︎ full video

chalk straight line reel
construction lights
text projection
blue lightbulbs
tin roofing
blue tarps

The word chronic implies a feeling that is constantly, uninterruptedly with you. It is something that you live with, something that you carry within. It is difficult to measure and recognize since its persistence infiltrates your being to the extent that you no longer understand when it’s controlling you. Although the word chronic is commonly associated with physical pain, the concept of CHRONIC ISLANDISM investigates how colonialism transcends from the body to the psyche. I coined the term “melancolonia” to describe this phenomenon amongst Puerto Ricans, stemming from the cyclical nature of exploitation and neglect that is politically masked by changing circumstances. But do not be fooled by gaslit codependency; the foundational motivations for maintaining colonial grips are the same.

CHRONIC ISLANDISM is like having a word at the tip of your tongue, like a restless leg, like being stuck in the setting of tumble dry low... dizzy, disoriented, and shriveled like a prune, waiting for Uncle’s quarters to run out. The loop is the anticlimax, like being on the constant verge of orgasm. There is no cure, rather there are cultural treatments to numb the pain.

No cure insinuates no resolution, a dissonant proposition motivated by the Dada movement, and more recently Black Dada. Dada tends to be quite nihilistic, using nonsense and absurdity to challenge the capitalist world that has led to colonial missions and wars. Concrete Poetry, on the other hand, attempts to engender peace and reconstruction. Both strategies are used in the text compositions to create visual infrastructures that question the authority of language and the power of verbal manipulation, a reality faced by colonial entities that seldom dictate their own story and are subject to the mercy of the empire’s archives. The tension of both movements existing simultaneously in my practice parallels the incongruence of Puerto Rico's status. Lack of trust in record-keeping can only proclaim the validity of considering the subjective testimonial as truth, since fact and fiction are blurred even through “official” standards. Although this all sounds devoid of hope, a chronic state of dissonance and subjectivity is actually a space of infinite possibilities.

installation in ERES gallery 

installation in Westbeth Gallery, curated by Kathleen Forde