Rafa Esparza considers the kinship formed through earth and the disruption of that earth through colonization, using adobe and paint as primary means. His performances regularly deploy the body, its tactility, and the material that provides its support: dirt, concrete, the overlapping grids of streets, nation, and identities. Duration is a frequent means to investigate the longue-durée, the weight and power, of institutional structures, belief systems, and categories tied to the land.
For ecdysis, Esparza contributed Counting: An Accumulation of Falls and Weaponized Ground, a piece that came out of a 12-hour performance cycle that occurred from sun up to sundown in Elysian Park, California. Standing outside the Los Angeles police academy, he was wearing a men’s suit on the back of which he had sequined a bulls eye target. Gunshots could be heard from that site, and the artist fell to the ground whenever their sounds rang out.
In this performance and throughout his performance practice, Esparza places local issues at the fore, and his body in the immediate context of his community.
Throughout her practice, Gabriela Ruiz recovers objects to reclaim the expenditures of personal expression and labor. In Empapada, her first performance in Europe, the artist engages the combination of sexual fantasy and latent exertion in her video of the same title on view in the CASSTL iteration of ecdysis. Used by maintenance throughout her home of Southern California, the all-purpose soap Fabuloso provides a titular fabulousness, the cleanliness of new beginnings, and the vibrancy of its bright purple color. Historically this soap is also connected to legacies of racialized and gendered labor that are not so easily cleansed, harkening to the Latinx people who use this material to clean the homes and businesses of others in a position of economic and legal precarity.
Artists: Rafa Esparza, Gabriela Ruiz