This performance and written poem are designed as a means for a settler or white person to build empathy for the brown body. A body historically and to this day seen unworthy of compassion unless suffering to the colonizer’s eye. To unveil these words laid on soil and make eye contact with the gaze is the means by which an empathetic barrier may be broken and for acknowledgement to occur.
This piece is a collection of remnants from a performance where I took an iconographic painting of Christopher Columbus and burned the faces of colonizers in the painting with hot glass. These three iterations - video, physical remnant, and zine - parallel each other in the ways they represent the action of burning a colonizer. One can take a paper boat and unfold - thus destroying a colonizer's ship - and opening it to reveal a zine with instructions for the decolonizing ritual I perform. In the act, I first make a tortilla by hand and slap it on Columbus's face, as to show that this gastronomical craft - a sacred component of my indigeneity - exists in spite of settler colonial violence, here to punch a colonizer in the face with 500 years of trauma. I am reclaiming time and history and editing and dreaming of timelines that I cannot physically breach, but these histories and lives and stories and emotions clash within my own body as I strike oppressors with glowing hot fiery earth.
These prints were burned onto every tortilla with hot glass. A ghost image of my grandmother, Lupita emerges in a gentle reminder. To acknowledge the weight and memory within which nourishes us. When left out to stale, they crinkle, taking on a three dimensional being. Breathing.
Branching from the concept of the land acknowledgement, this guest book serves as a way for settlers and those benefitting from settler colonialism to acknowledge that they occupy indigenous land. In this case it is of Narragansett and Wampanoag peoples. By referring to the American content as Turtle Island, it unsettles the colonizer’s definition of borders and land ownership.
The first was displayed at the 2018 RISD Glass Triennial and at the Parallels Dual Degree Exhibition. The iteration displayed here is made as a continuation and will be exhibited in the ____scapes exhibition at the RISD Museum’s Gelman Gallery. It simulates the brand identity of the exhibition, blurring the line between what is institutional accountability or forgery.
Fall 2018 + Spring 2019
This is an exploration on the indigenous mesoamerican craft of obsidian mirror polishing with contemporary western telescope traditions in an attempt at creating an obsidian Newtonian telescope device for solar astronomy. All obsidian mirrors are polished by hand using lapidary techniques.
Digital Weaving is a video game installation which projects a weaving simulation onto sandcast and sandblasted glass panels.
The colors and textures used are inspired by indigenous American textiles, and the user may click the mouse to rotate through different colors of weft while moving the mouse to weave and mix threads.
The original video game can be played here.
This is an installation that encompasses a decolonial sticker book along with a glass cactus and mirror sculpture. The piece revolves around the phrase "cara de nopal", an often derogatory term meaning "prickly pear cactus faced" used in Mexico to describe someone as stupid and/or indigenous. These stickers are a form of self reflection and empowerment as a way to reclaim this phrase as a positive view on indigeneity.
Shelter is based on the warmth of color and light. Color studies are taken from hot glass as it cools down and used to project onto the internal structure as a grid of hexagons that shift from warm yellow to dull red to cool grey. The hexagon grid is then mapped through projection onto the dome using a spherical glass mirror. One can enter the shelter or view silhouettes of those housed from the outside.
Ash Mountains :
Architecture Final Research Performance in collaboration with Noah Shipley and Marcus Lee
From before the time of the Aztecs to the present day, the inhabitants of Mexico City have had a symbiotic, ever evolving relationship with the processes that shape the earth. From silt deposited by Aztec chinampas, to discarded plastic bottles, each site of human habitation holds evidence of past lives. Located upon the now dry bed of Lake Texcoco, the Bordo Poniente landfill was created to hold the rubble of a 8.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Mexico City in 1985. Bordo Poniente is one of the largest landfills in the world, and from its opening in 1985 until its closure in 2011, it served as the repository for most of the waste of Mexico City and its adjacent municipalities. At only 3.75 square miles large, the site was home to about 1500 pepenadores, or waste-pickers, who relied heavily upon the landfill for jobs and housing. Every day they picked through the contents of the site for recyclable materials, sending the materials back into circulation, but when the landfill closed due to environmental and political reasons, many pepenadores lost their jobs and were forced to relocate.
How should layered cultural, geological, and anthropological contexts be reconciled with the built environment? How can we as designers bring neglected histories like those of the pepenadores back to the surface? Through our research on Bordo Poniente, we hope to illustrate one method for utilizing anthropogenic geology as a foundation for infrastructure. We propose to celebrate the complex cultural and geological histories of Mexico City and the people who live there by moving Lord Norman Foster’s airport, located adjacent to the Border Poniente landfill, to a site which contains these environmental contexts. Within the ground are the remnants of all the different histories of the city, the physical evidence of actions and their consequences, of human habitation and the human deposition of materials. We propose to relocate the airport to Bordo Poniente to create a far more meaningful historical connection, and a way of recognizing the importance of people such as the Aztec and the pepenadores, whose histories are often overlooked and marginalized by those in charge of creating infrastructures.
A study on light, memory, and the glass skin.
These are experiments and studies focus on the memory of glass. Glass records processes both from its outside surface as well as its interior. Whether it is being lit manually, molten hot, or projected onto, light can reveal the manifestations of memory within the glass skin.
A glass telescope and a makeshift planetarium installation. Stars as lights cause gravitational lensing.