Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Legacies of XicanOSMOSIS and Latina/o Eyegiene

There is a certain schizophrenic aesthetic afoot amidst the pages of Tex[t]-Mex. While the book attends to the evolution of certain semantic traces--the way "Mexicans" figure as a kind of shorthand for sexuality in American pop culture--it is also very much focused on semiotic tendencies and aberrations: in particular, visual monstrosities or "ethnic mannequins" that pass for Mexicans in U.S. mass culture. The last movements of the book identify a process of xicanOSMOSIS found at the semiotic/semantic crossroads, the word/image verge of Mexico and the U.S.--the term, a hard-wrought, annoying-for-some neologism, fuses the dna of Osmosis, from the biological sciences, with Xicano/a, a purposed, agit-prop, spelling-supplementation holdover from the 1970s Chicana/o movimiento.

XicanOSMOSIS is not hard to grasp; in the book, I use it as a description for characterizing what happens when the visual and literary cultures of Mexico and U.S. fuse in the melting pot of the Americas--Gilbert Hernandez's rendition of the life of Frida Kahlo is the example foregrounded in the book.

All this preamble to direct you to the amazing archival/aesthetic work of Enrique Soto Eguibar from Mexico. His site, at zonezero.com, is well worth the price (free!) of admission. Soto Eguibar's eye, fitted with an almost steroid-infused sense of irony chronicles a flaneur's take on the streets of Mexico and combines it with an artist photographer's gifts of composition.

My favorite!?

Rough Translation: "Only MY chicharones (fried pork rinds) will make a sound around here" which can be rendered as "the buck stops here" or "I rule this roost!"

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