2021 Juan Cisneros Neumann

created with indexhibit

The Georgia Viaduct and the Unceded Territories
Guajillo and Pasilla chiles, oil, beeswax and turpentine on paper, 15 x 8 feet

During my first couple of years living in Vancouver I used to calm my anxious body by ingesting a can of chipotle peppers brought from México. The peppers inside were particularly hot. My bodies' temperature increased considerably, I would cry, and I would hyperventilate to control the burning sensation in my tongue. I remember my body calming down considerably and feeling somehow safe after the effects of the chipotle.
Chiles represent an intrinsic aspect of life in the central region of the Americas. The fruit usually accompanies meals to add flavour, or a kick some might say. To some, these ingredients are always meant to be kept away, and are hardly withstood due to its everlasting effect. To some others, these ingredients are a necessity to satisfy the flavour and add a few degrees of temperature to their palates. Chile Guajillo is commonly used in Mexican dishes to create flavourful broths and salsas, while chile Pasilla is usually added as a garnish to combine with the rest of the ingredients. These two chiles are commonly found in the recipe for tortilla soup, which is usually served with avocado, añejo cheese and cream.
This project is meant to connect the faces with the names that were given to the streets of Vancouver. The large piece of paper rested for a hot day over a patch of grass next to the Georgia Viaduct, in the corner of Union and Main Street. The Georgia Viaduct was built in the 1970's as an incentive to modernize the city and create a freeway that would connect downtown Vancouver to the suburbs. This never happened. The proposed project wanted to destroy most of the south side of Strathcona and indeed managed to wipe out the old neighbourhood popularly known as Hogan's Alley. Hogan's Alley consisted in large part of minority and immigrant groups; it gave home to Vancouver's black community.
The city of Vancouver (built on Unceded Coast Salish Territories) has proposed a few times to get rid of the Viaduct, but up until now has met with problems along the way. These problems involve the gentrification of neighbourhoods and the displacement of its inhabitants to name a few. The faces of Chinatown and Strathcona lie under an uncertain future.

interior view

A Taco is a taco is a taco is a taco is a taco
charcoal and vinyl lettering on paper, 12 x 9 feet

"Everyone enjoys a good taco. Flavours range from Pastor, Suadero, Bistec and the world famous Campechano. There are also a few vegetarian options like cactus or poblano peppers. After a night of drinking, taquerías will be swarming with hungry people looking for a good reason to sober up or hide the alcoholic scent under a perfume of cilantro and fresh onions. When Tenochtitlán was discovered, people where already eating tacos. Back then they where not known as tacos. Most likely, people recognized the meal as whatever was inside of the tortilla. The tortilla, a spoon that functioned as well as a plate was sometimes misrecognized by european settlers as a surface that held meat but was not edible. In some cases the meat was eaten and the tortilla was later discarded. Slowly but surely the taco has become a well known commodity. An object of pure desire. A symbol of identity and a welcoming and all encompassing cultural support. Hence the slogan: A Taco is a taco is a taco is a taco is a taco..."

ink on graph paper, repurposed frame bought at Value Village, 7 x 8.5 in, caption reads: "There is a tortillaness to this object"

Considering Social Practice, Craft and Aesthetics
Gel pens on paper, scanned, vectorized, colour added digitally, 11 x 17 in