Postcommodity Spirit House Opens Its Doors
By Christopher J. Johnson
Fourth and Mountain is a spot known to Albuquerque for Garcia‘s Kitchen, Bingo supplies and that pink limo which anyone can hire out. It is an urban meadow of varied businesses and gravel lots surrounded by warehouses and parks with hoops. Soon, though, it will be home to another element. That element is the artist collective Postcommodity or, to be more precise, their new public art space Spirit Abuse.
Postcommodity is an internationally renowned artist collective stemming from the Southwest. With long history they have produced art installations in Winnipeg, Canada, Sydney, Australia and other international cities. Their aesthetic is a sort of organic/inorganic hybrid; by incorporating electronics, most notably sound, with a more natural idea or object, Postcommodity makes demanding art that often questions the relationship between contemporary society and historical tradition.
For example? A few years ago, at the Santa Fe Indian Market, Postcommodity showed a piece in the courtyard at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts just off the plaza. “My Blood Is In The Water” was a taxidermied deer forever preserved in a state of bloodletting and suspended over a ceremonial drum. At intervals the deer would drip blood onto the drum which had been amplified enough to be heard from over a block and a half away. The image was jarring and the sound, once associated with the image, intolerable. Viewers were repulsed by the association of sound and image, and the group removed their work within three days due to the response.
The point of the installation had been to highlight the commercialized aspect of the “Indian Art Market.” While historically the Plaza in Santa Fe had been a place of celebration for Native peoples, those celebrations had been dwindled down, polished and packaged by commercial demands. Certain aspects of the reality of these peoples, the group pointed out, are just wholly unwelcome.
In other words, the project couldn’t have been more successful.
Spirit Abuse will bring to Albuquerque many of Postcommodity’s art installations that have previously shown throughout the world. It will also serve as a space for artists both national and local to discuss their works, offer workshops and put on concerts (sometimes even with newly invented instruments).
On Friday, April 5, a taste of the future will be found with the grand opening of the space. Recently I sat down with Kade L. Twist and Raven Chacon of Postcommodity to talk about the occasion. They told me Spirit Abuse was a place for artists to meet and discuss their ideas and craft. They hoped to establish relationships which would lead to a broadening of communication among artists. Postcommodity looks forward to offering Spirit Abuse as a forum to others invested in the arts which inspire them.
In the spirit of an open forum, Spirit Abuse will open its doors again on Sunday, April 7, at 4 p.m. to offer a twin lecture featuring Candice Hopkins and the Product Division. Santa Fe artists Red Cell and JC Gonzalez are members of the Product Division.
“A lot of what we deal with are the concepts of control and systems and to provide portals past those things,” Red Cell told me. The Product Division deals with ‘pataphysics, a form of science created by arts legend Alfred Jarry in the 19th century. ‘Pataphysics is described as a philosophy or media theory dedicated to studying what lies beyond the realm of metaphysics.
“We don’t have a solid medium, the process is the product,” said JC Gonzalez about ‘pataphysics’ place in the Product Division’s relationship with art, “‘pataphysics actualizes metaphors.”
Located at 1103 Fourth Street next to Garcia’s Kitchen, doors open at 7 p.m. on the 5th. The event is free to the public. To learn more about Postcommodity and Spirit Abuse, visit their website at http://www.postcommodity.com.
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