QUEER AND TRANS ARCHAEOLOGY LIVES WITHIN THE DETERIORATIONS OF HISTORY; TO EXCAVATE IS TO DESTROY
THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE HOOD ONCE HOME AND NOW EXPLOITED HERE.
RECOGIENDO PASOS, WE WALK THE STREETS TO RETRACE AND FORGET OUR MEMORIES AS WE FORESEE OUR DEATH. POLTERGEISTS EAT THROUGH WALLS AND QUAKE THE GROUND.
EL PASADO AÚN ESTÁ VIVO. BACTERIOMANCY, MY ROTTING BODY, BECOMES THE
WORK OF ART.
SEX DECAY IS OUR RESISTANCE; THE DECOMPOSITION PROCESSES OF OUR MOVEMENTS ARE THE BUILDING SURVIVAL
IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT.
Part of without architecture, there would be no stonewall; without architecture, there would be no “brick”. Special thanks to Junior Fernandez, S Rodriguez, Farrah Fang, Matt Flores. Photo documentation by Tere Garcia
"without architecture, there would be no stonewall; without architecture, there would be no “brick” is a curatorially driven series of actions by a group of multidisciplinary artists whose practices are rooted in critiquing the convergence of politics and the built environment. The series draws from the unrecorded history of Mary’s Naturally, a legendary Houston gay bar and one of the oldest in Texas by the time of its permanent closing in November 2009. From Houston’s “Stonewall equivalent” to a “coffeehouse with gourmet, barista-made drinks, home-baked goods & light fare in an industrial space,” Mary’s redevelopment is a revealing allegory exposing the politics embedded within the built environment of the gay village. The exhibition series is set to occur every June at the former Mary’s outback, now a paved parking lot, running alongside the citywide and national gay pride month commemoration of the Stonewall uprising. The continual reactivation of the site also recalls and functions as a continuation of early AIDS mourning practices and works to materialize, if only briefly, the inscribed trauma of what we cannot see. The Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of GLBT History estimates that as many as 300 people were laid to rest or had their ashes scattered at the exhibition site."
(2021) Junior Fernandez & S Rodriguez
to excavate is to destroy
time since/before death,
Transfer of memories through microorganisms by touch from public architectural space and cultivated into Petri purses.
to excavate is to destroy refers to a phrase used in archaeology, in which the act of excavating the past is at the same time always destroying it in some shape or form. This phrase inspires the performance as a type of burglary at nighttime, where a team of burglars enter the site of what was once Mary’s Naturally. The burglars are not interested in breaking inside the building but instead “steal” the microorganisms living on the surface of it. This is done by using a set of Petri dishes made out of acrylic purses worn by the burglars - they touch and feel the architecture space, the walls, lamp posts, and concrete then transfer bacteria and fungi picked up by their hands into the purses. I climb and sit on top of the building’s roof corner looking out on the passing traffic and elevated luxury high-rises, reminiscing an onlooker or apparition. The bacteria burglars obscure their identities by wearing handmade masks illuminating nahuālli, or shapeshifting shamans and spirits amongst the grounds of Mary’s. We destroy the architecture by cultivating microorganisms associated with the processes of decomposition, we hold the microbial memories of Mary’s site that have inhabited it throughout time.
"The relations between an object of the past being sacrilegiously effected by excavation. Lartigue’s understanding that the linear narrative of capitalist history is not omnipotent (i.e. the bacteria burglars not desiring to actually break inside the coffee shop) or history as akin to strict religious indoctrination. Lartigue’s vantage point from the roof—omnipresent gaze over the city’s history—of violent capitalist architecture is the demonic proposal." (2021) Matt Flores
Similar to previous piece El pasado aún está vivo (resurrected city) microorganisms are cultivated inside Petri dish-like purses from the architectural structure. I wear Xipe Totec leotard, the sacrificial-wearing flayed priest and deity associated with bacterial and viral diseases, as I press my soles against the agar of the petri purses, also cultivating the bacteria and fungi picked up by my shoes.