Friday, October 15, 2021

Ocean Prototype Nights: Reclaiming Native Waterways, from the Kumeyaay Coast to Lake Cahuilla ICA North, Birch Aquarium & Old Town

 By Patricia Frischer

Click this link to watch all of this 3 part virtual presentation.

Part 1: Kumeyaay tule boats (ha kwaiyo) link land and sea, past and present in the Kumeyaay language and culture revitalization movement.

Stanley Rodriguez, in dialog with Amy Sara Carroll and Nan Renner at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Professor Rodriquez was truly an elegant spokesperson who brought to life the charm and sincerity of the Kumeyaay people. He explained how the native language is in severe danger of being lost. This can be prevented not by teaching it like English. It has to be emersion training of the young. In their culture every place is a school. Learning is all the time and hands on. You do, to learn, and you do together in a community and holistically. He spoke of the importance of water above and water below being a spiritual reality. Having a good cry is cleansing. Tears are salty like the ocean. He was so poetic and funny and authentic. He passionately cares about passing this experience on to the younger generation so it does not die.

Rodriquez used his native language to show and tell about fishing for sea urchin, abalone, lobster, starfish, sand crabs, shrimp, grunion all caught with line made of yucca  plants, with rock weights and fish bone hooks in tule boats.  Traps were made with willow. They used to fish for whale with harpoons that had paralyzing poison on their tips. In September of this year, they launched 22 tule boats made by family and volunteers.  This is the first time tule boats were on the bay in 100 years.

Stanley Rodriguez with some of the samples at Scripps Birch Aquarium

An acorn gathering basket, set up on logs so the bottom will not rot.  Material gathered for the boats. 

20 tule boats ready to launch

An anonymous artist catches the scene, most appropriately in water color

Part 2: Kumeyaay coiled weaving, from baskets (some made of pine needles) to fishnets, show artistry and ingenuity, drawing from a varied terrain from the coast to the Colorado River.

In contrast Martha Rodriguez, was in dialog with Ricardo Dominguez and Lisa Cartwright  to take us on a tour of the Kosay Kumeyaay Market. This was hard to hear and see, which means to really experience it you need to go to Old Town where you can find not only find baskets but ceramics and rattles, paintings, stone work, and abalone jewelry. Some of the tule boats are stored here.

Part 3: Position Vector Salton Sea measures the rapid disappearance of the Salton Sea on tribal lands (site of ancient Lake Cahuilla) in a site-specific art installation created by the Torres Martinez Cahuilla Desert Indian Tribal Community in partnership with land artist Hans Baumann. Documentation is on view at Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego/North (ICA North) until Nov 14, 2021.

Hans Baumann in dialog with James Nisbet, Manuel Schvartzberg Carrió and Joe Riley at the ICA North was unfortunately filled with a bit too much art speak. But the project is so worthwhile and it appears that the students taught the artist quite a bit about thinking in a different way about land and sea.   The Collective of 40 students worked to build large cauldrons out of clay to mark the disappearing of the water from the sea. These were so large that they were fired on site by building fires within. The young people were also challenged to make a communal drawing of the tribal land that started in the present, imagined the future and then imagined the past. The exhibition at ICA North has artifacts, film, photography and these drawings. There was a discussion about the political nature of land ownership as well as information about why the Salton Sea shrinks and comes back.

Estimate of how the the shore will recede by 2030

Photo only a few weeks apart, showing a ladder near the shore, and it's current location

Firing the clay

Marking the recession of the water over time.

Installation view at ICA North

Note: This was a virtual event in three parts which is part of an ongoing series called Ocean Prototype Nights, which is in turn a UC San Diego Navigating the Pacific project anticipating Getty Pacific Standard Time "Art + Science" 2024. It is produced by Paolo Zuñiga and hosted and sponsored by UC San Diego Visual Arts, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, Institute of Arts and Humanities, Design Lab, and the Getty Foundation.

There are six live-streamed evening dialogs twice a quarter from October through June about the Navigating the Pacific project, as well as a dozen 3-year artist-scientist-scholar collaborations about oceanographic and Indigenous ocean art and science. They will culminate in 2024, in rolling exhibitions at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and the Geisel Library.

Part of the Getty Pacific Standard Time 2024 regional collaboration of exhibitions, this year themed Graphic Ocean and Navigating the Pacific, there are forthcoming publication and exhibitions promoting intersections between art and science around oceanic conservation, contestation, and communities of practice. These dialogs are "prototypes" in the sense that they show ideas in progress. See for art/science projects in development at UC San Diego as part of Getty Pacific Standard Time 2024 exhibitions.

No comments:

Post a Comment