Broadcast from a Serpent-Headed Spaceship is not so much a specific work or project, but rather functions as a framework encapsulating a number of associated and iterative performances, music making sessions, lectures, research imperatives, and image/text presentations undertaken by Josh Rios and Anthony Romero over the last year. Several key concepts guiding Broadcast include: Latinxfutursim, the novels and drawings of Ernest Hogan, avant-garde electronic noise, psychedelic counterculture, the University of Chicago glass lantern slide collection, mediation, the Doctor Who episode "The Aztecs" (as well as other elements, approaches, and concerns dealing with Science Fiction, Speculative Histories, Ficto-Critical Interventions, The U.S.-Mexico Border, and Latin America). What follows is documentation of several moments where the research and production circulating these guiding concepts was made public for an audience of some kind.
Images from Doctor Who series, The Aztecs (1964)
|The Latino Art Now Conference (2016)|
Selection from Broadcast from a Serpent-Headed Spaceship delivered at the Latino Art Now Conference (2016)
I see you on the screen traveling from time to time, with the ease of fiction and the persuasion of film. How do I convince you—a moving picture—that even as a fantastical zone conjured in the mind time does not belong to everyone equally, least of all the future. Who will be integrated into the image of what is to come, more likely to benefit from its production? Who will haunt the future, as they haunt the past? Made, rather than given, the tomorrows of our imagination are full of veiled and naturalized social agreements, including who gets to inhabit the future and in what capacities. And if the future seems to be commonsensical know that “The apparent clarity of common sense is corrupt with ideology and can only be countered by defamiliarization in thought and language;” know that “You cannot learn, through common sense, how things are: you can only discover where they fit into the existing scheme of things.” Above all the future is not certain. It is a process turned back on itself in a teleological obscuring, an assemblage of coordinates molded into a whole. “The future is not an obvious concept, but a cultural construction and projection.” Specific strains of speculative fiction can perform a great service by offering critical and creative visions of the future, which engage the legacies and latencies of asymmetrical relations of power. In particular, postcolonial science fiction acknowledges the existing socio-political schemes of the here-and-now, while providing an opening onto the imaginary. Whether a text is postcolonial science fiction depends largely on how it addresses power, a fact more central than the generally accepted tropes of space exploration, time travel, military adventure, and alien contact. I ask myself, do I see myself. How alien will I be in the future?The power of recognition, to witness one’s cultural interests acknowledged within expansive novels and filmic narratives, is exceedingly important for the creation of self. We cannot begin to fully inhabit tomorrow when our narratives do not exist today. Granted, the politics of representation should not be confused for the politics of action. At the same time, I cannot diminish your importance as a tool. “Dominant and subordinate groups battle over norms and resources, with dominant groups seeking to engineer consent through the production of representational systems.” While there is a difference between political action and the circulation of symbols, no pure zones exist. Image systems are deeply intertwined in all aspects of life. “If the social machine manufactures representations it also manufactures itself from representation.” You make the world and are made by the world. Expansive novels, films, and other symbol systems may all be illusory, but they are never merely illusion. They aid in the creation “of a class of devalued persons” and “an institutionalized social relation.” I look at you; I see the savage Aztec, the progenitive emblem of the violent barbarian. I see myself. One way to short out the future as a repetition of past schemes of domination and misrecognition is to imagine more images of more futures, to imagine them now, to make new symbols of new counterfactual truths, new mytho-historical interventions, new ficto-critical texts.
Documentation of Performance for A Government of Times.
Animations made from the Mesoamerican glass lantern slide archive of the University of Chicago now housed at the Stony Island Arts Bank.
Documentation of performance lecture at Stony Island Arts Bank
Collection of early science fiction magazines where Chicano SF progenitor, Ernest Hogan, published essays, fiction, and illustrations.
Documentation of set up for performance lecture at the Black Oak House in Philadelphia (2017)
Four short animated films using the University of Chicago archive of Mesoamerican glass lantern slides. Scored with original music, manipulated sounds, and sections of the poem, Yo Soy Joaquin, by Corky Gonzales.