VIS 2 W/F 10:00-11:50
Guillermo Gomez Pena, who explores cross-cultural issues and politics and new technologies centering on globalization in his performance work, refers to many known artists while explaining the conceptual meaning of his work in Ethno-Techno. After discussing about how people swim “in the same waters, just different levels of submersion”, Gomez references Ricardo Dominguez in his section about “clumsy activists.” In fact, Gomez states that many artists cannot make successful performances involving politics about culture or gender because the artists take a more archaic and philosophical stance in their debate. The world is too conservative in its everyday functions, which makes it a challenging environment for artists to establish a successful argument that has a large impact on the community. Thus, Gomez refers to Ricardo Dominguez as an exception to being a “clumsy political negotiator” because Dominguez is a political activist performance artist who achieved in creating controversial issues across the nation.
Dominguez developed many controversial works, but one of his most famous performances is The Transborder Immigrant Tool Project. Moreover, this project is a GPS cellphone system designed to provide information in order to help immigrants locate water caches in the middle of the desert while traveling from Mexico to the United States. Furthermore, many migrants have died from this journey because they suffered from dehydration. Therefore, this is what inspired Dominguez to create a transporting GPS unit that recites poetry to help the immigrants to find water while they travel. However, congressmen Brian Bilray, Duncan Hunter, and Darell Issa protested against this action because they state that it is only using extra tax money to help immigrants to “subvert the federal law”. The congressmen argue that Dominguez’s actions violate the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 because he is helping people illegally cross the border. Unfortunately, this action caused Dominguez to be questioned by police, the universities he has works for, and many representatives of California. Unfortunately, these actions have put his career at stake.
In addition, Dominguez, having a background of acting and performance art, spends his time creating art that uses technology and computer websites to cause outcries amongst high-level administrative authority figures in America. Furthermore, he is co-founder of The Electronic Disturbance Theater, an organization that established an Internet program displaying “virtual sit-ins” on the website of the University of California’s office of the president. This was a digital protest that encouraged people to send a new page request to the UC president’s website every one to six seconds. Likewise, another site sent 404 requests along with every other one to six second request sent. Along with perfoming eighteen other virtual sit ins, Dominguez has created a high amount of controversy over his work. In fact, he is accused of being a criminal hactivist who disrupts computer programs and websites.
Meanwhile, Dominguez has collaborated with many known artists, such as Coco Fusco, Vanessa Beecroft, Diane Ludin, and Francesca Da Rimini, and is involved in numerous media organizations around the world. Dominguez is now involved in a group called calit2.net, which involves discovering new ways that technology can help improve the economy for the people living in it, and he is a visual arts professor at University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
I was bewildered by the collections held at the LACMA. The museum’s works incorporate the entire timeline of art from ancient times all the way to the present. I was in awe of the wide range of elaborate pieces that I couldn’t stop staring at. One sculpture in particular that caught my eye was Chris Burden’s Metropolis II.
Metropolis II was one of the most innovative subject matters I’ve ever witnessed. Chris Burden created this intricate kinetic art installation in order to demonstrate his theory of what traffic will be like in the future. This mind bending work consists of eighteen roadways and HO scale train tracks that are designed to represent the form of a rollercoaster. Toy cars are hoisted up long ramps, only to be released at the top and eventually fly by at a speed of 240 scale miles per hour. Burden proves just how stressful it would be like to live in a city where all civilization hears is the never-ending noise of cars and trains. The cars don’t rest for even a split second; they continue to speed down the numerous twisting futuristic paths. Burden reveals how incredibly busy the future will be and what impact it will have on society.
I was completely mesmerized by the view of Metropolis II. I felt as if I were a child again racing hot wheels on my toy track. I couldn’t stop watching the thousands of individual cars race against one another along the complex roads. If life appeared in this form in the future, I would feel extremely overwhelmed from the continuous noise of the advanced technology and car engines. I would be very frustrated with the fact that nature would be even further away from its true form of beautiful trees, flowers, and natural wildlife that Mother Nature produced. I wonder and worry of what will become of the animals and natural resources such as lakes and forests that the world witnesses today. I am scared because I know this view of the future will be close to its reality, and I dread of the way the world will look like when that time comes.
Metropolis II proves how humans take advantage of the technology. Modern society is already revolving around new and more efficient technology. At the rate technology is advancing, I can’t help but wonder how much time humans have left to truly cherish earth’s natural state. If the world experiences environments produced my Metropolis II in the future, pollution such as smog, car exhaust, and other toxic chemicals, could completely devastate the atmosphere that supports life as we know it. I also wonder whether man will actually choose to appreciate the view of complex technology covering the world compared to the beauty of nature. Will people become brainwashed by the effects that the advancing technology produces and cherish metal over gardens and wildlife?
Chris Burden opened my mind to the harmful possibilities that the future could potentially hold. I am pleased to live in my time now where I know I can truly enjoy the woods, creeks, and natural wildlife. We must appreciate the environment that is given today before we forget the positive effects that nature has on us. I will always stare at the hawks that fly overhead because someday the blue sky might be blocked by a view of roads and skyscrapers that will never come down.