Emilio Rojas, studio class

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Questionnaire for Experimental Class

1. what's your individual perspective on experimentation? (eg. working against being deliberate? working toward spontaneity/improvisation or working outside or your area of expertise/ comfort?)

I think experimentation is at the same time subjective and historical. It is a rehearsal, a laboratory, a sketch, an unborn idea, an massive explosion, improvisation of the self , a theory of spontaneous order,an unsafe exploration, a multidisciplinary practice , destabilizing creativity, an imminent catalizer , a ticking bomb, a sudden surprise, a radical change, a need of the times, critical mass, undiscovered possibilities, hidden materialities, emerging techniques, unexplored territories, creating neologisms, at the edge of hysteria, a moment with the sublime, the terror before the abyss, the cannon of the future, the temptation of genius, the unpronounced word, a melange of experience, a collage of possibilites, a double edge sword, a taste of something different, outside the box, the collective unconscious, always transforming, always transforming, never ending, nurtured by the senses, new aesthetic potentials, trial and error, a waste of time, ahead of its time, not for the sane, sets a precedent, an unrepeatable mark, an act of freedom.

Experimentation is to experiment with various medium and materials to explore various ways of expressing one's ideology, psychology, philosophy etc in an art form.

2. experimental practice (is this term an oxymoron?)
 It is only an oximoron in relation to the practice of each individual. If your practice is boxed into a medium and subject matter,then it is contradictory, but if your practice is always shifting and exploring the the term is not an oxymoron but rather a redundancy. You have to fully exercise the freedom of an multifaceted practice to prevent it from becoming a cannon.

3. What is the significance of experimental work at this particular point in time (considering our global general social/ political/ environmental milieu: social interactions, art practices, art business, politics, social movements, social networking etc.)

The significance of experimental work at this point in time is that the work doesn't remain static. Its a catalizer of the social and political environments that generates change and transformation. It allows the cross-polination of disciplines, mediums, materials and social fabrics. It allows you to ask question and generate new modes of expression.

4. when experimental process(es) become canons:
a. using UBU.com as a resource, research and identify an experimental work that interests you (tell us why). Include a link to this work in your paragraph.

This the piece Balkan Baroque, directed by Pierre Coulibeuf

This is a experimental film part of a performance by Marina Abramovic, part biographical, part in-congruent narrative, part a collection of previous performance by Abramovic. It interests me because it is very personal but at the same time it experiments between genres, from the documentary, to performance documentation, a drama, a narrative film. For me its a rollercoaster of emotions and the artists attempt to retell her own story.



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The piece “Caminografias”, by Emilio Rojas is based on the situationist practice of the derive, described by Guy Debord in his 1958 essay Theory of the Dérive as a “technique of passage through varied ambiences. Dérives involve playful-constructive behavior and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll.” Most of the Derives performed by the Situationists involved the urban landscape, taking the theories of walking as a mode of practice into action, as a tool to critique the social, economic and geographical infrastructure of a city.

In this piece Rojas engages with the most touristic cities in the world weaving with his walk their social fabric and being aware of the psychogeographical effects of each location. The artists holds an oversized map of the city in front of his face, and then begins to navigate the streets through this two dimensional plane, looking for the most touristic places in city. The “playful-constructive behavior” points out to the use of the map as an essential tool that helps us define, explain, and navigate way through the world as well as an object that acts as a marker of the tourist. The work exists as a critique and a reflection of the tourist shaping the geography of the city by creating routes of consumption and services surrounding the sightseeing. In a similar absurdist manner the situationists utilized maps for their derives, one famous example was walking through a city with a map of a different urban center, walking through Paris with a map of London. For “Caminografias” the artist involves other inhabitants, migrants and tourists to video record the action, so each fragment of the piece is seen through the eyes of a different person, which accounts for the change in aesthetics of each section. These singular perspectives mirror the plurality of opinions on tourism, and the need/hate relationship between the tourist and the inhabitant.

This exhibition brings together the first part of a ten years project that will document the diversity and plurality of the most visited metropolis of the world. The collection exhibited here presents the artist first six cites; Florence, Berlin, Barcelona, London, Mexico city, and Cancun. The project began in Venice, in residency the artist participated as part of the Venice Biennale. During this time Rojas researched and responded to the effect that 20 million tourists have in a city with 60,000 inhabitants. This project began as a social experiment in Venice, and was not documented as a performance, later the artist began to the developed a process that resulted in the work presented here.


Research on Tourism and the Inhabitant in VeniceMay 29- June 28. First Exercise Performance in Venice - June 20-21 Development of Process June 22nd -28th Florence - July 2nd Berlin- July 20th Barcelona- July 24th-25th London August 13th Mexico City Date: December 20th Starting from el Zocalo. Videography by: Pancho Lopez. Possible locations to visit. Templo Mayor, Bellas Artes, San Ildefonso, Zocalo, Alameda, Torre Mayor Cancun Date: December 28th.

Grad Artist Statement

For my grad project I will present the first 5-7 vignettes of the Caminografias, a 5-10 year project that will include 20 of the most touristic cities in the world. This project was born, during a residency in the Venice Biennale. During this residency I was researching and analysing the relationship that the inhabitant has to tourism, but also how tourism alters the geography of the city. The map is an essential tool that helps us define, explain, and navigate our way through the world. An instrument for exploration that signifies the exploration of the unknown; it immediately marks the tourist as the other in the eyes of the inhabitant. They also facilitate the consumption of goods for the tourist, clearly marking all attractions within a delineated cartography. One might argue that a map portrays what the city has to offer for immediate or digested cultural consumption. By doing so the map blinds the tourist to see only certain locations, the touristic attractions. These locations define the perspective that the tourist has of the city, and shapes the geography in order to provide services to the tourists. Maps not only show us a city but by existing they directly shape the cities geography.

Cities presented. Florence, Berlin, Barcelona, London, Mexico City,Cancun,

Live performance for Graduation: Vancouver. In the Media Gallery.   Process. Instructions 1.- Buy largest possible map available for tourists 2.- Ask the person you buy the map from, the 5 most touristic locations based on their experience of the city, and circle them in the map. 3.- Visit one touristic location after the other, navigating a three dimensional space, by looking at a two dimensional plane (the map) 4.- The video can be documented by an inhabitant of the city, a migrant to the city , or by a fellow tourist, or a combination of all. 5.- The video is projected on the back of the maps. With a person possibly holding the map,

Influences, Research and inspirations.

Critical Theory: Michel de Certeau, Walking in the City, The Practice of Every day Life Walter James Corner: The Agency of Mapping, Speculation. Critique and Invention Rebecca Solnit: Wanderlust Walter Benjamin's Flaneur (after Charles Baudelaire) Henry David Thoreau- Walking Karen Elliot- Situationists in a nutshell Dorren Massey: A Global Sense of Place Guy Debord Situationist International Rosalyn Deutche Miwon Kwan ,Yi Fu

Artists: Francis Alys, Richard Long, Hamish Fulton, Christian Philipp Mueller, Tom Maroni, Francois Morelli, Janet Cardiff, Francesco Careri, Basia Irland and Simon Pope, Marina Abramovic, l, Dadaist walks, M. Simon Levin, Vito Acconci , Sophie Calle.

Artist Bio. Emilio Rojas was born in Mexico City. He is a multimedia, performance and installation artist whose works explore the relation between the artist and his audience, interacting and exchanging roles. His works require the participation of the viewer, in order to set in motion the metaphors that unveil the intricacy of his art. The intrinsic relation with the body has been both his subject matter and medium. Exploring the mental and physical limits of his being, Emilio reevaluates standards of beauty, activism, gender, traditions, ritual, migration. And sexuality. He is currently based in Vancouver, B.C., enrolled at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. His performance, videos and collaborative works have been exhibited in Canada, Mexico, United States, Spain, Italy, Austria, England, Germany, and Australia. In Vancouver he has exhibited work at VIVO, the Western Front, the Grunt Gallery, 221A, Gallery Gachet, The STAG, LIVE performance biennale and the Surrey Art Gallery. He recently participated in the Pirate Camp; The stateless Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale.

Change of Project.

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I was invited to participate in the International Performance Festival Transmuted, in the museum Ex-teresa Arte Actual. The theme of the festival is Non Canadian. Canadians.

Here is the curatorial statement.

TRANSMUTED International Performance Festival Presents

Non Canadians Canadians Curated by Pancho López

A couple of visits to Canada were enough for me to become aware of its cultural multiplicity. My skin was imprinted with a never-ending exchange of experiences and situations in an active cultural scene filled with rivers of people circulating night and day… As a mere spectator, my body was exhausted from moving along its currents; as an artist, my head was spinning fast.

The exchange unfolded in layers, like an onion, slowly peeling, yielding its scent and taste, resulting in a heavily spiced atmosphere. Cities like Vancouver and Toronto share some of their secrets despite being located at almost opposite ends of their vast country; the secrets of permanence, difference, and an invitation to stay. Many people seek new possibilities, challenges, and change. Among so many secrets, I observed something fascinating: something so old, it revealed itself as unique, even as it has existed in my own house for so many years. People that pass through, that stay, that decide to remain, that move in, that move out… people that live, seek and invent a new life for themselves.

Non-Canadian Canadians.

Canadians in transit, under construction.

These recent visits allowed me to meet new people, new ways of performing in a foreign environment, new ways to assume the surroundings and make them one’s own. I found a parallel universe within the grand stage of the city. I surrounded myself with these people-in-transit that fight to stay, and have managed to remain. This parallel universe also exists in México, but this journey compelled me to contemplate it and extract it. To point towards difference from a space of belonging. Being a visitor, as I was just as alien, but I fit in this grand stage of the foreign, in this space alone, with the same possibility of staying– eyes shining–as I caressed the next layer of the onion. How to construct oneself again? How to insert oneself adequately? Survival is the ultimate test and experimentation is of the essence. The body, our body, is the only weapon at our disposal. It is the principal instrument avaliable to write our histories.

The idea of further observing this experience arises from notions of identity, citizenship, belonging: concepts that define, that mark... Selecting a small group of Canadian artists from different nationalities, TRANSMUTED seeks to (re) construct or (re) signify this state of being, where one simultaneously is and isn’t, where change is the name of the game, and difference is an everyday reality.

April, 2012

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Proposal for piece. Extracion & Insertion : Wisdom & Juicio Emilio Rojas in collaboration with David Khang, and others.

What is the difference between judgement and wisdom? The notion of judgment is central to any theory of human rationality and its theory bring together fundamental issues in semantics, philosophical psychology, logic, epistemology, and action theory, semiotics. On the other hand wisdom described by the Oxford dictionary wisdom as having the ability to perceive and adopt the best means for accomplishing an end; characterized by good sense and prudence.

My wisdom teeth came out in Vancouver, and for a year I’ve been waiting for the performance to happen, relating to the pain and the ideas of wisdom, judgment and guilt. Am I wiser or have I learned to judge, or being judged?

To compare wisdom, judgement and guilt (along a psycho-physiological axis), to migration, translation, and separation (along a politico-cultural axis). A performance that happens in two places. The place that I currently inhabit, Vancouver, Canada, and the place where my roots are from, Mexico City.

In Vancouver two of my wisdom teeth will be extracted, and at the same time a tattoo artists will tattoo the word wisdom, and the word judgement. At the same time an energy healer practitioner tries to alleviate the pain and heal my body. As Joseph Kosuth made “One and three chairs” this embodies the idea of concept and representation, form and semiotics. Going farther into translation to and meaning of the same object in two different locations. The video of the performance in Vancouver, a LIVE performance documented at VIVO, will be projected in Mexico City, in Ex-Teresa Arte Actual. There the performance will be repeated but instead the two words will be written in Spanish in my right foot. The body begins to be emptied by halves, until is again balanced after both performance are done. A metaphor of who I live, half here and half there, and maybe nowhere. Dismembered, my heart in Mexico, my head in Canada, my legs which always gravitate to walk to the South. To come back is to return to a past that no longer exists, where my souls diverges between borders, painfully splitting, while they both coinhabit my body. My two languages flirt with each other, talk to one another, Spanglish is the common gorund that they share. When you migrate you never forget where you came from, and when you not know where you are going, your roots are always the most stable.

There will be a LIVE recording projected behind the performance so that the viewer can see the performance up close. The video includes interviews with the dentist, the tattoo artist and the healer, on their definitions and conceptions of wisdom and judgement. As well as the previous extraction and insert of the tattoo shop and the dentistry office. By mixing them creating the illusion that it all comes from the same place.

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Photos of the location in Mexico

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Still from Video

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Installation for performance on Light Box of surgical and biological ephimera





Dentist. David Khang Tatto Artist. Dave Energy Healer. Angela Smiles

Stills of the interviews with collaborators.

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