"Buckingham palace. thousands of people. set up the blanket. put on your armor. sing the song. the song that is a Tahltan river rushing inside of me. the drum speaks. it says 'this drum supports indigenous voice.' the drum beats are bullets. does anyone know this? (only me.) sing the song. fall down and sing the song into the land. drum and sing around the monument. overheard conversations: 1. I think he thinks he's an Indian. 2. shhhh. this is an indigenous performance. i also hear applause." Peter Morin, 2013

"We are alive, we remain, we are vibrant, you did not win." Morin, 2013

"Peter Morin produces art that honors his home and the stories, words and songs of his people from the traditional territory of the Tahltan Nation. His work animates the histories of indigenous objects and connects with the ancestors of these objects through different modes of performance: song, stand-up comedy and oration. His art is a record of his ongoing process of understanding and practicing his culture and language. His voice is Tahltan. It comes from the land." (Bio as it appears in Cultural Graffiti in London: Singing life into exhibitions and embodying the digital document by Helen Gilbert)

In his 2013 project Cultural Graffiti in London, Morin performed Tahltan songs in semi-traditional clothing directly into the land and architecture of various monuments in London, such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Princess Diana's Memorial Fountain and the alleged grave of Pocahontas.

"Monuments perform, provoking viewers to think about the past and often involving the audience in a social bond intended to instill historical consciousness." Mechtild Wildrich (from aforementioned manuscript)

His belief is that these songs leave their mark on the monuments in the same way as graffiti, but perhaps even more subversively so, because they cannot be removed. "This sonic rebellion against the hegemonic exercise of colonial power involved an assertion of cultural resistance that often ended with the statement 'we are still here.'" (Gilbert)

The Artist Sings: Peter Morin in Conversation  (Video)

For more info:

Cultural Graffiti in London: Singing Life Into Exhibitions