Answers from the Artist
Answers about the 5 lightbox figures:
What/who are they?
The figures are the five different historical and cultural soldiers that participated in the battle of Puebla, the independence of Mexico in 1862.
What is the significance of their regalia?
The clothing of each soldier defines its country, race, culture and in some cases the fusion of these. The following are the names of each and their representations:
Inditio - distinguished mainly by the large hat he wears made out of palm fronds, this costume represents the indigenous who participated in the battle for independence.
Turko - (turks) are a reference to Muslim Spanish moors and are distinguished by their turbans and silk clothing on their costume.
Zacapoaxtlas - charros/mariachi reference recognized mainly by its large mariachi hat decorated with red, white, and green paper hanging from it.
Franceses - elite french troops known for wearing blue caps and royal blue capes.
Zapadores - elite Mexican class mostly identifiable by their tall Spanish colonial style helmets.
How do they factor into the show?
These figures belong to a friend who is an undocumented immigrant. This involves a dimension of cultural and political weight. The cultural aspect acknowledges the history of cultural fusions throughout Latin America which has helped me contextualize an immigrants current cultural adaptation to this country. Also the involvement of this tradition with the figurines recognizes the preservation of tradition, culture, and history that we immigrants insist on, preserving our past, history, and culture to privilege it in our present, transculturation, and our fusion into the dominant culture. The political aspect of this figures acknowledges the political tensions that were rooted during the colonization of Latin America despite independence and how these tensions still exist as hierarchy models that define an immigrant's current political, social, and economical identity/status.
An answer about the raccoon:
Why is there a raccoon on the life size figure?
The raccoon is part of the costume as a whole, the indigenous soldiers were always traveling and therefore carried food with them such as raccoon and their cooking utensils hanging below. Originally cacomixtle, Bassariscus sumichrasti, animal skin was used on the backs of the soldiers as a reference and honor to their regional patron goddess camaxtli.
Answer to to Tiempo/Kauitl Animation Question:
In the animation Tiempo/Kauitl, are the figures working together or against one another?
Here the figures are working with one another since this video takes time (past,present, and future) as three individuals interacting with each other and coexisting simultaneously in the same space, time, and dimension. I represent the present, the polygons represent the future, and the bird represents the past.