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Descending into Deep Trash Escoria is being confronted by the deformed corpsof the Spanish Empire but also by multiple reformulationof latin identities. Spanish, mestizo and latin populations have often been deprived of speech and self-definition. Politically through military and economic domination but also discursively through the eyes of other artists and creators. For instance, the Anglo-Saxon world has depicted Spaniards as savage cannibals who devoured the American tourist in Suddenly Last Summer (1959)[1]or as brave animal-slaughtering machos in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises(1926)[2]. Deep Trash Escoria deploys a queer and gender lens to analyse, resist and reformulate these normative impositions.

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Image courtesy Deep Trash and the artist

In Pain de Spain, Abel Báguena reflects on the epic pasts that have recently resurged through popular expressions of nationalism. In this performance, flamenco-operistic singing is accompanied by the projection of Spanish flags in balconies across Spain. Abel uses their trans body to detach these nationalist symbols from their original meaning and resignify them. As they point out, “In this piece, I play with the deformed flag, also the obscure love song is a manner of playing with something recognisable and redefine it”. The current Spanish political climate, defined by Catalonian independenceemerges through Abel’s work. Abel builds up an alienating atmosphere reaching an ecstatiend where the blindfolded artist covered in the Spanish flag macabrely incarnates this identity.

Reinterpreting a mythical and heroic past is also a theme in Rurru Mipanochias practice. Through animated drawings, Mipanochia formulates an alternative queer pantheon conflating sex with Mesoamerican art. Vaginas, anuses and penises are recast together with Xolotl and Tlaltecuhtli, two pre-Colombian deities, to create impure queer goddesses. These two elements, traditionally repressed by the church and the colonial government, appear here combined to produce an alternative heroic tale. Tracing queerness to a mythical past, erased by the Spanish Empire, becomes a vehicle to claim deviant sexualities.

Queerness and the different layers embedded in human sexuality were central to the evening. Deviantsexual behaviour has historically been excluded from public spheres and lived in semi-public places. While heterosexual identity is ubiquitous, sexual dissidents have had to create their own spaces. Cuervo’s photographies depict the realities of queer artivism which fights for antinormative individuals over Barcelonas façade of openness and tolerance. Similarly, the work of Nataly Prada lays closer to social science and deals with Bogota’s kuirspaces. Through photography, Ethnography of a prosthesis follows the intimate bodily transformations of Madorilyn Crowford. Everyday objects and spaces create an intimate atmosphere of affection and sincere care.

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Ethnography of a prothesis, Nataly Prada. Photography by Orlando Myxx

In this case, resistance is not a grand political gesture, but an everyday act. The nude and exposed body is the basic unit whence Tizo All departs. He uses his body to question the shared understanding of nature in dialogue with the audience. In his own words, I can smell the people in a room. I do a performance for the circumstance”. Throughout the performance, Tizo All interpellates the audience directly. The symbolic weapons that the artist conjures are used to reflect on forms of collective violence, “a social change from oneself”. The provocation here resides in returning the violent gaze to the public.

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TerrorismoTeatralMigrante. By Thomas Hensher

Repeatedly, Escoria, scum, refers as much to the artist as to the spectator. Hybridisation is found not only among the audience, but also in the tones of the different showcased pieces. Solemn performances were followed by the pop kitsch spins of Lady Olé and kuir reggeatoneo of Maricumbia. The relevance of throwing these divergent artists and works together resides precisely in the resulting dialogue.

Instead of normative formulations of identity, Escoria builds on individual and spatial contingencies to subvert. In the case of Manuel Antonio Velandia Morait was his absence, due to visa requirements, that reminded us about the many borders that control our bodies. At Deep Trash Escoria, this critique flows parallel to a feminist denunciation of violence against women. Transgression to Article 265 by Issa Téllez and Ribbon by Thatiana Cardoso both focus on rape to critically reflect on female submission.

Through explicit sexuality, TerrorismoTeatralMigrante (TTM) deals with all the crudeness that authoritarian Western capitalism impinges upon disenfranchised populations. This intimate and daring work allows this group of artists to reflect on the social and political definitions of violence, alienation and otherness. TTM’s work, self-defined as pornoterrorism, exposes the violent nature of contemporary form of exploitation. In their practice, there is a recurrent overlap of gender-based and colonial acts of violence. Similarities between gender and colonial forms of domination come together in a violent form of sexual encounter between the bodies of the performers. TTM also aims to expose the violent nature of all kinds of domination in Fuck the Fascism. This collectively created video humiliates the fascist monuments that preside over public spaces all over the world.

Deep Trash Escoria proposes to decolonise bodies, practices and identities through the assertion of divergent and anti-normative forms of being. The subaltern and oppressed critically address hegemonic gender and national identities. Thexpressionof those who have been invisibilised and negated take divergent forms. They may parodically reduce the colonial power to a macabre shadow, or they may display murderous violence on their body. However, there is a shared effort to return the gaze to the forms of discrimination and to resist them.

Alex Fernandez


Notes

[1]In this film, Tenesse Williams explores mental health and gender through the eyes of a grieving mother (Katharine Hepburn) who lost his son while he was perambulating Spain in a sex-tourism adventure with his cousin (Elizabeth Taylor).

[2]In the Sun Also Rises (1926) Hemingway depicts Romero, the Spanish bull-fighter, as the only pure form of masculinity, the main hope of men to redeem themselves from the emasculating experiences of WWI.

 

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