Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Time to nock some of the dust off this blog... If you didn't notice/catch or care about Contemporary Native Art Magazine's 1st Issue, here is one of the two articles I did for it, in it's full with bad grammar and other rambles... Enjoy, or vomit. "POST COMMODITY" By Hoka $Kenandore Postcommodity at a glance looks like some kind of buzzword for yet another anti-art movement, but looks are completely deceiving because this is just the beginning of the end. Even though the 2012 end of the world predictions were a bust these guys would have headlined the show. This collective of artists was founded by Steven Yazzie, Kade L. Twist and Nathan Young. The most current incarnation involves the talents of Raven Chacon, Cristobal Martinez as well as Kade Twist and Nathan Young. These individuals on their own have been fantastic forces of change and insight in their respective fields of installation, music, and contemporary art, but when combined we have the Voltron effect perhaps a more fitting phrase would be E. pluribus unum. Each member brings their respective backgrounds together to create a whole that is blazing a path in contemporary art. One Raven Chacon is from my original neck of the woods, “Burque” (or Albuquerque for those who are not familiar with this term for the “505”), he is involved with the independent arts space Small Engine and plays in many bands, not to mention his work as a composer of noise and other assorted gems. Steven Yazzie is a multi-talented painter based in Arizona, he is one of the founding members and worked with P.C. from 2007 to 2010. Kade Twist is making interesting work that re-imagines traditional tribal stories in contemporary contexts such as consumerism, his work runs from film to installation and more. Nathan Young is another multi-talented artist who contributes his knowledge of noise to the efforts as well as Cristobal Martinez, who is a doctoral student at ASU and works with a number of collectives that “…express North American indigenous worldviews and their relationships to place, while also considering the impacts of colonization, imperialism, neo-liberalism, and globalization.” Together they make multi-media works that are very unique, as well as live performances. I was able to attend a performance by James Luna at the Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque a number of years ago and it was pretty funny, he even dissed on my bleached yellow hair. As a point of comparison my experience of seeing Postcommodity perform was quite different, night and day would suffice as good descriptions. Mr. Luna projects a sort of a modern day blues-shaman-storyteller-trickster vibe. Seeing Postcommodity was actually like seeing any number of DIY shows in Albuquerque, that is if you are used to seeing performances of alternative/post-punk/indie/noise bands that play and perform in the various locales of the Burque Metro, I was lucky enough to catch them at an alternative space downtown near the Zoo. Where Mr. Luna brought the laughs, the P.C. boys brought pure manic noise. That night’s line up was Kade Twist, Raven Chacon, and Nathan Young. Mr. Twist was blasting on an elk-call, while the other fellows were scraping deer antlers on some sort of amplified metallic plates. The atmosphere was awesome, the kind that pulls in the emaciated White hipsters with beards, and other assorted odd types. The room had a pretty good crowd and everyone sat and listened to what seemed like a solid half hour of avant-garde music. Afterward one of the guys commented that the local deer population was probably going nuts, and I could picture deer charging up the face of the Sandia Mountains at night in the dark. Afterward Kade handed me a copy of their “Postcommodity + Magor” recording. I took it home and listened to it and read the liner notes, and it became pretty clear to me that what these folks are up to is pretty groundbreaking in many ways.I have always felt the arts of Indigenous people have been a form of cultural resistance to the vast powers of colonialism and imperialist attitudes that expect art to conform to mostly western standards. James Luna has carved out an important area with his performances, his Artifact Piece is amazingly important, but where he has approached the institution from the inside out, Postcommodity has shown they can create within the museum context as well as completely outside and beyond, in this case the Repellent Eye is a great example. Back to the collaboration with Magor aka the late Ivan Martin Jirous, who in his own right is an example of art and artists fighting against the crushing tides of conformity. Postcommodity is a collective of artists that seeks to defy categorization not only of what they do, but also in what they create. This vision has been noticed by art junkies like me and also the Joan Mitchell Foundation which awarded them the 2010 Sculptors and Painters Grant, (this is not an anomaly, just look at their resume!). It seems Postcommodity has taken the two-worlds idea and blown it pieces, taken the chunks and distilled them through and Indigenous worldview filter, there is much that can be taken away from the seeing/hearing this work, but I promise it will leave you thinking. Look for more performances in the New Mexico area. If you get a chance drop in and see the “Spirit Abuse” project space in Santa Fe and for more information visit: www.postcommodity.com.