Landlocked is my latest work in progress dealing with the themes of distance, proximity and displacement in relation to my Mexican heritage by exploring traditional gender roles in the Mexican tradition that I have personally witnessed. To explore the male and female roles in traditional Mexican culture, I have chosen two words that have been gendered female and male in the Spanish language. The words I have chosen are “mesa” (f., table) and “reloj” (m., clock)- both relating to the predetermined labor given within a family.
While studying these words and their histories and meanings as objects, my motivation for initiating the project became something to consider further. Why do I feel it is necessary to make a piece dealing with this binary of gender roles that have already been dealt with? How can this be relevant? I am beginning to realize it has much to do with my displacement from the source, whether the source is Mexico or my grandmother. It is the tension that arises from being always tethered to your upbringing and cultural heritage but at the same time physically and culturally displaced from your homeland.
The video component of the installation is investigating the relationship of “mesa” and “reloj” to the traditional gender roles made by the Mexican culture. Using the text on screen, I hope to cause the viewer to depart from the exact definition of the word and begin to understand it’s cultural impacts. I juxtapose my old home videos with video of a male and I repeating the words to relate these words directly to a history. The cement block with the wet sponge alludes to the spaces and actions of the gendered labor. The pile of dirt is dirt from my backyard in Texas, acting as a metaphor for the pieces of my homeland I carry with me, but the displacement of those pieces that I maintain.