Performance art: Género sexual, género artístico, nacionalismo (14-16 de noviembre)

Esta semana hemos discutido el Performance Art, y cómo en las piezas que instala Carmelita Tropicana aparecen representados temas y mensajes de género sexual (el cuerpo, lo femenino/masculino, la sexualidad), el género artístico (teatro, cine, literatura, imagen) y el nacionalismo (Cuba, Estados Unidos, España).

Para su blogpost the esta semana, por favor comente cómo usted lee UNO de estos temas/mensajes en Milk and Beyond, la pieza de Performance Art que Carmelita Tropicana instaló en Canon Chapel en Emory University el 6 de diciembre de 2001, pieza en la que combinó Milk of Amnesia / Leche de Amnesia con The Conquest of Mexico as Seen through the Eyes of Hernán Cortés’s Horse y Tale/Tail of Two Cities.

Este es el último blogpost del semestre.  Kudos a todos aquellos de ustedes que han contribuído generosa y deliciosamente a este portal de Scholarblogs.  Pueden estar orgullosos de sus sesudas y lúcidas contribuciones.  Por favor, cuelguen su blogpost en o antes del sábado 18 de noviembre de 2017 a las 5pm.

14 Replies to “Performance art: Género sexual, género artístico, nacionalismo (14-16 de noviembre)”

  1. En Carmelita Tropicana’s Milk and Beyond, Alina Troyano subvierte convenciones del género sexual por sus transformaciones entre personajes de diferentes géneros, y aún diferentes especies. Mientras el cuerpo de la mujer ha percibido tradicionalmente como el objeto de deseo sexual, Troyano emplea su cuerpo para representar imágenes masculinos y bestiales, probando que el cuerpo femenino es una herramienta poderoso, no solo una cosa que existe a ser adorada y, muchas veces, escudriñado por su belleza.
    También oímos su voz antes de vimos su cuerpo, enfatizando como su vida y energía internal es la corazón de la instalación, y su cuerpo es solo una vasija (asumida, una vasija muy importante y poderosa) para expresar esta vida interna en una manera física. Este mensaje es revolucionario en una sociedad que frecuentemente define individuos por sus cuerpos antes que nada. La primera declaración luego del parto de un bebé es el sexo, una práctica que no es necesariamente malo pero ciertamente busca a definir individuos por sus órganos reproductivos y las características de su cuerpo desde sus primeros momentos de su vida. Ella rechaza a esta concepción del cuerpo en usando su cuerpo como vestuario, dejando a ella a transformar entre mujer (sí misma), hombre (José), otra mujer (Consuelo), caballo, y cucaracha.
    En mi opinión, mientras su cuerpo es el elemento más importante de su performance, ella desafía el uso convencional y práctica del cuerpo y, en usando su cuerpo a transformar su personaje, llama atención fuera de las puntas de interés tradicional del cuerpo femenino. Sus subversiones del género no son confinados al cuerpo, sin embargo. En sus instalaciones, ella juega todas las papeles, y lleva todo la performance por sí solo. Ella es siempre en el foco, llamando la atención a sí misma en una manera que es frecuentemente considerado egoísta para una mujer, que, en los ojos de la sociedad, debe ser dócil y pasiva. Troyano es frecuentemente ruidosa, cómica, atrevida, y otras cosas que tradicionalmente han reservados para los hombres. A mi encanta a ella por su negativa a suavizar or moderar a sí misma o, por extensión, su arte. En Milk of America, ella escribe, por la perspectiva de Pingalito, “So I ask you people, what is Carmelita above all? Eh? Above all she is an artist.” (pg. 55). En su performance, ella proba que esto es definitivamente el caso.

  2. I would like to focus on the genero — genre and gender– of sexuality; more specifically, “el cuerpo”. What is the body? It is flesh? Ones organs? If someone embodies the sexual organs of both sexes are they one body or two? If they contain neither, are they less of a body? If a female lives life as a male, are they two bodies? One body with a different internal spirit?

    I believe that through the performance of Milk and Beyond, Carmelita Tropicana uses the medium of performance to transcend our biological and sociological definition of the body. Her body serves as both the vessel for her words and thoughts as well as a prop and costume (as shown when she contorts her body to morph into a cockroach.) By changing the pitch, speed, and tone of her voice, taking on different mannerisms, wearing different accessories, and switching her posture, Carmelita moves past her body as Carmelita Tropicana to be herself, Elian, a cockroach, a horse, a narrative voice. She, as a performer and character, is not limited by the boundaries of time, gender, and even species. Performance arts allows her to become what she wants to be.

  3. One of the most often used canvas for performance art is the body. Performance artists use the body to morph into different genders, animals, objects, and ideas to communicate both the art and the message of their installation. In the installation of Milk and Beyond, Alina Troyano portrays the theme of sexual and gender fluidity. She is one woman with one body that harbors and presents the personality and characteristics of more than one gender and being. The fluidity of the body is molded from Carmelita Tropicana to a horse, to Elian, and to a roach (La Cucarachita Martina). This is part of the movement against the social construct of sexuality and gender norms which represents the rebellious and meaningful aspects of performance art. Her use of different voices and changing of costumes while on stage and in front of a live audience demonstrates the interactiveness of performance art and how it engages and includes the audience rather than separates them with the fourth wall that is a common feature of theater. Troyano combats these gender norms through the fluidity of her body and the roles she takes in her performance.

  4. I mainly saw the theme of nacionalismo in Milk and Beyond. In my Spanish class last year we learned about relations between the United States and Cuba; I read many articles about Elián Gonzalez and watched the clips that were featured in Carmelita Tropicana’s installation. It was really interesting for me to see his story interpreted by her in a new way. She represented him as little boy more than any news channels did. I think she’s trying to get at the fact that relations between countries affect real people like Elián. He was just a little boy and he was fought over by two countries. This made him hyper-idealized by the news channels as he was the personification of race relations at the time, and I think people stopped thinking about him as just a regular little boy. Carmelita Tropicana brings this part of him back in her installation. She uses cucarachita martina to do this. She makes the fictional character friends with Elian to really illuminate his youngness and bring a more humane tone to such a strained relationship between Cuba and the United States.

  5. In Carmelita Tropicana’s installation of Milk and Beyond in Canon Chapel, she represents themes and messages of sexual gender through her fluid use of the body. Through the use of her own body as a transforming prop, Carmelita Tropicana forces the viewers to question typical societal views of a gender binary and the body as simply a body that cannot be transformed. For example, through the use of different props an the formation of her arms and legs, she morphs from a female body into a cockroach. She completely takes on the personality of this cockroach and changes all aspects of persona to fit this characterization (such as her voices, her body formation and her body language). Furthermore, throughout the installation she becomes Elian and a horse. All of these transformations of her body force us to question our innate precept of the idea of sexual gender and forces us to think outside the social constructs into a more fluid notion of the idea.

  6. Soy boricua. Me encanta ser alborotosa, cariñosa y sincera (aunque duela lo que valla a decir). Estoy enamorada de mi bandera, de mi tierra y de la comida sazonada con goya y un sinfín de condimentos. Me encanta menear mi cuerpo al son de la salsa, la bachata, el merengue, la bomba y la plena. Amo ser Afrolatina.
    Usando este amor y aprecio por mi patria, la gran Carmelita Tropicana, en su instalación de Milk and Beyond, integró este sentimiento de nacionalismo cubano siendo cubana. La Dra. Carrión compartió que Carmelita Tropicana compuso Milk and Beyond con pedazos de Leche de amnesia/Milk of Amnesia y “The Conquest of Mexico” con “A Tale of 2 Stories.” Por medio del Performance Art, Carmelita Tropicana exploró ese nacionalismo con su vestuario, su lenguaje, su movimiento corporal. En “The Conquest of Mexico,” Carmelita Tropicana usa una blusa que cuando le alumbra el foco, el reflejo de las lentejuelas en su blusa creó las estrellas que la mamá del caballo Arriero le hablaba. El lenguaje de Carmelita Tropicana se transformó a reflejar el relinche de caballo. Su cuerpo también cambio de Carmelita Tropicana a Arriero. Uno de los aspectos del Performance Art que lo hace más especial es la habilidad de la performera. Ella cambia de ropa al frente del público, rompe la tradición de que para actuar, no puedes salir del personaje. Ella cambia de Cucaracha Martina a Carmelita de un segundo a otro. Carmelita logra incorporar en su instalación su latinidad. Cuando dice palabras en español, cuando usa su cuerpo como lo haría en su país natal. Aunque estuviese viviendo su amnesia, su lengua recuerda su acento Cubano.

  7. El trabajo de Carmelita Tropicana tiene muchas preguntas sobre la identidad, especialmente la identidad nacional (o una identidad cultural). En Milk and Beyond, Carmelita mostro un clip de video sobre inmigración. El video contenía la historia de Elian Gonzales, un niño cubano, y la historia de dos niños de Haití. ¿Que hace que esta gente sea declinada? Carmelita, humaniza a Elian y nos recuerda como él es solo un niño. Carmelita también humaniza a el caballo de Cortez, esta humanización presenta una perspectiva completamente diferente, que nos muestra una versión horrorosa del nacionalismo. “No mother, not stars”. Mostrando el pasado violento y destructivo. En la parte de leche de amnesia, le dicen a Carmelita que ella es cubana y le dicen lo que significa ser cubana. El olvidar, es simbólico. Ella, en verdad, no ha olvidado. La amnesia es una confusión al determinismo nacional impuesto sobre ella. Productos Goya no deciden lo que la latinidad es, y viajar a cuba no te va a decir lo que ser cubana significa. No, la nacionalidad es una construcción que la individua tiene que entrar en relación con en sus propios términos. Deconstruction, deconstruction, deconstruction. Eso es lo que Carmelita Tropicana está haciendo con el tema de la nacionalidad. Ella hace referencias que son tras nacionales al punto que la nacionalidad tiene poco significado, un significado nuevo fuera de limites ortodoxos. Carmelita se dirige al nacionalismo desde el punto de vista experiencial de diferentes personas que existen en un intermedio de fronteras. Un intermedio de mar abierto.

  8. The most interesting aspect of Performance Art is the use of the body as the fluid medium of expression which builds upon the death of theater. Carmelita Tropicana’s conveyed the theme of nationality and sexuality in her installation of Milk and Beyond using very interesting features. Carmelita transforms into a cockroach and takes on its characteristics. Her expressive hand motions along with the light shifts that transition into conscious and unconscious memory make her different personas come to life. Carmelita Tropicana swiftly ties together various ideas by transitioning out of “milk of amnesia” and ‘the conquest of mexico” into the “tale of two two cities.” She also uses this concept of losing her memory and being in Havana. This makes the theme of nationality more palpable. The role of la Cucarachita Martina emphasized the tension between the United States versus Cuba. This sheds light on the fact of the controversial nature of international conflicts as individuals forget that the child is a little boy,

  9. One of the strongest ideas this performance sparked in me was that of the significance memories hold to us, and how we recall them. Carmelita Tropicana glorifies the power of memories, how the memory is so subjective, and how this subjectivity has a great influence on our perception of events. Though different examples of the use of memory and what it means are present throughout the performance, the two that I felt really integrated this genre of memories. The first, is the portrayal of the memory of Elián González. To history, and to most of the world, Elian is represented as nothing more than a political pawn. He is a representation of the Cuban Adjustment Act, and what it meant for Cubans and other immigrants. But this is not the side of his life Carmelita choses to remember his case by. She ensures that through her performance, she portrays him first and foremost as a child. A boy, who plays with his friend, an imaginary character created for children. She even makes sure to include a news excerpt from when he was a child, that remembers him as just a political figure. She makes remembering him as the child he was during all that drama all the more special. She demonstrates how memory is very individual, we see two different sides to just one young boy.
    The second powerful example is that of the memories we hold of Hernán Cortés. ‘Conquistador’, a powerful man who conquered the western world is many people’s first thought when they think of Cortés. But this is not the aspect of this man, and this conquest she wishes to portray. Instead of the big strong man, Carmelita Tropicana decides that the most important character in this story, the one entitled to narrate it is instead the horse who’s back Cortés rides upon. We never even stop to think of this point of view during the remembering of this particular story. Instead of telling the story of the conquest of the natives, of finding a land and seizing it, or of the glory for Spain Cortés captured, the most important thing to remember from this story is the way the horse is feeling, how he is lost in his own bubble, talking to his mama in the nighttime. It is so significant that Carmelita chooses this angle to narrate from, it shows how different the memory of a certain event may be when it is told from the point of view of a different individual. The horse has a recollection of these events as well, it is just the main focus of what is really important that changes.

  10. Carmelita Tropicana’s installation of performance art contained many intriguing themes such as nationalism and sexuality, but one of the most memorable motifs was how children are portrayed in cinema and the public. There are numerous references to children, both directly and indirectly. During her installation, Carmelita represents a child when she experiences amnesia. She then references the Menendez brother of Cuban descent, who became famous for the assassination of their own parents when they were adolescents. Another significant reference to children is when Carmelita acts out the scene of Hernán Cortes as a child. Perhaps the most central discussion of children in her installation is when she shows the film of Elián González. The controversy surrounding Elián encapsulates the overarching message of why Carmelita refers to children so often in her installation: she wants to emphasize how the complications and dangers of the controversy surrounding nationalism and politics have an impact of the innocence of children. Children in Carmelita’s installation are portrayed as pawns who are manipulated according to the rules of political figures and authorities. However, Carmelita seems to want to re-portray these children as a human being and uncover their feelings toward being manipulated.

  11. In Carmelita Tropicana’s installation of Milk and Beyond, she demonstrated key differences between performance art and the artistic genre of theater.
    One of the main elements of theater that Carmelita defied was the method of costume changing. In theater, the audience is never to see the artists change clothes. Carmelita, however, does the exact opposite, changing from her shiny red shirt and black capris into a white coat and antennas right in front of the audience as she transitioned into the Tale/Tail of Two Cites segment. In doing this, Carmelita defined performance art by allowing the audience to view the transformation through challenging the norms of theater.
    Additionally, Carmelita also addressed another distinction between performance art and theater through her treatment of the fourth wall. Throughout her performance art installation, she repeatedly broke the fourth wall by engaging the audience in conversation. For instance, at one point, she asked some members of the audience if they could speak Spanish before proceeding to speak the language exceedingly fast. This direct interaction with the spectators also shows how Milk and Beyond, in addition to performance art as a whole, differs from theater.
    Through her handling of costuming and the fourth wall, Carmelita Tropicana addresses the artistic genre of theater by rebelling against several of its norms. This rebellion is also what makes her performance art performance art, thus allowing her audience to deeply consider what kind of experience both types of artistic genres can give.

  12. One of the most prevalent themes in Carmelita Tropicana’s installation of Milk and Beyond is the combination of the importance of children and the point of view of life from an animal’s perspective. Carmelita starts off her performance art piece by taking on a very particular perspective in the story of Hernán Cortes, that of his horse. She installs his feelings during the initial conquests in the New World and then narrates a conversation that the horse is having with his mother during the night. Carmelita chose to take this perspective about this topic because it represents a side of the story that is rarely ever heard. She is bringing to light an important component of Cortes without retelling his story exactly. She also chooses for the horse to have a conversation with his mother to represent the idea that every living thing in the world has a mother and a family, and that children, again rarely heard from, have a very interesting perspective on important events that need be heard. Tropicana also represents these two ideas through the life of Elián González. She introduces Elián’s life and then takes on the life of a cockroach, Cucarachita Martina, who has a conversation with Elián. Elián is an important figure in the history of the relationship between the US and Cuba. That being said, Elián was usually represented as a pawn, never a real boy. Similarly, the cockroach is usually seen as a symbol of poverty, not as a character from children’s literature in the Caribbean. Carmelita tries to change the way that Elián and the cockroach are seen in our everyday lives. Their conversation is meant to make both of them seem as though they are real humans (or at least characters) so that it is easier for people to relate to them. Carmelita wants to show that Elián is not some pinnacle in the relations between the US and Cuba, nor that he is the source of conflict between the Cubans and the Haitians, but rather that he is a boy who lost his mother who wants to get away from poverty in Cuba.

  13. I would like to discuss genero sexual in Carmelita Tropicana’s installation of Milk and Beyond. In her installation, Carmelita Tropicana defies the female stereotype in society. She transforms between genders and voices. She is bold and empowering. Carmelita Tropicana changes costumes in front of the audience. She does not hide her change of character from the audience. I believe this is representative of the overall message she is trying to convey in terms of genero sexual. She goes against the stereotype that females are supposed to be submissive. Rather, she exemplifies that females can be who they want without worrying about stereotypes.

  14. In Carmelita Tropicana’s Milk and Beyond, Alina Troyano has multiple messages relevant to ‘género sexual’ and ‘género artístico’; however, the message about nationalism stood out the most to me. Even without the installation of Milk and Beyond. She starts with a piece of Milk and Amnesia which is where she is in an accident and gets amnesia. Due to her loss of memory, she decides to go back to Cuba, however, this moment is symbolic because, she cannot remember, but symbolically she has to go back to Cuba to remember what it means to be Cuban. She reminds herself of the hardship that comes with being Cuban and living in Cuba when she discusses the special period of 1993 where there was no gasoline and barely any food. Here she allows the audience to sympathize with her for leaving Cuba because, although she was just a child, she had to leave Cuba for a better life, yet she refuses to lose the love she has for her country thus demonstrating her pride in her national identity. She further develops the idea of national identity when she shows the NBC video with Kerry Sanders in Miami. The video demonstrates the controversy that there is with Elian Gonzalez, a Cuban child, being allowed to stay in the U.S after he landed on American soil, and although his legal guardian, his mother, was dead, he was allowed to stay with relatives. With that, there was a controversy since his father was back in Cuba; ultimately, Elian became a token of politics. When she embodies Elian Gonzalez and shows him talking to ‘La Cucarachita Martina’, she humanizes him. She also demonstrates that he is not responsible for the issues there are with refugees from other countries coming and not being able to stay.
    On the other hand, she demonstrates the horror that there is in nationalism which is relevant to her piece of “Conquest of Mexico”. With her embodiment of the horse, she tells the story of Arreiro. A horse, that was still young, that suffered through the pain that Hernan Cortes inflicted on the native people. A key part of her installation is with her shirt reflecting light looking like starts but her shirt was red also symbolizing the blood of the native people. Arriero says, no mother, not the stars. In this moment, it refers to rather than counting the stars in the new world, he is counting the dead bodies.
    With her two performances of her pieces, Troyano demonstrates the struggle with one’s national identity because although there are reasons one should love their country, there are reasons they shouldn’t which explains the difficulty that most immigrants face. Although they know how much suffering their country has given them, there is also love for it because that is where they came from and grew up with.

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