EUROPEAN BICYCLE BRANDS. MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAVEL.
“Homogenizing Torch of Liberty For ALL” from the Puerto Rican Day Parade "REMIX" Exhibit
All rights reserved Photomontage by DeLares (Eliud Martinez) Introduction: The attached photomontage jpg, “Homogenizing Torch of Liberty For ALL” ("Antorcha homogenizante de la estatua de la libertad") is the basis for an idea for a costume design. It's a bit “heavy” but full of meaning for me. If ethnic parades represent an aspect of culture as “performance”, one would think the Puerto Rican Day Parade (PRDP) should be an ideal vehicle for articulating its cultural symbols and icons while celebrating the political, emotional and spiritual meaning that these symbols bring forth in us. Given that the PRDP is arguably the most widely seen medium for representing our ethnic pride (our Puertoriquenidad) and nationalism, its current state of corporate co-option through sponsorship seriously compromises the very ideals and concerns of community empowerment which it should stand for. At this point, it costs somewhere in the order of $250,000.00 to participate with ONE float in this parade!!! The corporat-ization process that pays for this spectacle is one that sanitizes racially charged images of Puerto Ricans. It obscures and dismisses our need to be independent, creative and innovative. This placates us into believing that “we have finally arrived and now belong” while molding us along the path of least resistance as passive consumers of ideas, media and products. We are being homogenized into a mass culture that more often than not only pays lip service to diversity. The Anglo-European focus of American mainstream culture belies the fact that it actually owes much of its extraordinary global appeal to a distinctive vibrancy and flair derived from Native-American, Afro-American AND Latin American influences. The following ideas attempt to incorporate the language of social criticism while engaging our middle-class, poor and working class community members in a discourse of alternative possibilities through art. Proposal: I propose community-artist multimedia collaborations that help young people to rediscover and celebrate our Spanish, African and indigenous folkloric roots and traditions. As an alternative to flashy expensive corporate floats and that have come to dominate the PRDP, I would propose: (1) Putting together a series of community artist creations that deconstruct our culturally homogenizing corporat-ization by (a )creating “little floats” (using baby carriages, shopping carts, bicycles, wheelchairs, etc.) that, (b) for example, rather than relying on entertainment and political celebrities, showcasing local heroes and models of individual/community success. (c) “Speaking to power” on 5th Avenue by underlining the plight of impoverished senior citizens, inadequate healthcare, homeland security from police terror and brutality, lack of jobs and adequate education and housing. (2) Performance art productions (using actors/mimes) that deconstruct so-called American “freedom of choice” and make explicit how we allow ourselves to be “branded” by commercial interests in order to feel “good-enough” about ourselves by consuming expensive brands and labels that diminish our uniqueness and our PR cultural identity. (3) Where an actual “alternative PRDP Remix” to develop from collaborations based on the content and ideas of this exhibit, I would look forward to documenting it in writing and photography.Indonesia, Sulawesi Selatan, Kabupaten Maros, Mandai
In some Asian countries you can find the heavy Toyota truck. Where I come from (The Olde Europe) Japanese brands may have conquered the market for light vehicles but the heavy truck segment is still firmly in the hands of European makers. The heaviest Toyota you'll ever see there looks like an oversized jeep but is actually a kind of sitting room on wheels that the rich wives need to do their shopping in the city. That was on the last mile of my South Sulawesi tour in June 2011, on the road from Maros to Makassar near Makassar airport, my start and destination.
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