ARTIST STATEMENT - In Search of the Mago

The impetus for my artistic vision is my desire to push the boundaries that exist between politics and art. As a multimedia artist, my interests include challenging the audience to think in new and unconventional ways with regard to “what art is.”  A common goal of my art projects involves integrating diverse artistic practices to examine reflections of the past with the intent of exploring new understandings of the present.

In Search of the Mago, is my most recent collaborative, performance-based, documentary project.  It is based on a series of interactive dialogues and photographs that humorously examine how social networking participants unknowingly became instrumental in developing the storyline for a canine's quest to find the Fourth Wiseman, the grantor of wishes to animals, "El Cuarto Mago.”  In this project, the canine Goldie Garcia is my dog.  She is an actual dog, but on Facebook she is a character with her own identity.

In a very unique way, In Search of the Mago became an unexpected art project that evolved in the spirit of Fluxus, an art movement of the 1960s where audience members become collaborators and performers in the art piece.  I never intended or planned for Goldie’s Facebook Page to become an art piece.  Interestingly enough, it did.

Goldie’s virtual life in Facebook, became a playground for various artistic endeavors that blur the link between reality and fantasy.  Projects from this body of work include various media installations, a video, and a blog.  Each project is designed to break away from the traditional conventions of storytelling. They are the result of what happens when different media intersects in an unscripted manner and are fully intended to critically examine Fluxus ideas in the 21st century while examining fiction and reality and the relatoinship between public and private spaces.


WHO IS GOLDIE?

Goldie García is a charming canine who uses voice/thought recognition software to communicate with her Facebook friends. Her human masters have limited her Facebook activities and have forbidden her from playing the entrancing and potentially addictive Internet game known as FarmVille. One day to Goldie’s indignation and utter dismay, she discovered her human father, Carlos García, enjoying the very game she had been banned from playing! She remained unappeased during his many attempts to explain why he could play the delicious game and she could not. Goldie wanted a “real” farm for Christmas.

Carlos informed Goldie that Santa could not grant her wish, because she is merely a dog. In an effort at levity, he recounted an old story that his mother once told him about the existence of a Fourth Wiseman with the power to grant the wishes of los animales, animals like herself. Goldie must find the Fourth Wiseman or el Cuarto Mago to achieve her dream of a real farm. According to Goldie, aliens erased her memory during an aborted abduction attempt and her past history remains shrouded in mystery. Hazy recollections of her previous life have surfaced from time to time and have reinforced Goldie’s certainty that she once lived on a “real” farm. This certainty has fueled her determined desire to recover her past, to connect it with her current life, and to realize her heart’s desire.

Unaware that Carlos was simply “pulling her tail,” Goldie immediately embarked on a journey to find the Fourth Wiseman and enlisted the help of her Facebook friends along the way. The canine’s friendship circle developed quickly and the boundaries between human and dog soon became blurred. Goldie’s friends came from various backgrounds and unknowingly became instrumental to the storyline.

Through a series of impromptu conversations and posts, Goldie eventually found the Fourth Wiseman and achieved her dream of owning a farm. However, the amount of work required to maintain a farm quickly overwhelmed her and her initial enthusiasm diminished somewhat. Goldie then began a quest to raise money to support her farm with an online business known as Goldie’s Online Store. However due to a series of unplanned events, family matters took precedence in “real” time and her farm life and city activities were temporarily set aside. Finally, Goldie’s story takes on a new direction and she confronts the unexpected.

It is my hope, that everyone will post comments on the guestbook on Good Girl Goldie's blog.


CURATOR STATEMENT - Ann Marie Leimer

Over the past eighteen years, López García has produced a comprehensive body of multimedia, installation, and performance-based work that interrogates complex issues of identity, examines the connections and disruptions among religions and ceremonial traditions, and celebrates visual storytelling. In Glass Houses (1997), the artist designed an interactive website containing thirty-two linked screens that questions the process of assimilation and records the messages, fears, and secrets families pass to their children.  López García uses the Internet as a framework to interrogate a suburban bicultural identity and to portray the evolution of her identity from Mexican to Mexican-American to Chicana.

In 2001, López García produced a fictional story, From the Garden, with texts and images for the exhibition Cuatro: Form + Light in Cyberspace. From the Garden, based on an earlier work by Isabel de la Peña, recounts a young woman’s coming of age narrative while burdened with the moniker Guadalupe María Santos. In Life Cycles: Reflections of Change and A New Hope for Future Generations (2006), López García documented seven immigrant and migrant farmworker families in the Coachella Valley and demonstrated their impact on the social landscape of Southern California. The photographer visually described their lives in collective family portraits supplemented with a series of individual images of the families to present a 21st century perspective on the migrant farmworker experience. In addition, she interviewed the participants and included the text of their stories next to the photographic portrayals in an interactive website which also features a video collection, Cultural Crossings.

López García produced her most recent work, In Search of the Mago, expressly for ¡Adelante Siempre! and Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow. This performance-based, multimedia project consists of storyboards, mixed media installations, an interactive website, digital displays, video, a photographic portrait of the work’s central character, and a gift store. The multimedia project centers on the story of a real life canine and her fictional Internet identity, Goldie García, created by the artist and serving as her alter ego in cyberspace. Through the use of contemporary technology and social networking sites such as Facebook, the artist entwines the spectator in a complex and interconnected environment of computers, digital projections, instant messages, blogs, and on-line communities that document and produce Goldie’s journey to find the Mago or Wiseman who has the power to realize Goldie’s heart’s desire. The project blurs the boundaries of the museum walls and allows the viewer to simultaneously inhabit actual and virtual space by entering the website blog and Facebook in real time through the use of a personal cell phone or any device with Internet access. López García’s work poses challenging questions on the significance of virtual space, the impact of social networking sites on public and private behavior, and on the nature of contemporary society.

Jacalyn López García was born in Monrovia, California to a Mexican-American father (Henry Lee Lopez) from Las Animas, Colorado and a Mexican mother (Sara Quiroz Lopez) from Colonia Dublán in Chihuahua. She grew up in Santa Ana and was educated in the Santa Ana Unified School District. The artist first became interested in photography through her husband’s business, García Advertising, where she served as his darkroom assistant. She received her Bachelor of Arts from University of California, Riverside in Studio Art and Photography in 1997 and her Master of Fine Arts in Multimedia and Photography from Claremont Graduate University in 1999. López García currently works as a photography instructor at the Institute for Arts and Multimedia at Los Angeles Mission College, Riverside Community College and College of the Desert in Palm Desert, California. She has received the California Council for the Humanities Grant in 2005, Latino Net’s Artistic and Community Achievement Award in 2006, as well as Senator Barbara Boxer’s Leadership Award also in 2006. López García’s work has been published in Gary Keller’s groundbreaking two-volume work titled Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art from 2001 and in his equally important Chicano Art for Our Millennium from 2004, and her work has received critical local, national and international recognition. Her photographs have been collected by the Long Beach Museum of Art, the California Museum of Photography, the Hispanic Research Center of Arizona State University at Tempe, the University of California, Riverside, and the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California.


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