By Carolina Ponce de León
In Paradigms Lost, artists confront the shifting paradigms of the post 9/11 cultural wars with thought-provoking images, words, sounds, and humor that respond to the visual icons and ideas circulated by the media, political discourse, and current events.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in Washington and NYC, our interconnectedness with the rest of the world was no longer represented by the celebration of technology and cultural tourism, but by the uneven, uncertain, exercise of power.
War, the restriction of civil liberties, and the official rhetoric insisting on a clash of civilizations —“They hate our freedom”— was imposed through the binary logic of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’, “with us or with the terrorists,” American vs. un-American. Behind these words, isolationism, unilateralism, born-again patriotism, the culture of fear, and the criminalization of otherness—whether by ethnic-profiling or by the revival of anti-immigrant fervor—garnered acceptability. As a result, civil liberties, dissent, and the respect for cultural diversity as we knew it were blatantly erased. Paradise lost.
Paradigms Lost is, however, only a temporary site. Galería invited the artists to create works in digital formats —jpegs, Quicktime videos, and AIFF sound files— that can be easily reproduced and circulated both physically and virtually throughout the world. These files have been reproduced as postcards, stickers, flyers, and posters, as well as a DVD and a CD (forthcoming). Postcards will be mailed to addressees specified by the artists; stickers and posters will be distributed by the Galería and available through our website; and flyers and protest signs will disseminate far and wide through the public realm.
With Paradigms Lost we seek to assert the public role of artistic action while defying the national climate of unilateralism, fear and mistrust. Paradigms found.
Anne Balsamo, Los Bushwackers, Enrique Chagoya, The Chica-Iranian Project, Lawrence Colacion, Rocío Con Hong, Sandra de la Loza, Sergio De La Torre, Caleb Duarte, Verónica Duarte, René García, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, John Leaños, Los Matamoscas, San Francisco Print Collective, Taco Shop Poets, Claudia X. Valdez, Welfare Poets, and the Youth Public Media Design Group.