Postcommodity on syncretized worldviews
Postcommodity is an interdisciplinary arts collective comprised of Cristóbal Martínez and Kade L. Twist.
if you believe
is the just
then let us gather
in the light of day
as human beings3
oil fields &
the last time
the last time
of kit foxes
if you could
sit with someone
what you have
if you could
sit with desire
what if you
in this contested
space & shared
as if your
as if meaning
of the same
rock & reed
as if power
within the gap
and what they
1Cosmovisión is an electronic musical instrument by Postcommodity, and played via interactive video interface and interaction mechanics.
2With Cosmovisión, players navigate/negotiate an intersubjective field for co-determining meaning. This process is mediated through structured socio-cognitive interactions with place-based sonic media that the players themselves sample and share with each other.
3Four people are required to jointly activate and play Cosmovisión as public (e.g., community) performance. This instrument is designed to broaden participation; therefore, no previous experience in playing a musical instrument or performing live music is necessary.
4Postcommodity’s intention is to tour Cosmovisión throughout the Western Hemisphere in order to listen to diverse groups define the concept “American” in the context of all the Americas. The collective’s aspiration is to listen to and recover sonic knowledge from West and East and South and North regardless of latitudes and longitudes.
5With Cosmovisión, a given group of players who live within the same locale use a shared ontological earconography to extemporaneously express to each other and their audience a multidimensional and co-determined cognitive map of the shared land by which they live together. They do this by acknowledging the place they call home via their individual perceptions, but through a listening and ceremonial protocol requiring the performers to use their creativity and imaginations to empathetically see themselves in each other. The protocols that Postcommodity embeds in Cosmovisión are from the indigenous knowledge rooted in how the collective’s artists were raised.
6On the topic of sound, a timely question emerges for art institutions, indigenous artists, and non-indigenous artists: is the history of Western art one of silence? If you, the reader, were to walk into any museum in the world to engage contemporary art, you would experience its contribution to hundreds of thousands of square feet of structural silence. With such an observation, one must ask: is this structured silence a neglect of sound, a powerful weapon, or John Cage’s 4’33”? What other questions might we consider, when the canonization of art production and curatorial practice have often eliminated one of the most powerful human sensory experiences from the palette of art history? Are we to think that the taxonomical and anthropological drive of arts patrons, arts professionals, and artists themselves, to be singularly obedient to visual media, is more powerful than the drive to be inclusive of a ubiquitous and publicly shared natural phenomena like sound? These questions are rhetorical indeed, but not to be dismissed since, to Postcommodity’s experience, they are analogous to the general and great lack of diverse worldviews in art.
7Players collaboratively perform Cosmovisión with the objectives of establishing respectful/reciprocal relationships, intentional/thoughtful/deep listening, co-determined meaning, shared knowledge, group consensus, and syncretized worldviews. The goal for achieving these objectives is to accomplish sonority, or a joint achievement of sound that is determined by the instrument’s protocols for syncretizing the worldviews represented by a given diverse group of performers.
8How did Western civilization end up with institutions—representing billions of dollars of leveraged capital and resources—that collectively stage something as unnatural as objectified silence as if it were the bedrock of civilization? There have always been technologies available for generating sound.
9Cosmovisión is a complex metaphorical system through which Postcommodity intends to make clear the importance of dialogue and our hemispherical relationships to each other.
10Postcommodity needs the increasing support of art institutions and publics to achieve its art. The collective leads with works of art and discourses that help determine this current period of art history. It is committed to building upon its legacy of social and political engagement cemented by work like Repellent Fence/Valla Repelente. But to leverage the productive power of generative and socially engaged concepts like Cosmovisión, Postcommodity requires, now more than ever, even greater levels of support than it has encountered in the past. It is Postcommodity’s time to use Cosmovisión to take up the mantle that mestizo artist Juan Downey left behind for us all to interrogate, complicate, decenter, extend, and imagine about the Americas. The collective will follow his lead with its innovations and needs your support. All that remains to be determined is whether Postcommodity will be championed in the ways its white counterparts have throughout history and in contemporary times. It also remains to be seen whether the art world will continue to privilege the individual, siloes, and myths of the genius, or if it will eventually recognize the vocational achievement of sustained collective collaboration and the productive achievements of those who embody the ontologies required for such success. We argue that our perspective and the practices we model in art will undoubtedly be required for community organizing and human survival during the unprecedented challenges that are now upon us. We must educate ourselves in good faith about each other, and learn how to listen and speak to one another constructively.
This essay is part of CREATIVE FUTURES, a series of provocations by thinkers across the arts, documentary, and journalism on how to reimagine their sectors.