locations: tijuana, tecate, mexico city & la
One Minute Show Tour
Symposium Day One:
Press release April 2021
Download PDF: press-release-dear-aliens-pastor-projects
Download PDF: concept_dear_aliens
Concept: Dear Aliens. We are ready…
With the exhibition title we have formulated a humble, slightly absurd and paradoxical “request.”
In the current atmosphere of crisis, we suggest that there is a living subjectivity, forms of life and nature that due to a heightened distrust in human affairs, have mobilised or acquired a capacity to communicate and beamed a rescue signal to outer space in the hope that aliens can come to Earth and fix things.
It is a playful subversion of the “self”, which in 20th Century of the Self” has been artificially manufactured to function within capitalist society as a machine, seeking to fill a perceived gap with objects, distinguishing lifestyles, or with identity through perceived contrasts between classes or different groups of peoples.
At this juncture in time a mix of paradoxical investigation, disciplined surrealism and strictly formal devices is called for in order to offer a catalogue of possible practices, which might lead the way out of the confines of the “self”. It is a laboratory that foremost insists on dispensing with the band aids currently offered to the pandemic, isolated selves in the shape of the digital. Thus, the subversion does not only consist in the posing of paradoxical questions, but is also subversion of the digital by insisting on the spatial, physical movement and physicality as mandatory modalities for a human free society. The digital is merely a tool and not a vision for the human communities of the future. If the digital is allowed to take over all aspects of human interaction, the paradigm of the “self” will continue to dominate and render the world and its humans atomised, estranged, calculable, more predictable and so eminently controllable by power. The digital is a dangerous mirror that flatters and distracts the self, and so we believe that the simple act of putting on an international, physical art show, engendering real, authentic meetings is a disruptive act in and of itself.
We feel that now is the time for paradoxical questioning and actions. “Dear Aliens, Please Rescue Us from the Humans” is a poetic paradoxical entreaty by all living and inanimate beings, addressed to the void of space, spoken by an unknown subject whose context is the global.
The Zen Koan
We see this this in the tradition of a Zen “koan”, which poses questions, or riddles that are mystifying and unanswerable, and so won’t let the mind settle on any one answer. One of the best known zen koans is “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” another example is “Without thinking of good or evil, show me your original face before your mother and father were born?”
The Zen koan practice started in Japan in the 13th Century to train the mind of warrior Samurais to prepare them for invasion from Mongolia. The questions were to provoke the “great doubt” and to practice or test a student’s progress in Zen. The tradition of paradoxical questioning readies the mind to face the unknown, it makes the mind nimble and trains it to survive in conditions of great uncertainty.
Our present spiritual “moment” seems congenial to the practice of contemporary art. One way to see the practice of contemporary artists is precisely to see them as “zen warriors” – as they themselves operates as agents in a highly uncertain field while often proposing paradoxical questions and answer. Artworks often takes shapes as unanswerable, funny or engaging mysteries. In this manner, the choice of Tecate as the location for the exhibition makes sense as we consider Tecate to a kind of spiritual adjunct and a portal to the hard, fluid, industrious locality of Tijuana – the frontier of current post-industrial, globally outsourced production. And so, we do not shy away from mixing the reality of the maquila with the ancient spirits of Tecate’s holy mountain, Cuchumá.
We believe that now is the time more than ever to push ahead and make art exhibitions of great quality and not sit back and wait until some sort of “normalcy” has returned. Now is the time that we have an opportunity to do great things and insist that art has a big role to play in our future.