Residency at Combine Studios

In early June I had a great opportunity to participate in a residency at Combine Studios through Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona. Pablo Helguera’s traveling used Spanish-Bookstore project, Librería Donceles, was installed in Combine Studios in March with the help of students from Arizona State University’s Fine and Otis College of Art and Design Graduate Public Practice programs. 

Curator, Julio César Morales, at the ASU Museum of Art, invited a couple of colleagues and myself from the graduate program at Otis to participate in the mini residencies happening during the exhibition of the all Spanish-Language Used Bookstore. Artists were invited to use the bookstore as a platform, some inspired by the books themselves, others inspired by the political climate of the environment and concept of what an “all-Spanish” language bookstore, new or used, means for the microcosm that Phoenix represents. It was left up to the artists discretion.

With close family ties to Phoenix and visits to the area often, I chose to address the lack of Ethnic Studies within the Public School system. I went through various ideas on what that would look like and the audience I wanted to address. 

My original proposal:
"Mario Mesquita is an advocate, educator, organizer, and artist whose work explores social constructs of relationships between the personal and community sphere. He currently lives in Southern California and has strong familial ties to Phoenix, Arizona. Trained in multimedia arts at the University of Oregon, his art encompasses graphics, photography, performance, and installation. Mario’s residency June 1st-June 7th will focus on the impact of Arizona’s House Bill 2281 ban on ethnic studies in public schools, the urban landscape, neighborhood, and citizenship. In collaboration with local diverse communities, Mario’s re/[search]sidency will culminate in workshops and discussions surrounding what it means to be ethnic in a state without sanctioned pedagogy in the public school realm.”

Yet, what I learned almost as soon as I arrived, is that planning before arriving at a site, specifically for site specificity, is completely different than actually being in the space. Once I arrived I realized there really wasn’t as much time as I had first I thought I could stretch, and the reality of the time of the year it was: most schools already let out for summer vacation, and there was SAT and ACT testing occurring for high school students.

Dystopic Stories: Arizona
http://dysto-arizona.tumblr.com

Librería Donceles
https://asunews.asu.edu/2040303-pablo-helguera-exhibitions

Combine Studios
http://www.combinestudios.com/

Sound Bites for Research around the Neighborhood

Sounds outside of my house

Scouting the four corners of Broadway and Griffin.image

image

I started on the southeastern corner in front of King Taco and followed people across Broadway to the northeastern corner. The corner is in front of the vacant lot and abandoned building of a Bi-Rite. This seemed like an ideal spot for popping up shop of the Getting to Know Your Neighbor table.

From here I crossed Griffin to the northwestern corner, took some rubbings of the pavement where people had etched into the pavement when it was still wet and listened to the traffic. I crossed southward on Broadway to the southwestern corner where Le Blanc Bar and Grill is looking for employees.image

And of course a quick visit to the pandería

tonanzin-x:

"Sin Cultura… No tengo Inspiración ni Corazon"
"without culture, i don’t have inspiration or heart"
At the Border/ En la Frontera.
San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico.

tonanzin-x:

"Sin Cultura… No tengo Inspiración ni Corazon"

"without culture, i don’t have inspiration or heart"

At the Border/ En la Frontera.

San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico.

(Source: la-xingada, via whereismimente)

Otis Open Studios 2014
La Cafeteras play, people dance, and we are able to enjoy an art well done.

Otis Open Studios 2014
Getting to Know Your Neighbor: Experiment #2

This was the second iteration of the table piece conversational project I have been experimenting with. I was originally set to host the table in the kitchen of the studios but was asked to move to the front of the building. Originally I was to sit with my table to engage participants in conversations surround how one gets to know their neighbors/people. What sorts of questions or interactions solidify an in depth interaction with total strangers.

The displacement was unfortunate failure for participation. As so, I decided to write questions on the table that I would have asked if their were people sitting around the table and see if this visual prompt along with pens would initiate a call and answer effect. While the few people who got curious about the table, and ventured out to the sparse front, wrote responses I continued to ask probing question to get participants to elaborate on their answers.

Old Abandon Lincoln Heights Jail & Bilingual Arts Foundation