Diego Ramirez | Postcard eXotica

29 September – 15 October

Postcard eXotica comprises a series of cinematic videos re-enacting photographs appropriated from vintage American postcards depicting Mexican stereotypes. It seeks to reconfigure the Western Gaze by pastiching early cinema, contemporary pop and horror in a process of active reading. These postcards are of interest as they were produced circa The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), an event that provoked great curiosity in America and thus attracted a large number of photographers and entrepreneurs that exploited the Mexican battle for their financial gain. Consequently, these images resorted to the conventions of the Western Gaze in an effort to please a buying public. Furthermore, they responded to the threat of armed conflict by vilifying or patronizing the Mexican troops. The people depicted in these postcards, therefore, are often redolent with imprints of fear and desire. This pool of imagery is relevant to Australia as it quickly became a reference point for Hollywood productions, cartoons and advertisements that eventually gave contingency to the Mexican stereotype known to us today (violent, lazy, criminal and hypersexual). Postcard eXotica seeks to render the mechanisms of these pictures null via a tactic of re-enactment, which consists of a string of scripted free associations and cinematic pastiches based on the artist’s perceptions and misreadings of the various photographs. This idiosyncratic methodology draws its framework from pop culture theorist John Fiske’s model of productivity, which provides an account for the way in which readers transform and disrupt popular texts by formulating deviant meanings that lead to the production of novel texts.” – DIEGO RAMIREZ

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