The purpose of my arts practice is to present a theoretical addition to the topic of indigenous knowledge systems – to contribute to indigenous cultural self-determination through practice and pedagogy – and to exhibit/perform art works that embody and communicate an indigenous world-view connecting to social, cultural, political, economic, and geographic spheres. My intentions are expressed through co-intentional cross-cultural collaborations with indigenous community members, artists, and scholars. Together, our purpose is to consider the development of media theories and practices based upon indigenous epistemology, ontology, and axiology. We believe these indigenous media theories and practices lead to new ceremonies requiring old and new media for the purposes of indigenous emergence in a digital age. Our indigenous media is a critique and decentering of western ideologies of technology that grip the status quo.
My art and scholarship function to complicate, extend, and add to discourse regarding old and new media innovations by indigenous peoples. I am interested in Xicano Rasquache and Native American Reuse traditions as innovation spaces. These indigenous traditions are characterized as the adaptive reuse, recycling, hacking, circuit-bending, and systems modifications of pervasive foreign technologies and literacies. These practices are tactically positioned by indigenous peoples for the creation of semiotic vehicles, implements, and spaces that mediate culture by means of aesthetics, literacies, and utility. Using an informal learning approach, my collaborators and I often use Xicano Rasquache, and Native American Appropriation and Adaptive Reuse frameworks to perform cultural work in our communities. This is to understand and implement best practices of media for indigenous self-determination.
Photo Above: Resolana Ayoyote Rattle - Ceremonial rattle that supports dialogues with oratory that are augmented with image and sound.
My perspectives derive from my Xicano cultural background, scholarship in indigenous knowledge systems, and my indigenous media arts practice. My “tecno” way of being derives from my Northern New Mexican Mestizo heritage, and the responsibilities I have towards my community and the communities that I work for. Through my work, I collaborate as a member of groups to achieve meaningful designs and applications of indigenous media within local communities and the contemporary art world. We do this through the exercise of cultural and rhetorical sovereignty, and cross-cultural partnerships based on co-intentionality and reciprocity. This is to cultivate the emergence of new indigenous frameworks and theories enabling the creation/control of meaning and the practice of culture (indigenous re-imagined ceremony) by indigenous peoples through medium and media.
- Cristóbal Martínez / Christopher Martinez