> Digital Mural Project
The Digital Mural Project is a series of 10'x24' computer-generated murals displayed at the Galeria de la Raza in San Francisco between 1998 and 2001. On the corner of 24th and Bryant streets, the site stands as a reclaimed advertising space that has been the host of temporary murals done by Latina/o artists since 1973. John Jota Leaños curated and was a participating artist in the digital mural series that presented artwork of themes ranging from gentrification to critiques of technological mythologies.
With the emergence of digital technology, Xicano muralism has begun to fuse with photographic and advertising aesthetics. This transformation of the medium, however, is kept within a rich mural tradition of cultural resistance.
The Digital Mural, "Los restos coloniales se manifiestan en el olvido," deals with the new ways in which colonialism manifests itself through the control of language (i.e. anti-bilingual education legislation in California), space (architecture and urban planning) and image (the photographic objectification of the body). These strategies serve to promote historical amnesia and tend cover up the complexities of the social fabric. The image of the "Oppositional Panel" depicts a female aborigine, as the subject of the colonial photometric system, juxtaposed against an image of a corporate woman, as part of the capitalist power structure. This juxtaposition brings to the forefront a series of questions regarding various issues including the subjugation of the female image via the photograph and power, control and complicity in image making.
Ese, the Last Mexican in the Mission
(2000) was a performance and public art project about the
cultural whitewashing of the Mission District of San Francisco.
The work parodied the early 20th century Californian story
of Ishi, the last of the Yahi tribe.
Los Cybrids: La Raza Techno-Crítica
are three artists exploring cultural and somatic mutations
caused by the implosion of advanced information technology.
Amid the tensions of the fast-paced mythologies of the Information
Age, Los Cybrids have emerged to challenge notions that purport
a friction-free market, a one-world community and global access
at our fingertips. Los Cybrids employ performance, burla,
and high-tech art to undermine the uncritical, passive acceptance
of the overarching social, cultural and environmental consequences
of Information Technologies.
A “Cybrid” is a Latino digi-tech
artist from an ethnic demographic disproportionately under-represented
in the cyberworld. We function as a collaborative artistic
group that performatively counters the hyperbolic discourse
around “cyberspace.” As a junta, we instigate
a critical dialogue around access and desire in cyber-culture,
considering multiple issues of economic equality, cultural
transformation, social reorganization, educational imperatives,
and environmental impact.
Mission Y2k Project
Curated Murals at the
Galería de la Raza
From 1999 to 2002, John Jota Leaños curated a series of digital murals with the work of Latino new media artists from around the United States. The following murals, in no particular order, were part of the series.
Robert Karimi and Conchita Villalba