On the last evening, the bottles were illuminated and given away. By 9pm, they were all gone. (Photos by C-M.)
In what has to be one of the intense-surreal art experiences I’ve ever had, Celso wrapped up the La Luz installations at Qorikancha in Cuzco this past Wednesday by giving away all of the soda to the public. It started slowly. A couple of folks took bottles. Others approached tentatively. Within half an hour, word had spread on the street that soda was being given away Qorikancha. Police, old ladies, young boys — all showed up and took home a piece of La Luz. Some told us they’d serve the soda at a celebration for Santa Rosa de Lima, a Peruvian saint whose saint day was the next day. It’s almost as if people felt compelled to give us an explanation for why they were taking a bottle. In less than an hour, every last bit of the installation was gone.
Find pix of the last three days of installations below. And thanks again to curator Vera Tyuleneva, the awesome Willy and everyone at Qorikancha for such an unforgettable experience. I’ll be mulling this over for years.
A couple of days ago, a single ray of light from a clerestory window at Qorikancha illuminated a single stack of bottles from Celso‘s La Luz installation (at left), in Cuzco, Peru. Final night is tonight. Please come by at 7pm and take home a piece of the work. (Photo by C-M; click on the image to see it large.)
Old and new: the Inca walls that surround Qorikancha were once edged in gold. Here they are topped with golden soda. Seen here: La Luz 08.19, by Celso. (Photos by C-M.)
For the last four days,Celso has been building a series of architectural interventions around the Museo Qorikancha y Convento de Santo Domingo in Cusco, Peru. The museum houses two important structures: the remains of one of the most important temples in the entire Inca empire and a working Dominican monastery that dates back to the 16th century – and which was built on top of and around the original pre-Columbian structure. In honor of the gold that once covered the interior walls of this important Inca shrine, Celso has been creating a series of installations out of golden Peruvian soda titled La Luz. These installations will move around various locations in the museum until the end of the month.
On August 29th, at 7pm,the museum will host a free event in which the public will be invited to take a piece of La Luz home with them. If you are in Cusco, please consider yourself invited!
In the meantime, check out our photo diary of the work-in-progress below. Find more on Celso’s blog.
And a little Spanish borrowed from the museum’s publicity materials:
La Luz es una instalación artística hecha por el artista mexicano-norteamericano Celso, con la curaduría de Vera Tyuleneva. Está compuesta de una serie de estructuras de pequeña escala, diseñadas específicamente para este contexto arquitectónico, elaboradas de botellas de gaseosas peruana. Empleando la luz y el color dorado de esa bebida, el artista rinde homenaje a la luz resplandeciente que emanaba antaño de los legendarios adornos de oro en el temple del Qorikancha. La instalación será movida entre diferentes ubicaciones dentro del museo del 16 al 29 de Agosto.
A las 7pm el 29 de Agosto 2012 – el ultimo día de la muestra – los elementos primarios de la instalación (botellas selladas de gaseosa de 2 litros) serán repartidas gratuitamente al public. Todos están invitados. Entrada libre.
En el intertanto, podrán ver en las siguentes fotos como las primeras instalaciones se han llevado a cabo. La obra no hace uso de materias de construcción y no altera ni daña de modo alguno el patrimonio arquitectónico y arqueológico.
Today, my partner-in-crime,El Celso, will begin producing a series of architectural installations around the site of Qorikancha and the Convento de Santo Domingo Museum, in Cusco, Peru. Through the end of August, he will create various site-specific arrangements — using bright yellow Peruvian soda — to pay tribute to the gold that once covered the walls of what was once the Inca Empire’s most important temple. On August 29th, there will be a closing party at 7pm, in which the public will be invited to come and take a piece of La Luz (The Light) home with them. If for some reason you find yourself in Cusco, please come!
For regular readers of the blog, you’ll know this started off as a Kickstarter project back in April. And, now, here we are in Cusco — studying ancient ruins, poking around the corners of an important monastery and just generally soaking up the history of the place. This is really a dream-come-true (even if my every bone is aching from hauling around 1,300 pounds of soda at 11,000 feet above sea level). And the folks at the museum and the people of Cusco in general, have been all kinds of awesome.
Thanks to everyone who has supported us in this project. For those who contributed to the Kickstarter, you are all officially thanked right here. (Though I’d like to thank you again!) I’ll be posting occasional updates. For all the latest, check out Celso’s blog.
Plus: Get all my latest New York picks on Gallerina…
Bushwick Open Studios That’s right! It’s open studio time! Put on your walking shoes and pack a Gatorade, ‘cuz this shit is going to be a chicken run of more than 500 participating spaces — including our own. I am in absolutely no position to tell you what’s good and what isn’t because my head has been elsewhere. For pointers on what to see, check out Art Fag City (with map), Hyperallergic (muchas gracias for the plug!) and ArtInfo — the latter of which contains a picture of Skewville’s Art Park and Celso’s Chicha Disco.
But if you happen to be cruising through the northern edges of the neighborhood, please pop in to visit our space. Celso will be showing a schematic for the La Luz project in Cuzco Peru (see above), which is now fully funded! Thank you thank you thank you to all who contributed and pimped it and gave us moral support. It has meant a great deal!
Deets are as follows: Celso Open Studio
Saturday, June 2, noon-6pm
Sunday, June 3, noon-5pm
410 Stanhope St, bottom buzzer
L to DeKalb
We’re conveniently situated just a coupla blocks away from Valentine. Find us on the map here. We’ll be chillin’.
Information Doesn’t Necessarily Want to be Free. Or so argues Robert Levine in his new book Free Ride, a treatise on cultural parasitism — on how technology companies have used cultural content they don’t produce to make money. I’m not sure I agree with all the conclusions in the book review (not everything free is bad or evidence of a cultural wasteland), but I find some of the arguments quite compelling, especially since I’m one of those poor slobs who pays the bills by producing ever-more-poorly remunerated cultural “content.” Plus, the stuff on how Germany has preserved its independent booksellers (by outlawing aggressive discounting by chain bookstores) is pretty damn interesting.
Using image recognition software to decode graffiti. There seems to be an implication in this story that all graffiti is gang graffiti. C’mon dudes, don’t you know that graff has been co-opted by art school types?
Celso’s wall of chicha, with C-Monstruo shout-out.
Internacional Privados: An original chicha poster from northern Peru.
A view of the mini chicha disco. Sensory overload in a mere 16 square feet.
Opening night for Celso’s ¡No Habla Español! at Pandemicwas all kinds of fun. Thanks so much to everyone who came out. We danced, we drank, we danced some more — in a teeny weeny discoteca — into the night. The show is up through April 2nd, so you have plenty of time to shake some ass in the mini-disco. Plus, there’s always the closing party (April 2nd at 7pm). See you there!
An addendum: Public Radio International’s show Afropop has an excellent show on the history of cumbias. They have a whole section devoted to Peruvian chicha cumbias, describing their origins and their use of those super duper psychedelic surf guitars. If you want to get a sense of what these Peruvian chicha posters are all about, give this program a listen. Also, here’s a photo essay devoted to Elliot Túpac Urcuhuaranga, of the family behind Publicidad Viusa — makers of chicha posters.
Celso y C-Monstruo: Amores Perros. A Peruvian chicha poster — imported to Brooklyn. (Photo by C-M.)
One of my ongoing fascinations with Lima (which I’ve touched on in the past) is the soup of fog that covers the city about six months out of the year. It’s a phenomenon that seems to soak up all brightness and makes the desert ecosystem (already harsh) look even more apocalyptically inhospitable. It’s alluded to in countless works of Peruvian fiction (from novels by Mario Vargas Llosa to Daniel Alarcón), and is even discussed in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick — in the chapter on whiteness. (It is “the strangest, saddest city, thou cans’t see,” he wrote. “For Lima has taken the white veil; and there is a higher horror in this whiteness of her woe.”)
Which brings to me to my ongoing interest in Peruvian chicha posters — the cheaply-printed band posters produced in an array of neon-colored inks. As Celso pointed out to me during our last trip around Peru, it’s almost as if they produce their own light. Perhaps a requirement in a place where sharp edges are often dulled by the perpetual mist.
This Friday, Celso is going to be showing a collection of these — along with collages and a mini chicha/cumbia disco installation that accommodates two people for dancing (I helped with the soundtrack!!) — at Pandemic Gallery in Williamsburg. But we wanted folks to see what the posters look like installed around the foggy Peruvian capital, so we made a short video about it (see below). It includes a bit of footage from our trip to meet Fortunato Urcuhuaranga at Publicidad Viusa, the family-run studio that originated this look in the ’80s. (It is now widely copied all over the country.) And features some spectacular audio of me mumbling. If you want to learn more, Creative Review also has a great video on these wonderful folks.
Anyhow, please come to the opening this Friday to check out the show! It should be a ton of fun.
¡No Habla Español!
37 Broadway (btw. Kent & Wythe)
Friday, March 11, 2011