Filed under: Uncategorized
I remember copying out the text below while I was in college. It is from an introductory essay in a large coffee table book on the artwork of Barbara Kruger. It is a shade hyperbolic, yet perhaps not. In either case it amuses me. And the holidays are upon us now for better or worse.
Mental notes in the houseware department of Wal-mart. Yes. Wal-Mart. You can get anything you want at Wal-Mart. The fact that you want it already means you are already dead. Last Christmas I had an epiphany at Wal-mart. No. That’s a little grand…It was two weeks before Christmas. Each department in Wal-Mart had its own Muzak system blaring Christmas carols, and each department manager apparently, had decided to program a different medley of carols. And as you walked through Wal-Mart, these competing festive audios melted together into a completely dissonant sour, even terrifying mélange, as if Stockhausen had decided to do a Christmas album, you know something, it was perfect, it was almost art, and no one in Wal-Mart seemed to notice they were being subtly encouraged to go home and commit suicide.
Filed under: ecuador
My brother sent me an indignant email regarding this article: LINK
Overall I do think Mexico and Mexican culture does tend to be the face of Latin America in the US and it is something I’ve found sort of both amusing and mildly off-putting. Back in my undergraduate days, I made a good faith effort to join the campus Latino group. But I soon realized that Mexican culture dominated all of the meetings and events. I have nothing against that, but it’s not something I identify with. I knew I was going to quit when I found myself sitting in a smoky sage filled room for some Dia de Los Muertos ceremony and thinking “My Abuelos are freaking borderline atheists. This is ridiculous and not really my culture based in an urban Latin American city.”
So I quit going to meetings despite the excellent take-out and started writing a bitter column under the name “Token Latina” for a college paper.
I find inter-latino struggles kind of pointless really. I mean really can’t we all admit that we love pupusas and pan de yucca and call it a day? Not too long ago I had a totally ridiculous/antagonistic run-in with a Peruvian at a local art opening.* I was surprised it happened at all really. Ironically his friend, also a Peruvian, ended up asking me out.
Anyways I leave you with my brother’s response to all you squabbling Mexicans and Other Central American Countries:
In other words you all have it all wrong anyways…
“Un straw es SORBETE not pajia o popote
Un belt es CORREA not cincho o cinto
Popcorn isn’t palomitas it’s CANGUIL
Corn isn’t maiz it’s CHOCLO”
I’ll throw in my own: Pork is not cerdo, or puerco its CHANCHO!! (and it’s delicious!)
*To those not in the know: Peruvians and Ecuadorians are not supposed to get along due to border disputes that have gone on forever.
Filed under: creative process
While breaking down boxes to put out to recycle, I suddenly wondered if this is why I used large boxes for my last project. My SO and I used to live in a town with lousy recycling so we would let boxes just pile up all over the apartment until we had the chance to drop them off at a recycling center. Cut to a couple years later I willingly populate the entire apartment with over-sized boxes (2’x3′, 3’x’3′ etc) for an installation. Hmmmm. Subconscious you are doing it again!!
About 7 years ago I began trawling the web looking for people who who made and sold handmade clothes. It was then that I knew I was witnessing the first glimmers of what is now the enormously popular craft “revolution”. And up until recently I was pretty convinced that it was indeed revolutionary. People making their own soaps and hand-towels! The spirit of Che had descended on the US at last! When I discovered Etsy.com a couple years ago it was love at first click. I bought a felt brooch that looked like a fried egg.
But lately the whole thing is beginning to wear thin on me. Every time I see a “buy handmade” sticker or button I feel a little irritable. What really irritates me is that the movement has essentially just spawned more crap for us to buy. Its still at its heart, an exercise in consumerism. And like anything that starts out cool and unique, it becomes quickly gobbled up by the mainstream (or just urban outfitters) and re-packaged back to us with faux hand-stitching. Go on Etsy now and its just all this STUFF. A lot of it is pretty terrible too–but that’s to be expected in a creative field. Deep down inside we still love shopping, and we like to feel cooler than our peers. For the moment, buying handmade satisfies these desires extremely well.
Beyond the stuff aspect, I also dislike that there is a sort disingenuous idea that it is somehow a moral better to buy handmade. Especially when you take into account the enormous amount of waste that goes into handmade. When something is ethically manufactured (ie lean–for a great blog on lean manufacturing in clothing please go here), the whole process has been studied and analyzed down to the number of stitches that go into a hem. This actually greatly reduces material waste. As someone who does do handmade–I can honestly say it is extremely wasteful in terms of materials and labor. I make too many mistakes. I have more scraps than I know what to do with. I waste thread and time because I am probably unknowingly doing it the “hard way”. Also of note is the fact that almost all the materials used to make homemade things are coming from places like China. There are very few textile mills in the US now. There are some in Europe but they mainly cater to the couture set. Things like buttons and zippers are manufactured in Asia. Not to mention that many of these shops do not buy their materials wholesale–which adds to costs. A homemade commodity does not get to neatly escape these problematic manufacturing issues.
That said I love the homemade stuff. I am a slave to Etsy. I love the personal feeling customer service and the creativity and Shops like anti-factory, use second-hand scraps which greatly cuts down on material costs and waste. But I take issue that buying homemade is better. Its just another form of consumerism.
Every time I visit Ecuador I tend to get up early a couple times a week and accompany my Aunts and Grandfather to his clinic just to eat pork sandwiches as a late breakfast, in fact depending on what I eat tonight for dinner I am considering going again tomorrow morning.
The clinic never changes.
I went with my aunt Judy to artist Manuel Ucarte’s studio. He gives studio classes on the side for money. My aunt and her friend are taking lessons from him. Manuel was muy buena gente. His wife made very nice eucalyptus tea and served really delicious fresh papaya.