Daily Archives: September 10, 2014

building: a simulacrum of power

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On August 24th , 2014  Los Angeles artist Rafa Esparza, shared the stage for a dramatic sunset performance with  choreographer and dancer Rebeca Hernandez at Michael Parker’s: “The Unfinished” at the Bowtie Parcel. After working on the site with his family for several weeks, Rafa’s residency at the Bowtie Parcel was completed in this performance prompted by historical precedents of labor dynamics and power referenced in The Unfinished. With the assistance of his father, mother, four brothers and his sister, the family labored together making adobe bricks at the site for 3 weeks, working long hours in the hot sun. Using water from the LA River in an intensive process learned from his father, Rafa and family made over 1500 adobe bricks to completely cover the 137 foot long obelisk. This adobe brick making technique was mastered by the elder Esparza in his hometown of Ricardo Flores Magon in Durango, Mexico.

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Rebeca Hernandez and dancers performed along the obelisk in flannel shirts depicting workers struggle. Reflecting the setting sun with a mirror, Rafa cast light onto the dancers as they moved along the obelisk and the sun set on the Los Angeles River.

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Rafa’s exploration of labor continued during the performance as he pulled himself across the obelisk, often scraping his body in a visceral reference to the struggle of natives peoples.

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With the sun completely set and darkness falling, Rafa concluded his performance in a ceremonial fashion by burning sage and victoriously throwing the crowning adobe brick from the tip of the obelisk.

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Thank you to Rafa Esparza, Rebeca Hernandez, Michael Parker, Mackenzie Hoffman, Elizabeth Sonenberg, and Clockshop for bringing this memorable and moving performance to the Bowtie.

 

 

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