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Friday, November 19, 2010

LINDA MARY MONTANO'S : ANOTHER 21 YEARS OF LIVING ART:1998-2019

ANOTHER 21 YEARS OF LIVING ART (1998-2019): LINDA MARY MONTANO

MISSION STATEMENT: ANOTHER 21 YEARS OF LIVING ART(1998-2019) is art that compassionately practices an appreciation for life and is a durational continuation of my exploration of the art of consciousness. The artists/lifeists invited to this experience,ecumenically choose their own unique methodologies and explore their work while remaining in virtual/internet communication with each other throughout their practice of compassionately transforming their life,via art. It is based on Linda MARY Montano’s endurance: 7 YEARS OF LIVING ART + ANOTHER 7 YEARS OF LIVING ART= 14 YEARS OF LIVING ART, 12/8/1984—12/8/1998.
www.lindamontano.com,www.vdb.org http://lindamarymontano.blogspot.com/

DESCRIPTION: “When I finished 14 YEARS OF LIVING ART,an art experience-endurance based on the 7 chakras, I became so enamored of working with time that I wanted to share that joy with others, and so I designed ANOTHER 21 YEARS OF LIVING ART. I felt that other artists could become virtual/internet art family and I would feel as if I were in good company, with like-minded friends, doing work based on time,endurance and with reference to my past work, but interpreted by each artist according to their discipline, practice and personal aesthetic. I am proud and honored to be in the company of the following life-artists.” Linda Mary Montano

PARTICIPANTS IN SECOND SEVEN YEARS OF: ANOTHER 21 YEARS OF LIVING ART:

MICHELLE BUSH: SEVEN YEARS OF POSITIVE OBSESSIONS,12/8/2005-12/8/2012. I obsess on one sentence/statement and colour in relation to the chakras producing collaborative or interventionist and performance pieces each year.

BARBARA CARRELLAS: EIGHT NEW/ANCIENT SACRAMENTS OF PLEASURE AND CHANGE, 12/8/2004-12/8/2011. I create chakra-based rituals which I celebrate on the eight natural holidays (solstices, equinoxes, etc.) that explore and celebrate the paradoxes between the fixed commitments/initiations of the seven sacraments of the Catholic church and the ever-changing, fluid realms of intuition, pleasure and nature. EIGHT YEARS OF LIVING ART, www.barbaracarrellas.com

SC DURKIN: SEVEN YEARS OF MUSIC, 12/8/2005-12/8/2012.I endeavor to learn one musical instrument a year for the next seven years. SEVEN YEARS OF MUSIC,www.scdurkin.com

KOOSIL-JA HWANG: 12/8/2004-12/8/2011. www.dancekk.com

VERNITA N'COGNITA: 7 MORE UNTITLED YEARS OF WHEREVER MY ART LEADS ME, 12/8/2004-12/8/2011. www.ncognita.com

ESTHER K. SMITH: THEIR HOUSE IS A MUSEUM,12/8/2004-12/8/2011. Seven years in other people's houses. EK SMITH MUSEUM, www.purgatorypiepress.com

KRISTA KELLY WALSH: SEVEN MIRRORS, 2006-2012. My work is based on the Cabalist system of reading the will of the seven planetarty spirits in the seven mirrors that are made of seven metals and associated with the 7 days of the week, seven planets and cooresponding themes. Each year I will make a corresponding mirror and wear a bead of the same metal, make projects and performances based on the themes of that metal.


SATELLITE PROJECT:The satellite project is an ongoing congruent program of artists/lifeists within ANOTHER 21 YEARS OF LIVING ART.

PARTICIPANTS IN THE SATELLITE PROJECT:

STEVEN REIGNS: S(T)EVEN YEARS, 1/12007-1/1/20014. I intend to explore the connection between art, life,and spirituality through writing practice, public writing workshops, and publishing chapbooks. S(T)EVEN YEARS SANCTUARY, www.stevenreigns.com

VICTORIA SINGH & KURTIS CHAMPION: SON/ART—CHAKRA COLOR RITUALS, 7/7/04-7/7/11. Kurtis celebrates the chakra colors of each 'year' with art projects on the 7th day of each month.

ELIZABETH STEPHENS & ANNIE SPRINKLE: LOVE ARTLABORATORY—7 YEARS EXPLORING LOVE AS ART,12/8/2004-12/8/2011. We make art about love. LOVE ARTLABORATORY

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

TIMUR CIVAN VIDEO:MOTHER TERESA 100TH BIRTHDAY

Timur Civan Mother Teresa

Timur Civan Mother Teresa

Friday, June 25, 2010

TALK AT UNITARIAN CHURCH JUNE 2010

INTRO TO TALK AT UNITARIAN CHURCH
Neuroanatomist, Jill Taylor chose to study the brain because her brother is a schizophrenic and she wanted to know why. But about 10 years ago, she had her own neurologic event when blood vessels exploded in her left brain, leaving her a case study of herself.

In her TED you tube now gone viral lecture she profoundly and completely explains what it is like to have a stroke and what it does to the brain by describing the two hemispheres of the brain:

THE RIGHT BRAIN: thinks in pictures, is about the present moment, learns kinesthetically, and is the brain of energy and connection.

THE LEFT BRAIN: thinks methodically, is about the past and future, judges, organizes projects for a later time, thinks in language, says, I AM and becomes separate from the universal flow of energy.

After her stroke which literally almost dissolved the thinking brain, everything in her body slowed down, she began focusing on internal rhythms, the molecules of her body merged with the molecules of the wall, the numbers on her phone became pixels and although she heard an inner voice say, "You need help," she had forgotten the number of her colleagues at work and it took her 45 minutes to find it in the first inch of a 3 inch stack of business cards. When she looked at the cards, the numbers pixeled and so she looked at the numbers on the phone and matched them with the numbers on the card, and in dialing the number, she forgot if she had dialed so she held her by then numb hand over the numbers she had dialed, giving herself visual cues.

Jill states: I was inside a silent mind, captivated by the energy around me, I was one with the energy of all that is. It was beautiful there because I was disconnected from the brain chatter. I had a sense of peacefulness because 37 years of emotional baggage was gone. My spirit surrendered as I lay on the gurney and I said goodbye to life.

For a comparative look at a similar flight to heaven by a philosopher and mystic, go to you tube and find BEDE GRIFFITH's account of his stroke where he also explains his medical experience as an explosion of love and a bath of bliss. And another story: in the late 80's, I also witnessed my own teacher Shri Brahmananda Saraswati, of Ananda Ashram, after his stroke. He continued teaching while living in this bliss bath and called his supposed illness, A STROKE OF GOOD LUCK. And to make these stories more personal, even though I had a TIA, silent stroke in 1991, nothing like this happened to me. Why? Maybe because my stroke didn't occur in the La-La part of my left brain, maybe because I wasn't spiritually prepared for heaven on earth and so when the stroke gave me an opportunity to feel bliss, I wasn't ready? Maybe for thousands of other medical reasons. But I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting that a stroke is a guaranteed ticket and the only or sure path to enlightenment.

Back to Jill who survived an operation that removed a golf-size mass from her left brain. It took 8 years of re-hab for her to come back to herself and she says:" Now that I have found nirvana and am still alive, I feel that anyone can find nirvana if they choose to step to the right of their left hemisphere." And her new purpose is to encourage folks to access that right brain and feel the heaven she experienced.

And to continue, she says:"We are the life force, the power of the universe. I can step into that right hemisphere where we are ONE! Or I can step into the left and be solid and separate.

She challenged the TED audience with these words: "What do you choose?"

MY presentation today is offering a suggestion; a suggestion of a way that I use to go right, to the right brain, a way to temporary nirvana, a way to ONE and the more we go there, the better and easier it gets to live in beauty, peace and ecstatic compassion. We all have our way, our path, our methods, our stariways. In this time of cosmic planetary worry and concern, it is opportune that we share the goods.

Now for the "way".....(paper 2)



THE JOY OF THE LORD: LINDA MARY MONTANO

After a series of upsets and traumas and the death of my dad and illness of my best friend, I decided I needed to learn how to laugh(stop and illustrate and include all). So in 2006, I took a course in Atlantic City with Steve Wilson, a student of Madan Kutaria MD of India, who founded the now internationally famous laughter phenomenon . Dr Kutaria realized that Laughter is a good complementary medicine to his AMA practice and he borrowed the exercises from ancient relaxation practices used in Tibet and India eons ago adding thousands of other exercises over time. They are used institutionally and personally and privately and therapeutically and medically and it seems that St Francis of Assisi may have been a practitioner given the depictions of him in films and literature. A joyful saint for sure. And TERESA OF AVILA would lead her nuns in dancing ,singing and said, quoted loosely, I don't want sour nuns but happy ones. So religious/spiritual/mystical traditions do encourage us to receive the joy of the LORD with conviction, that's for sure.

This talk today is based on 3 aspects of learning , a model of interdependence and flexible moving from one to another in case of necessity or when burdened by an off balance in daily life. The three models are: Learning by relaxing and laughing, learning by hearing and thinking, learning by imagining and feeling. All are necessary, all can help each other, all can intertwine. I call today a Triple Decker Sandwich event a weaving of the 3 methods into one big triple decker sandwich.

LEARNING BY LAUGHING: REPTILIAN BRAIN PERHAPS? To illustrate the way we use this wonderful temple of body mind and spirit via laughter we will do a series of laughter exercises for those who choose to do so and those able medically to do so. This brand of laughter is not about jokes but is about faking it, simulating to stimulate and we all know why...to induce serotonin and all of those medical chemicals that make us feel fabuloso. The sandwich aspect is that we will laugh, then think then laugh then imagine and then laugh.(example)

LEARNING BY HEARING: RIGHT BRAIN? To illustrate this model I will share a book I read by Kathy Mcgowan titled, THE SOURCE OF MIRACLES, which is based on the OUR FATHER .Mcgowan has interpreted the 6 petal rose situated at the center of Chartres Cathedrals labyrinth as a pathway to LOVE which sits in the center of the rose. She says that if we walk the six petals praying the OUR FATHER we will do the 6 practices that the OUR FATHER suggests and then land in the center circle LOVE! The bottom line is that we all, each and every one of us, want love. Here is not the time or place to analyze or see the complex paradoxes of that statement or to include treatises on evil, computer viruses, foreclosures, BP scams or jihad training camps. We are going to remain fuzzy/cozy and pray through laughter instead, hopefully refueling the atmosphere with our ions of Joy.(exercise)

LEARNING BY IMAGINING: LEFT BRAIN? To illustrate this method of prayer, we will choose to imagine journeying/traveling the 6 paths of the ROSE, and feel the gift of each petal, or see it or be in touch with our sensory learning devices so that the truth of it goes deep into the poetic and sensitive consciousness. Of course , this will be sandwiched with laughter-joy as well.

I thank you for participating in whatever way is appropriate for you and may the Joy of Divine Beauty be our inner food, a food we share with our own inner hunger and the hunger of ALL in this crying, weeping, spilling, hurting cosmos.

Linda Mary Montano, 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

FACEBOOK AND THE RECESSION:

"Dear FB,

For about a year, at the invitation of pioneer and techno-composer-legacy-holder, Pauline Oliveros, I have been "feeling" the family of FB and this internet/virtual relationship has generated new thoughts about art/life.
We are animal/human and need community. We attain and get that in many ways. It used to be neighborhoods but no more...kids cant play in the streets or their yards. We used to go to church , no more, we used to visit relatives , no more. Silently and slowly we are being forced into non-horseback riding time and catapulting into robotization and computer mind. We are being lured into sub-cutaneous implants and AI and no-think and machine speed. And the art world is led by the carrot of sameness into this silence by not offering any other options because:

Only the high rollers are getting the gigs and the teaching spots held tight by the past-timers.
Only the ones who will bring in the bucks are galleried.
Only the safe and sure are shown.(Names known by only the Guerilla Girls.)
Only the content that is wow and now is wanted.

Soooooooooooooooo

FB has become:

SCHOOL
GATHERING PLACE
HAPPY PARTY
JOB FINDER
MATE GATHERER
LOSS CONSOLER
RANT RECEIVER
PAST WORK DISPLAYER
DREAM MAKER
WHAT I ATE FOR LUNCH PHOTOGRAPHER
INSTANT AUDIENCE
TEACHER OF ART AS FREE COMMODITY
SHOW OFF CENTER
GROUP FORMER
JOB PLACEMENT SITE
FRIEND/FAN MAKER
PRODUCT/ART OBJECT ADVERTISER
RECESSION SNUBBER
GALLERY
SELF-IMPRESSION INFLATOR
RESURGER OF THE SPIRITUAL IN ART
DEPRESSION ADJUSTER
GREED DETHRONER
QUESTION ANSWERER
GRADUATE SEMINAR STUDY PLACE
NEW IDEA SHARER
PERSONAL BELL RINGER
WEBSITE ADVERTISER
FRIEND THIEF
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY FORGETTER
PET PHOTO/VIDEO SHOWER
WASTER OF TIME
ADDICTION CREATOR

The list is longer for the positives and less for the delete/hide/escape apps. And as a result, FB, I still like you, I share your wisdom and your messages and your great facilities. OK I am using you and asking periodically for help to sell my archive, to ask questions about where the gigs are these days, and other narcissistic dreams. So maybe i'm not so pure and that money and being SEEN is more important than your friendship, but until I completely find your game a pitiful excuse for having a life, I will continue to tell all of my "friends" my news, the world's news and my extraordinary wisdom! And in an early morning Starbucks burst of energy, I will continue to SHARE other wonderful and informative bites I find that all 28379874982749874 of you might like. I know some will "hide" me but I will never know because I still have access to my other 409872474987 "friends". FB, I know that galleries are few, that $ is tight, I know that 328479874329 people are seeing my videos for free via you, but i'm not bitter oh FB, i'm just glad to be in your family. Art is finally about life and not art? How long this generosity and high lasts, who knows? Maybe not until the lawyers arrive.

Thanks FB for playing. One of your 238979857985798274983783009209947676 "FRIENDS",

Linda Mary Montano , PERFORMANCE ARTIST . In case you are interested, my web is www.lindamontano.com

ENTER

Admittedly we are all sensing a pre-renaissance black-out, a "dark age" with recognizable and historically accurate symptoms witnessed by historians of the fall (and/or transformation) of other dynasties teetering on the brink of armageddon.(The Roman ,Ottoman, German, British Empires perchance?)


BREAK

Can't we all agree that in this 21st century, we are communally experiencing a bad taste and aftermaths from universally experienced phenomena such as:



CIRCLE 475 PHENOMENON


Financial fumblings, cultural buffooneries, pervasive paranoia, modified mea culpas, bipartisan shenanigans, uncompassed morality, bipaped starvations, political circus acts, theological tsunamis, global tamperings, cyclical catastrophes, faux apologies, misleading marketing, conspicuous consuming, muddled multitasking, apocalyptic battering, padded documenting, salted wounding, power shifting, self loathing, hierarchical covering, pious grandstanding, spasmed tremoring, bankrupted dreaming, disintegrated remembering, virtual relating, techno crazing, outrageous compensating, congressional bullying and foreclosed trust!


CIRCLE 189 PHENOMENON

Diseased despondents, surrendered suicidals, unheld newborns, hooded jihadists, fundamental fanatics, antsy therapists, inattentive nannies, selfish narcissists, bonused buddies, media darlings, unconscienced thieves, suffocating egoists, discarded seniors, trafficked innocents, self inflicting terrorists, vulnerable victims, jolly junkies, over dutiful daughters, celebrity addicts, killer drones, spiritual materialists, scheming CEOs, interminable visitors, jealous sisters, stubborn students, lying boasters, ungrateful patients, cyber bullies, skeletoned anorexics, emotional mutes, nasty narcissists and miserable millionaires!


CIRCLE 362 PHENOMENON

Creepy oppressors, hypersexual prowlers, Holocaust deniers, death cheaters, begging borrowers, scud sharp shooters, carbon foot printers, attention mongers, greedy brokers, depressed designers, public apologizers, prepared preppers, subcutaneous cutters, sophomoric obsessors, inappropriate responders, furious professors, tormenting victimizers, parent starvers, neurotic neighbors, reputation slanderers, magnetic womanizers, surprise attackers, glad handers, halitosed dancers, grid locked commuters, grieving skaters, arrogant outsiders, soul sellers, gift refusers, aggressive reporters, sloppy visitors, pill stealers, animal abhorrers, hate disseminators, stinky passengers, authority balkers, sloppy foodmakers, name callers, energy suckers, germ spreaders, information secretors, junk hoarders, saccrine sympathizers, sweaty hand shakers, misguided worshippers, internet scammers, morphed murderers, obese outsiders, child abusers, frozen floormatters, dysfunctional reconfigurers, beauty kidnappers, unread biographers, gender assaulters, monumental mistakers, satanic afflicters, silent contemptors, counterindicated elders, hungry survivors, childhood stealers, guilted enjoyers, ponzi schemers, medical compromisers, careless caregivers, enraged partners, jailed minors, paralyzed players, unemployed loners, adulterous trespassers, vaccinated teenagers, double crossed informers, technological traumatizers, disabling humiliators, monetary misusers and nose pickers!


SHIFT

Oh, our poor bodies/minds are dodging the toxic arrows of it all! Dodging thoughts about pcb's and thoughts of no more potable water or no more fish or ice-sliding-glaciered polar bears! Thoughts about what to do about our arthritic thumbs twittered to spasm. Thoughts about ourselves and the suffering others! Not only thoughts but also memories of once looking in the mirror at our faces sweetly smiling back with innocent anticipation of a McDonalds. NO MORE. In preparation for a post-modern re-look at Revelationed-robotization, our current faces are facebooked/addicted into social shyness, not to be relieved by a 1970's Kumbayaah singing picnic on a green, chemical free lawn. That chapter is closed, my friend.


DELETE

Now, our poor bodies, steel-tight with earthquaked fear of the next day's news or trembling over the calories and sugar content of the morning's Starbucks or tripping out of buildings quickly when rumblings at yet another fault-line are recognized by sensitive dogs,....our battered bodies.... run on PTSD/empty seeking refuge in second-lifed, C-PAPED-accompanied nightmares.


HIDE

But wait, out of this harrowing scenario of a reality show gone bad, comes Hope?


SHIFT

PAUSE


LINDA MARY MONTANO, 2010 Saugerties, NY

Friday, April 16, 2010

Linda Montano, Student of Real Presence

by Karen Gonzalez Rice — Duke University
April 16, 2010 – 00:21


Curator's Note
In her video Linda Mary Montano: I Dreamed I Was Mother Teresa (2009), performance artist Linda Montano takes on the persona of Catholic nun and humanitarian Mother Teresa. She presents the gestures, gait, actions, and speech of this absent, beatified woman: wearing the habit of Mother Teresa’s order, the Missionaries of Charity, she moves slowly before a handmade cross, her spine painfully curved. Accompanied by an audio track that includes singing, bells, and the voice of Mother Teresa speaking at the Philadelphia Eucharistic Conference in 1976, Montano pats a baby, bows her head in prayer, smiles, and gestures toward the camera. The video’s sepia tones and hazy surfaces locate this scene in the nostalgic past, while the obviously fake baby doll, a substitute for the real infants tended by the nun, parallels the substitution of the artist’s body for Mother Teresa.

Long recognized as a pioneer of American performance art, Montano recently has cast herself as a “Roman Catholic Performance Artist.” In Linda Mary Montano: I Dreamed I Was Mother Teresa and other new works, including St. Teresa of Avila (2007) and A Silent Three-Hour Prayer Retreat inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral (2007), Montano explicitly links her ongoing investment in religion with the medium of performance art itself. As a medium, performance art locates both the art-making subject and the art object in the body of the artist. The performance artist, then, embodies both being and doing. This media-specific insistence on embodiment and connection in time, place, and space echoes religious believers’ concerns with divine presence, as during the Catholic Eucharist, when Christ is considered actually present at the altar. Montano highlights the significance of this concept in her “Roman Catholic Performance Artist Manifesto” (2009) when she frames her commitment to the Catholic Church in terms of its status as “the Church of the Real EUCHARISTIC PRESENCE!!” Montano’s manifesto goes on to define her art practice in terms of her attention to presence: “In a spirit of research and study and dialogue and obedience, I remain a student of Real Presence.”

Montano’s work is rooted in her experience of convent life as a novice with the Maryknoll order in the early 1960s and in her return, in the late 1990s, to the Catholic faith. In her best-known performances, Montano metaphorically and metonymically enacted Catholic monastic and worship practices of endurance, self-imposed discipline, and transformative, habitual action. For example, in Art / Life One Year Performance 1983-1984 (1983-4), she was tied by an eight-foot rope to artist Tehching Hsieh for one year; her piece 7 Years of Living Art (1984-91) established a set of psychologically grueling year-long commitments that stipulated the details of her what she could wear, how she could speak, and how she should act in everyday life. By attempting to make religious experience visible, Montano’s recent performances continue her life-long engagement with Catholic forms and pivot on the complex notion of performance as presence.

http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/imr/2010/04/15/linda-montano-student-real-presence#comment-1851

Videos and texts by Linda Montano are available at her blog, on Facebook and YouTube, and at Video Data Bank.


Tags
art | performance art | religion
Comments

ETERNAL LIFE
by Barton Scott — Montana State University
April 16, 2010 – 11:08

Karen, thanks for this wonderful post, which has the added virtue of referring back to so many things that we have talked about this week: India (Mother Teresa’s Calcutta), religion and the body (as in Vince’s post), flickering filmic addresses (as in Jenna’s), and, perhaps most hauntingly, church bells (enter Isaac).

I was hoping you could say a little more about the relationship of performance art to film/ video— which, it would seem to me, threatens to undermine Montano’s insistence on divine presence. This piece seems to be, as you suggest, much more about absences and substitutions— of the doll for a real baby, of Montano for Mother Teresa. The latter’s recorded voice, meanwhile, lends a mediatized edge to what she is saying: "For it is by dying that one awakens into eternal life." I suppose similar things could be said about the eucharist as sign— a sign that also evokes and memorializes a death.

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BART, THANKS FOR RAISING THIS
by Karen Gonzalez Rice — Duke University
April 16, 2010 – 14:18

Bart, thanks for raising this really important question. The idea of presence is much-debated in film and video studies, and from my perspective as an art historian, documentations of performance art only complicate the issue. Performance art as a medium is predicated on presence in that the artist is the art object; the presence of the artist IS the artwork. The relation between the artist and the viewer is more complicated: even private performances, or artworks done for the camera alone, anticipate an audience, if only the self. For Montano, the paradox of this presence-in-absence is linked to exactly the kind of theological paradox you draw attention to with your references to eternal life and to the Eucharist.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

DEATH: DO NOT FEAR

Death is hidden, feared, wondered about. It creates all kinds of responses in our emotional and thinking lives. This class would open the chapter called DEATH and examine it from the many different angles and interests of the participants of the class.

Youtube videos, past art and internet research sites will be examined as well as trips to cemeteries, morgues, embalmers, funeral directors, pathologists..

My tapes: MITCHELLS DEATH and BENARES will be studied and I will share my research about death with my lecture: DEATH IN THE ART/LIFE OF LINDA MARY MONTANO.

The participants will write their wills, study how to draw up Power of Attorneys, Health Care Proxys and Obituaries and will teach each other the techniques of legally protecting their final days and health care decisions.

Their interviews with theologians, hospice workers and medical people will help with their understanding of mortality/immortality.

We will perform DAD ART, my 3 hour interactive study of the old age, sickness and death of my father as a final presentation as well as group shows of work produced during this class.

All aspects of this class are improvised and adapted to the needs of the group.
Linda Mary Montano

Wednesday, February 10, 2010



photo:MITCHELL PAYNE, 1971

Monday, February 1, 2010

INTERVIEW BETWEEN LINDA MARY MONTANO AND NICOLAS DUMIT ESTEVEZ, JANUARY 2010




LINDA: NICOLAS, YOU ARE STANDING ON A VERY INTERESTING GROUND RIGHT NOW...THE GROUND OF ART AND THE GROUND OF LIFE BECAUSE YOU HAVE TIES TO WHAT IS PROBABLY THE LARGEST DISASTER EVER: THE EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI ...BECAUSE YOU ARE DOMINICAN, YOU ARE LIKE THE COUSIN WHO KNOWS MORE THAN EVERYONE ELSE ...YOU ARE FROM THAT ISLAND AND KNOW THE HISTORY, CULTURE AND STORIES. SO WE NEED YOUR INFORMATION AND INSIGHTS RIGHT NOW! PLEASE TEACH US.

Nicolas: Linda, I am still processing a disaster that made itself present to me in bits and pieces through the media, the telephone conversations that I have been having with my mother, Maragarita María, in the Dominican Republic, and e-mail exchanges with Haitian friends in the US and abroad. Unlike my stepfather in Santiago, who when the tremors hit, called his wife thinking that he was having a seizure, I have been shaken intermittently by the graphic images coming through computer and TV screens. I don’t have a BlackBerry.

Before I continue answering your question, I would like to mention that recently I had a long telephone conversation with Sandy Plácido, a young Dominican scholar from the Bronx. Haiti, of course, was at the very center of our dialogue. We asked each other whether this was the right moment to talk about it or to concentrate all our energies in helping this country. My replied to Sandy was “Why not do both things?” Why not use the momentum this nation is experiencing to ask questions we never dared to voice. Before hanging up, I brought up to her your idea to take on some of Haiti’s pain(s) through your DYSTONIA treatment. Can you expand on this? How does the transference of pain works for you and those on the other side? What are your thoughts behind this art-life action in the context of such a devastating catastrophe? Can I ask you one question I often get? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?

I am going to take up the cousin comment in your opening statement. Cousins are for me very close family members since for fifteen years I was an only child. Haiti was the cousin we never visited or the one whom, at any attempt to visit us, we would flee from. Nevertheless, this family member would stop by our places by way of defamatory stories circulating word of mouth in primary school about a black man from the other side of the island stealing Dominican children. Haiti was the boogie-man, el Cuco. Haiti was the cousin with whom I would have LOVED to played hide and seek in the dark Caribbean night. The cousin I was longing to meet. Haiti is the cousin that for two years has kept me an insomniac in the South Bronx. From 2008-2009 I received grants from Art Matters, the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC) and Printed Matter to engage in Borderless, an art-life experience for which I have been traveling from my home in New York to Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros, my birthplace in the Dominican Republic, to trace any connection that my relatives and I might have with the neighboring Republic. Did I tell you that part of my mother’s side of the family came from Lebanon by ship? Some Lebanese families not related to us settled next door. Anyhow, I cannot yet discard the possibility of connecting with Haiti through a Middle Eastern relative.

To summarize what could turn into an extensive narration, in 2009, in the town of Guayubín, near the Haitian border, Uncle Julio gave me confirmation of the Haitian background of my great-grandmother Inocencia Ortíz Belliard (Belliard was her French last name). Triggered by this revelation, I asked Uncle Julio and my cousin Venecia to take me to the local cemetery to find her grave. “She was a black”, he said, un-self-consciously approaching the stereotypical topic of race and ethnicity dominating almost all conversations about the relationship between the two countries. The same dialogue unveiled a link with Venezuela on behalf of my father’s side of the family. But let’s go back to Haiti. Inocencia’s grave is unmarked, and is next to that of her husband Manuel Espejo (Papá Muele). His is also unmarked, so we do not know for sure which is Inocencia’s. The two of them are resting side by side on what felt to my feet like a big sandbox dotted with conch shells in various states of disintegration. Why has it taken me forty-two years plus what seems like an endless journey through the cosmos to get to this particular moment? I don’t know if my late father Nicolás would have approved of this. His resting place is not too far from the locus of action. Papi shares a wide, white washed grave with his twin brother Eufemio. They are a few feet from Inocencia and Papá Muele.

L: WHAT DOES IT SIGNIFY, BEING DOMINICAN?

Rather than putting words in someone else’s mouth I am going to leave this question open for people to answer. What does it mean for you, reader to be Dominican? Please send your responses to: indioclaro@hotmail.com _indio_oscuro@live.com or post them on this blog at the end of this Q&A.

Is it dancing merengue, clinging to the tricolor flag, or eating an elastic mangú (man-goo) boiled and mashed green plantains that makes one Dominican? Have you have this dish? I could make it for you or we can have it at a restaurant in Longwood. We should have gone over this question while enjoying mangú with sautéed onions on top, melted cheese, and a glass of morir soñando, die dreaming, (orange juice mixed with milk). We can call it art-life. Any ideas for this? By the way, I don’t know how to play baseball. Does that make me less Dominican? I found this interesting video on youtube posted by a what seems like a young Dominican man living in New York City. It is worthwhile watching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh6l666W_Sg

In my case, Dominicanidad has meant undertaking an on-going search of all of the elements that inform who I might be. I am Dominican because I am a: New Yorker, Bronxite, Lebanese-Dominican, Dominican-York, Lebanese, Catalan, Venezuelan, Haitian, African, New Berliner, Spaniard, and who knows what else. I came to the realization that I am engaged in an undertaking that can bring my identity to some kind of dissolution or collapse. This process I am pointing to has brought me at times to an uncertain territory. I am up for this. Better there that than spending life in a prefab Lalaland.

L: BRIEFLY, WHAT IS THE CULTURAL HISTORY, THE POLITICAL HISTORY AND SPIRITUAL HISTORY OF BOTH THE DR AND HAITI...HOW DO THEY COMPARE AND CONTRAST?

N: What we know today as Haiti and the Dominican Republic was colonized upon Columbus’ arrival in 1492. The whole island was named Hispaniola, becoming part of the geographic portfolio of the crown. In less than a century after the conquest its indigenous inhabitants were decimated and after years of colonial neglect, Buccaneers, a group of freebooters from different European places, settled on the island of Tortuga on the northwest coast. In 1667 France took possession of the west portion of Hispaniola. What follows is a long series of dispute between France and Spain for leadership over the colony and later on, Dominican and Haitian struggles to define the border demarcating both nations. The biggest national holiday in the Dominican Republic is the independence of the country not from Spain, but from Haiti in 1844. What is today the Dominican Republic was from 1822-44 Haitian territory.

It is worthwhile moving back in time. In the XVIII, as a result of dissimilar economies, African slaves and their descendants on each side of the island were engaged in a different kind relationship with their European masters. While French Saint Domingue’s expansion made Haiti the jewel of France in the Americas, the Spanish counterpart barely got by in an economy of subsistence. This resulted in a higher number of Africans arriving in Saint Domingue, and not only that, in a stricter demand for production. All of this will come to inform the overall identity of the Haitian and the Dominican Republics in regards to Africa and the colonizers. The stereotypical perception is of Haitians as poor and African and of Dominicans as lighter skinned Latin. The Spaniard Grandparent Syndrome (SGS), as I call it, is so prevalent in the Dominican Republic, where many claim to have a Spaniard ancestor. In any case, the first time I traveled to Spain I was taken aback by feeling at home. Was I not properly weaned from the motherland?

Have you watch Pat Roberson’s video on youtube? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QszyMLxrQvk
where he talks about the pact Haitians made with the devil in order to obtain their independence from France and to form the first black republic in the Americas? The tele evangelist is not as historically uninformed as he seems to be at first, but ingeniously deceiving in masking the why of the many misfortunes of Haiti. The major one is the heavy reparations that France imposed on the newly created country (the equivalent today of 21 billion dollars) to recognize their independence and the US later involvement in the country’s politics. What Pat is skillfully describing is the affront of a bunch of colored peoples to fight for their freedom. Historically, Pat is talking about the Bois Caïman ceremony on August 14th, 1791 were slaves gestated the revolution that would free them from the colonizer. The conflation of African beliefs was a unifying force in this event. Anyhow, Pat is not alone in his description of a nation who faithfully follows the wrong path, a crowd of glassy-eyed zombies walking after dark. The media has done a magnificent job painting Haiti as the poorest place in the whole hemisphere. Have we been told why? This link is to a video giving some answers to this question. It was sent to me by a Haitian colleague living in Berlin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVwqar4e4Ks
One recurrent comment that I have been hearing in the midst of the catastrophe is that implying that something good might come out of this: What does a 7.0 earthquake mean in a place that before the earthquake hit was already a disaster? Wasn’t Haiti in a state of emergency prior to that?

A day or two after the earthquake, a reporter on TV got confused and said Haw… (meaning Hawaii), while trying to refer to Haiti. He quickly realized his mistake. It seemed like he swapped the names of heaven and hell during mass.

Can we I leave the discussion on spirituality for later? I know that you are about to ask me about one particular aspect of it.

L: WE ARE ALL VERY INTERESTED IN THE CONCEPT OF VOODOO AND HOW DO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT VOODOO AND HOW IT IS PRACTICED IN BOTH THE DR AND HAITI?

N: Voodoo, Vodou, we call it Vudú in Spanish, has had a good share of treatments in the US, from Hollywood movies to anthropological literature. From The Serpent and the Rainbow to Tell my Horse. To give you an example, in the section on Haiti in I Tell my Horse, Hurston narrates how she came face to face with a living dead, a Zombie, and goes on to describe some of the bloody secret societies that flourished in Haiti at the time of her research in the late 30’s. In the Dominican oral history of zombification, people are taken from the East to the West side of the island to be turned into one of these creatures. There are those who affirm having seeing someone who disappeared in the Dominican Republic walk the streets of a Haitian town.

Growing up it was commonplace for many of my family members and neighbors in the Dominican Republic to practice ritualistic actions for the purpose of changing the course of an everyday situation: an upside down broom with several crystal of sea salt, propped on a corner helped an overwhelmed host get rid of an undesirable guest. I tried this on many occasions. Women stuffed in their shoes a piece of paper bearing the name of the man they wished to keep subjugated and under the soles of their feet. The names of undesirable people were frozen at the subzero temperatures of the electric refrigerator. To me this was a mild form of zombification. We used camphor to shoo away evil and were instructed to pick up suspicious packages with our left hand. I remember helping my grandmother tie Saint Peter’s testicles, symbolized by a stone, which we hung to stop a torrential rain. Chromolithographies of saints were put upside down until the saint fulfilled one’s request. Saint Anthony has spent a lifetime with his head on the Dominican soil. Wannabe brides do so to urge him to find them a suitable candidate for marriage. Some of the ritualistic actions that I described above could possibly trace their origins to our African heritage, others are the product of the religious syncretism that prevails in an area where Africans forcefully brought to the region worshiped some of their deities through the representation of Catholic imagery. For example, Changó, the god of thunder is represented by the image of St. Barbara and Belié Belcán’s Catholic equivalent is as Saint Michael Archangel.

L: WHAT DOES VOODOO MEAN TO YOU PERSONALLY NOW? BACK WHEN YOU LIVED THERE?

N: Linda, How does one deal with Catholic guilt? How does one reconcile with believes other than those instilled through centuries by the Church? Is it fair to answer a question with another question? Please give us a recipe for shedding off our Judeo-Christian guilt. We are the children of the children of the children of the children of the children of the children of the children who were brought here from Africa. We managed to hold onto a piece of the umbilical cord. Mine was sandwiched in a photo album. I was born with forceps, went to church every once in a while. The Catholicism we practiced at home was a lax one. I will try to keep our conversation on Vodou as simple as possible. We are treading into a complex territory. The reference to horses has to do with the fact that when the Vodou practitioner is possessed by one of the misterios or luas (spirits) he or she is said to be mounted by them. The lua or misterio rides the person hosting him/her. So much to tell. My mother would take me to the houses of people who had the most amazing altars. We would go there for consultation and to get help fixing certain aspects of our lives. There were those who would go to them to get trabajos, works for getting married or for enhancing their luck. Our visits were mostly for spiritual purposes. I was told over and over that I had a light and that I was eventually supposed to get baptized in order to serve the spirits. By the age of seven or so I had amassed a personal altar of a remarkable size. I would use all of the money that Lebanese relatives would give when I would go to visit them at their textile stores downtown to buy chromolithographies of Catholic Saints. The 4” x 6” were no more than a quarter. One of my favorite ones was St. Clare holding a monstrance in her hands. Clare, Clara (clear) in Spanish. Her role was to clear up our path from obstacles.

Now. I keep in touch with one Vodou practitioner. We became good friends when I was attending a master degree at Tyler School of Art. He helped me with my thesis on the aesthetics of the Dominican Vodou altar. This man and his friends taught me a great deal about sharing and caring for one another. Together we would travel to the most economically disadvantaged areas of Santiago and would be received by those who had so little with such amount of generosity. Now I do not practice Vodou but recognize that I have been deeply shaped by it. I often think of the light that I carry inside of me. I ponder about the implications of awakening it.

The Spanish speaking Caribbean had very strong relationship with the flesh, with the here and the now. I have call it a culture of the flesh. Vodou is a religion in which the deities can travel to our physical world and manifest themselves tangibly. For example, I was able to interact with El Barón del Cementerio, St. Elijah or the Lord of the Cemetery, during a celebration. The woman possessed by him wore a purple and black gown. She resembled a dead person. Here we are talking about gender bending. Linda, I warned you before of the complexity of the subject. I am just scratching the surface.

L: HOW DOES IT INTESECT YOUR ART/LIFE? ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH IT? IT IS MYSTERIOUS AND VERY COMPELLING TO OUTSIDERS AND SO WE ARE ALL CURIOUS. AND FRIGHTENED BECAUSE IT IS SEEN AS TABOO. THE TABOO MAKES US INTERESTED AND ALSO FRIGHTENS US...

Not too long ago I realized that almost everything I create references altar building in the Vodou tradition. When I moved to the South Bronx, five years ago, I vowed to myself to keep my office free of art, objects, or any kind of decoration. You should come and see the place: braids in glass jars, a calendar of the Sacred Heart of Mary and two of Fefita La Grande (a folk singer in the Dominican Republic who is in reality a performance artist who happens to play the accordion), a huge French Canadian print of a nurse tending to sick man, who is in reality Jesus, a holy Rosary in a plastic bag, a purse of yours that I got at one of your performances, soil from the Dominican Republic and Haiti side by side in jars, like the two portions of the island, like the graves of my father and his twin brother, like the unmarked tombs of my great grandparents near the border, like the Vodou Marasas: St. Cosme and St. Damian.

There is fear in what we don’t know? I fear to drive on an US highway. I fear the prospect of wearing a suit and tie and working on Wall Street. I used to fear leaving New York City for more than a day. There is fear in treading into the unfamiliar and getting swallowed by it. I used to fear becoming an American until I realized that I was one before I moved to the US from the Americas.
Why do you think that outsiders including yourself are scared by Vodou? Can you suggest a performance for dealing with fear?

L: HOW WILL THE EVENTS IN HAITI AFFECT YOUR ART AND LIFE? WILL IT CHANGE THEM FOREVER?

Any security we have put in place to make our lives safer can slip away in a matter of seconds. We should not wait for a tragedy to come in contact with those we care for. I open my eyes and everything is standing. I close my eyes. I open them again and I find myself in the midst of the rubble. Earthquakes are constantly trying to wake us up. Some of these tremors can only be experienced at an individual level, but nevertheless hit all of those around us. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, videos, installations, audio pieces, site-specific works, get lost during periods of wars, massacres, nuclear destruction, genocides, ethnic cleansing. Yet art remains forever as reminder of its power to pull us out of the muck. I mean art as: helping others in distress, transporting a sick person to an emergency room, emptying our pockets and sending money to those in need.

Days after the earthquake my cousin e-mailed me from Hong Kong to ask me how will this situation change Borderless. I think she really meant to ask me how is this going to affect my search. I am sure that many of our Haitian cousins lost their lives to the tragedy. I am sure that many more remain to be helped and rescued from the debris, and that many, many, more than those dead have survived and will be there for our first encounter.

On January 25th I received an e-mail from Notreda Belliard sent from the border town of Ounaminthe telling me in broken Spanish that she was OK:” Estoy contento de tomar tu noticia. Espero que todo va bien para tí. Para nosotros no hay nunguna persona que se muerte durante este terremodo. Y tú como estas?” I am happy to hear from you. I hope that all is well. There are no dead among us. And how are you? Notreda and I met during my visit to Haiti in 2009. She promised to introduce me in future visits to other members of the Belliard family.

Dear Reader I am looking to get in touch with the Belliard family in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. My e-mail addresses: indioclaro@hotmail.com and _indio_oscuro@live.com

L: ASK YOURSELF ANY QUESTIONS I MISSED.

N: Thank you, Linda.
What can we do to help Haiti’s current situation?
Donate Now. Please don’t wait.
Pray.
Get involved.
Adopt a Haitian orphan.
Research the history of the place.
Update our own image of this country.
Give a presentation on the colonization of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Question the leaders of the powerful nations and their involvement in other countries.
If living in the so-called First World: Avoid repeating historical mistakes.
If in the Dominican Republic or in Haiti: Strive to live in harmony.
Write about Haiti in your church, office, school or college newsletter.
Become a Haitian.

MONTANO'S COMMENTS: NICOLAS AFTER READING AND THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT, I AM THINKING THESE CONSIDERATIONS:

1. DO YOU THINK THAT YOU HAVE A LIFE'S WORK/ART SORTING OUT YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY.

2. DO YOU FEEL THAT YOUR LIFE AS A PERFORMANCE ARTIST CAN BE "USED" TO MAKE A NEW UNDERSTANDING, A NEW PEACE, A NEW OPENING OF TOLERANCE BETWEEN THE D.R. AND H.?

3. WE TALKED ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE OF MY BEING OTHERS (BOB DYLAN, MOTHER TERESA, PAUL MCMAHON AND FICTIONAL OTHERS INCLUDING THE ALCOHOLIC, FRENCH WOMAN, COUNTRY WESTERN SINGER). DO YOU FEEL THAT IN D.R. - H WITH THE PERFORMANCE PRACTICE THAT YOU ARE DOING IS TIME FOR YOU TO BE EVEN MORE PERFORMATIVELY "HAITIAN" THAN YOU ARE ...THAT IS THE BRAIDS ARE "HAITIAN" CORRECT? I AM NOT PROPOSING YOU DO "BLACK-FACE" BUT I WOULD DEFINITELY TALK TO ADRIAN PIPER NOW ABOUT YOUR CURRENT PRACTICE...

4.HOW DO YOU TEACH TOLERANCE AND RESPECT TO THE CHILDREN OF EACH CULTURE, D.R.-H.? CHILDRENS BOOKS? WORKSHOPS? LECTURES?
WHY? IF I WAS BROUGHT UP IN THE D.R. AND WAS FED THE THOUGHTS YOU WERE FED ABOUT H. , I WOULD THINK THAT IT IS TIME FOR A RE-THINKING OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO CULTURES. AS A PERFORMANCE ARTIST AND A D.R , YOU ARE IN A VERY WONDERFULL POSITION OF BEING ABLE TO INTERVENE HERE, HELP TRANSFORM SOME OLD WOUNDS.

I SEND THESE AS COMMENTS , NOT AS QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED. AGAIN, N, THANKS FOR TEACHING ME AND GIVING ME HOPE THAT ART CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN OUR OWN LIVES AND IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS. IN ART/LIFE/LAUGHTER, LINDA MARY MONTANO


Dear Linda:

I just saw your comments at the end of the interview. I kept looking for them within the main text. I would like to think about your words for several days, since there are very relevant to the path that I am seeking to take with art-life. I don't know if I mentioned to you that before I e-mailed you for the first time in 2006, from Saratoga Springs, I kept hearing a voice telling me: "get in touch with her, get in touch with her". I am glad that I did. God bless you.

I am including some images of my trip to the cemetery in the Dominican Republic Taken by Sol Aramendi. Unlike in the US, some of the cemeteries there are quite active with people bringing food to the Lord of the Cemetery, people performing Vodou, people praying, talking to the dead or enacting rituals. Most cemeteries are gated and close around 6pm.

Nicolas Dumit Estevez Raful Espejo Ortíz Morel Belliard

Photographs: Sol Aramendi
© 2009 Nicolas Dumit Estevez

Monday, January 4, 2010

Linda M. Montano - Video Works

Archive for Sale 1 avi


Archive for Sale 2 avi


Archive for Sale 3 avi


Archive for Sale 4 avi


El Chow De Faustina


Linda Mary Montano as Bob Dylan


Linda Mary Montano as Paul McMahon


Linda Mary Montano as Mother Teresa


Father Le Bar Linda Mary Montano


DYSTONIA Linda Mary Montano


Two Ayruvedic Doctors