Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mazdâ - Aïsha Devi [Review, Interview, Audio, & Visual]

Interview by Daisy Jones, Featuring Artist Aïsha Devi

Release Date: 2015
Album: Of Matter and Spirit
Genre: Experimental Techno
Style: Abstract Ethereal Techno

JaeOhEsH- I found this song and video after listening to Amnesia Scanner on Youtube, it was referred to me and just the visual thumbnail showing the performance directed by Chinese artist Tianzhuo Chen was enough for me to decide that I would be sharing this video and piece of music. There’s a lot of meaning in the visuals that are accompanied by the high pitched vocals and electronic techno structures. I strongly recommend this piece to any human that has the ability to press play, and without a doubt Aïsha Devi’s answers about artistic process and beliefs in this interview are really quiet impressive and extraordinary.

Daisy Jones: High-pitched, candy-coated vocals, shimmering synth lines and heart-thumping bass are stitched over images of near-naked people wearing rubber masks, drooling at each other and munching on the carcass of a raw chicken in this completely off-the-wall music video for Aïsha Devi’s electro masterpiece “Mazdâ”. If the video, which was directed by Chinese artist Tianzhuo Chen, feels overwhelming, then that might be because it’s so heavy with reference points that they all eventually bleed into one multi-coloured, iconoclastic creation. With symbols such as third eyes, the shiva, swastikas (a sign that was used universally before it was hijacked by the Nazis) and Sadhu ritualism, it can be hard to keep up. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to. We speak to Aïsha Devi so she can tell us more…

Daisy Jones : “This video makes me feel insane! Tell me about the ideas behind it.”

Aïsha Devi: For me, it started with a crush on Tianzhuo Chen’s work, who is the artist who made it. When I saw some of his artwork I totally fell in love. It was so powerful. A lot of the symbols he uses in his work, I use too, symbols that have a religious background but are used in a very iconoclastic way. These ideas corresponded exactly to what I was trying to do in music. So I wrote him an email and he also felt the same connection. We’ll probably continue collaborating together – this is just the beginning. He practices Tibetan Buddhism and he really uses his body as an expression and works on the limits of his body. It’s very close to bondage. But instead of inflicting suffering on your body for spectacle, it’s for enlightenment – which I feel a lot of this video is about.

Daisy Jones: Do you feel like the sound of your music has those same religious, or spiritual ideas?

Aïsha Devi: For me, religion is dogma, tyranny and mind control. If you see the application of religion it manipulates the masses, but also religion is about exclusion. Spirituality is about inclusion. It’s about including every single being in one form. I’m absolutely monist. I think that religions try and make us ignorant and worship icons that are images and outside of yourself. But if you drop this, you start working on your inside. All you can work on is your own energy. When I’m singing I’m in a meditative state and I’m mixing mantras and I’m working on the frequency of my voice more than the significance of the words. After a while, the repetition makes you lose the sense of the words and you come to a state of serenity. In Western Europe, we love words and we love a message. To me, pop music is so connected with advertisement and the format is so close to propaganda. I like to get away from that pop format and transcend that square vision of European music.

Daisy Jones: There is something very meditative about this track in particular – in it’s rhythms and repetition. 

Aïsha Devi: Meditation started as inspirational and then it became a method. I was an outcast and grew up very solitarily and depressed with no friends. When I started art school I met some people that helped me reconcile with humans and I realised that I was not the only person on earth. I was anorexic for fifteen years and had eczema all over my body. But when I started meditating, that all went away – which was a revelation. It was a healing process. Music was already a healing process for me and meditation was also healing. Then both methods merged and became one thing. Now when I make and perform music it feels like a transcendent form of expression, and a healing method.

Daisy Jones: Your new album Of Matter and Spirit is out today. What does it sound like?

Aïsha Devi: I know what I’d like to achieve with it, but I have no idea what it sounds like. I never listen to my music. It feels weird to listen back. But I think it’s very different to anything I’ve done before. I wanted to do something that was conceptually relevant. It’s called, ‘Of matter and spirit’ because I think we’ve lost the balance between the materialistic, external things and the spiritual, internal things because capitalists want us to only believe in what we buy and see and what we have in our hands, which isn’t true.

AS EP - Amnesia Scanner [Album Review & Preview]

Article by Kevin Lozano
Release Date: March 25
Genre: Experimental
Style: Experimental Electronic, Experimental EDM

JaeOhEsH- This is a project that can find itself heavily embodied by experimentation of mutilated vocal samples in addition of new sound waves and stylized sounds but more importantly one can still find this project in queue at a rave dance club, begging crowds to dance frantically and wildly through the organized chaos.

Lozano- The Berlin duo Amnesia Scanner make electronic music that feels both organic and alienatingly futuristic. Even at its most mordant, AS somehow remains accessible and exciting, uncomfortable music you can dance to.  The "mysterious European producer" gambit is a standard and well-rehearsed gimmick by now, with varying degrees of success: For every Burial you have 100 snide SOPHIEs. Berlin twosome Amnesia Scanner arrive in front of us with a terse press release, full of mystery. They are self-described "Xperienz Designers," but they refuse to give any “explanations" for what that means. Instead, they provide the curious schmuck who’s opened their PR email with six unnamed hyperlinks. As you click along, a pitch of absurdity slowly builds, moving from reviews of their work in multiple languages (English, Japanese, German), to a suspicious zip file hosted on Mediafire, and finally the homepage for the Protein Data Bank, an archive for three-dimensional models of biological molecules (proteins, nucleic acids, and the like). Amnesia Scanner's website, too, is a cacophonous visual medley. Their Twitter and Facebook pages don’t offer much. We know they are affiliated with Berlin’s Janus collective (Lotic, M.E.S.H., Kablam). They contributed to “An Exit” from Holly Herndon’s Platform, and they produced a very interesting Mykki Blanco track two years ago. So there it is, a skeleton of biography. Was the journey worth it? The music would have to be surpassingly vivid to stand out from its surrounding rhetoric. Luckly, the gumshoe Google chase matches the music, which feels like a puzzle that might kill you once you’ve solved it.  By the numbers, AS is misleadingly brief. The six tracks total to a slim 21 minutes, but as a whole the album feels much longer that that. Each of the songs is prefaced by "AS" ("AS Wood Gas," for example), which either signifies a contraction of the band’s name or one half of an unfinished metaphor. Titles like "AS Atlas" or "AS Chingy" just add another level of interpretative chaos. They beg the question of whether or not the song is supposed to embody the object it references. More likely than not, it’s another trap door. Is it possible that they sample late '90s pop-rap superstar Chingy in "AS Chingy"? That might have to be a mystery for another day. Describing the music of AS is similarly difficult. "Electronic" only suffices if you paint with the widest brush. Sure, the music here was most likely made on a computer, but at its core it is deeply organic. You may never hear a pre-made synth on AS. You are more likely to hear your gurgling stomach or something tumbling down a flight of stairs. These tracks are overflowing, sloshing full of content, and impossibly dense. They can suddenly and brutally evaporate the comforts of time’s steady flow by queering what you think three or four minutes is supposed to feel like. If there is a steady descriptor for AS, it's "unmooring." There's no way to know where they sourced a particular beat, chord, or vocal. This leaves a lot to imagination. The sounds of AS are primordial and alienatingly futuristic, recalling all the worst parts of the uncanny valley. If we can begin to imagine what a cyborg’s chaotic inner id might be like, you have to to listen to AS. Intense as AS may be, it never becomes a slog or overly complex. The EP has an acute grasp on the rhythms and mood that make people dance. Even at its most mordant, AS somehow remains accessible and exciting, and prompts discovery by tricking you into dancing along to the strangest sonic triggers. It is a testament to the skill and inventiveness of these producers that they can make tracks like "AS Chingy" and “AS Crust" into implausible bangers. Both are nauseating, vertigo-inducing tracks, stitched together from pleading processed vocals, defiantly herky-jerky percussions, and cold greasy synths. It makes Amnesia Scanner utterly confounding. Even with biographical information in hand, several music videos, and art projects, you can't put your finger on Amnesia Scanner for one second. Music this uncomfortable is rarely so euphoric.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Interview with Richard Long, by Mario Codognato, 1997

The following interview was taken directly from the book Mirage, a collection of Richard Long's work published by Phaidon.

Mario Codognato: Your walks in the landscape and the sculptures made along the way, and recorded in photographs, maps or text works, are an essential element in your art. How do you choose your itineraries?

Richard Long: For many different reasons. I may have a precise, pre-planned idea for a road walk. Alternatively, especially on a wilderness walk, I will encounter places and experiences which are new and not predictable, and my ideas could change along the way. I like to use both ways of working. Sometimes I go to familiar places like Dartmoor, specifically using my own experiences and history for the work, and other times I could go to a very unknown (to me) place like Tierra del Fuego. Good places like that usually make good walks. 

I had a particular desire in the seventies to make my circles, and also the straight hundred mile walks, in different types of landscapes around the world. 

MC: Circles in most cultures are the symbolic representation of the fundamental elements of nature, like the sun or the moon, of the divine, of the recurring of time, of infinity. Lines often indicate continuation in space, distance communication, movement. Why have you chosen those forms so often?

RL: I made my first circle in 1966 without thought, although in hindsight I know it is potent for all the reasons you describe. A circle is beautiful, powerful, but also neutral and abstract. I realized it could serve as a constant form always with new content. A circle could carry a different walking idea, or collection of stones, or be in a different place each time.

A circle suits the anonymous but man-made character of my work. My ideas can be expressed better without the artistic clutter of idiosyncratic, invented shapes.

Circles and lines are also practical, they are easy to make. A line can be made just by aligning features in the landscape, and it can point to the horizon, into the distance.

The particular characteristics of each place determine which is most appropriate, a circle or a line. It's always obvious. A circle is more contemplative, focused, like a stopping place, and a line is more like the walk itself. On a twelve day walk in the mountains of Ladakh in 1984 I made a sculpture - marks along the way - literally on the line of the walk and the footpath. Walking within walking.

MC: Quite a few of your works are transient. A line made by walking on the grass disappears after a time. Often your mud works are cancelled at the end of an exhibition. What is your idea of duration and eternity?

RL: On a beach in Cornwall in 1970 I made a spiral of seaweed below the tide line. I liked the idea that my work, lasting only a tide, was interposed between past and future patterns of seaweed of infinite variation, made by natural and lunar forces, repeating for millions of years.

Often the transient is closely related to the eternal in nature.

In an ideal art world, I would prefer some of my mud works, especially the large majestic ones to remain after an exhibition.

MC: For quite a few years, I have been lucky enough to witness the way you install your works in exhibition spaces. You seem to give, almost magically, a sort of order from chaos. The viscosity of mud - the union of water and earth - becomes a vortex of energy which gives birth to the most beautiful wall work. An ordinary pile of stones becomes an amazing sculpture which invites contemplation and meditation. What are the roles of chance and time in the execution of your works?

RL: Particularly with the mud works, time and chance make them, in a way. Because they show the nature of water as well as mud - the wateriness of it - I have to work quickly to make the energy for the splashes. The image is both my actual hand marks but also the chance splashes which are determined by the speed of my hand, the viscosity of the mud, and gravity. There is the scale of the work both as a whole image and also the micro-scale of the splashes with their cosmic variety. I like being able to use and show the nature of chance in this part of my work. 

Time is the fourth dimension in my art. It is often the subject of a walk - time as a measurement of distance, of walking speed, or of terrain, or of fatigue, or of carrying stones, or of one stone to another. 

The sculptures contain the geological time of the stones. 

MC: Global warming and the devastation of many environments is more and more the concern of the general public and our culture. Many people see your work as about ecology as well. How do you define your art, and what is your view about this aspect of it?

RL: My work is just art, not "political" art, but I do believe - now more than years ago - that I have to be responsible, both in my work and in my general life, like anyone.

I first chose landscape so as to use the dimension of distance to make a work of art by walking. That was on Exmoor. I was intuitively attracted to such relatively empty, non-urban landscapes partly because they were the best places to realize my ideas, but also because such places gave me pleasure to be in. They had a spiritual dimension which was also important for the work. So my work comes from a desire to be in a dynamic, creative and engaged harmony with nature, and not actually from any political or ecological motives.

I believe if it is good enough, if a love and respect for nature comes through, if only indirectly, then that is my statement of intent. One of the main themes of my work is water, and water is more important than technology.

(Still waters run deep)

Making art in the type of landscapes which still cover most of our planet gives me quite an optimistic and realistic view of the world. I think my work is almost nothing, it's just about being there - anywhere - being a witness from the point of view of an artist. 

The landscape is a limitless arena where I can engage with those things that have the most meaning and interest for me, like rivers, camping, the weather, measuring countries by my own footsteps, mud, moving a few stones around, and being in places of profound experience. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tania Bruguera: the more the secret police torture me, the better my art gets.

Frieze Fair 2015

Tania Bruguera: the more the secret police torture me, the better my art gets.
by Hermione Hoby

The performance artist was hounded in Cuba for an artwork championing free speech. Why did she end up thanking the secret police who surrounded her house, cut her phonelines then jailed her?

Tania Bruguera sits down on the grass and crosses her legs, as casual and at ease as the undergraduates all around us. “This,” she says with a gesture towards the grand facade of Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library, “is a really nice place for a recovery.”
As water flows out of the fountains and the well-trimmed lawns glow in the sun, there is nothing about the Cuban performance artist’s behaviour to suggest she’s just been through “eight months of psychological torture”.
She’s now a teacher at the Ivy League university, but in December last year she was in a Havana holding cell, being subjected to 26 hours of interrogation over a performance art piece. She refused to eat for the whole time. “In that situation, behaviour is your best communication tool,” she says. In the months that followed she was incarcerated three more times and subjected to twice-weekly “visits” from secret police, suffering 20 interrogations in all.

After her first arrest, she was incarcerated three more times and subjected to twice-weekly 'visits' from secret police

“I use the word torture very cautiously,” she says, “but I had moments in which I felt it was abusive and more intense than it should be.”
She had no access to a lawyer: even if her interrogators had granted her one, no Cuban would have dared represent her. “Legal vulnerabilities in Cuba,” she stresses, “are immense.”
The work that got her incarcerated, Tatlin’s Whisper, is brilliantly simple – just a live mic and an open invitation to enjoy one minute of free speech. She’d staged it several times before, including in 2005 at London’s Tate Modern where she employed mounted police to do arbitrary crowd control, corralling blocks of people through the space (most of whom had no idea it was part of the piece). In 2009, she did Tatlin’s Whisper at an arts centre in Havana, and several participants asked for freedom and democracy. Soon after, the government denounced the occasion as “an anti-cultural event of shameful opportunism”.
This time was even more politically charged, coming two weeks after the US government re-established relations with Cuba. She met with Ruben del Valle, the president of the National Council of Arts, who, after a four-hour meeting, denied her a permit to go ahead with the piece in Plaza de la Revolución, the huge square in Havana where Fidel Castro held rallies. Bruguera says Del Valle told her he washed his hands of her, and that whatever happened to her “legally or otherwise” was not his problem. None of this, of course, dissuaded her.

Tatlin’s Whisper #6 (Havana version), by Tania Bruguera, performed in 2009.

In the days leading up to the performance she stayed with her mother, “because she was really freaking out that some ‘accident’ would happen to me. I know Cuba pretty well, and I miscalculated one thing, which is how afraid the government is at the moment. And a government that is afraid is extremely dangerous.”
She adds: “In Cuba we’ve been in two dictatorships after the other,” referring to Fulgencio Batista’s authoritarian reign until the revolution of 1959, and the communist state that followed under Castro. “A lot of people don’t see it that way yet, and for me it’s hard, still, to say those words. People have been under fear. We need a process where people understand not only what their rights are, but what to ask for.”
That process began for Bruguera when she left Cuba for the first time in 1999 to take an MFA in performance at the Art Institute of Chicago. (Most Cubans can’t travel, but the government tends to give artists and sportsmen and women preferential treatment.) In her first class, a professor asked her the seemingly innocuous question: “Well, what do you think?” For Bruguera, then 28 years old, it was a revelation. After a rote Cuban education and the strictures of its regime, she suddenly found herself “in a participatory situation where every idea counts”.

She started making performances, but initially didn’t dare use words: “When you are censored,” she explains, “you try to go through back doors.”
She found herself asking “not only what I want to say, how I want to say it and for whom I want to say it, but also how honest can I be? How nakedly can I present myself? That was when I started to become [politically] conscious.”
Bruguera is an ardent believer in “how art can give tools to people, make us freer, more aware ... help us imagine the future differently”. Gradually, her work (for which she’s been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship among other accolades) has become more direct – which in turn has made it far more dangerous for her.

Her idealism was put to the test when secret police surrounded her house “like I was Osama bin Laden”. At 5am on 30 December 2014 – the day Bruguera was due to stage Tatlin’s Whisper – she was woken by harsh knocking and an enormous crowd outside.
“And I go to use the phone,” she says, “but both lines are cut. This is what it’s like to live in a totalitarian state: they control everything. My mother and my entire family were very nervous. To be a political artist, you have to work with consequences as one of your materials. You have to work out potential outcomes, and you have to be responsible with that.”
She was taken to a holding cell and, “at that moment,” she says, “the piece changed. Because it became about how the government keeps the status quo, how far they will go not to lose the control they have. There was this artistic conundrum, this fight over ‘who owns the piece’. Me as the artist, the audience, or the government? And I think the government was so totalitarian they even wanted to be the author of the work.”
That the regime should unwittingly highlight its totalitarian tendencies, only bolstering the piece it sought to suppress, seems very ironic. She laughs: “At one point I wondered, do they not notice that they are making the piece even better!”
During one interrogation, she actually thanked the secret police.
“And they were so mad at me,” she grins. “They said,” she mimics them spluttering with fury, “‘what do you mean ‘thank you?’”
I replied: ‘Thank you for this – you actually made me a better person.’”
Her situation, like that of fellow dissident artist Ai Weiwei, elicited an outpouring of global support. Thousands of people worldwide, including Turner prizewinners Elizabeth Price, Jeremy Deller, Mark Leckey and Simon Starling, signed an open letter to the Cuban regime calling for her release. On 2 January, she was freed and her passport returned.
“When you do this kind of work,” she says, “you can never forget that you are an artist, but it’s hard because you have to be an artist, an activist, a citizen, everything simultaneously.”
As an artist, she says, “I am very happy ... even if it’s cost me quite a lot. It was beautiful to learn how solidarity feels – we use a lot of important words, without knowing their real meanings – ‘solidarity’ is one, ‘love’ is another, so is ‘friendship’, ‘support’. This year, I actually learned what these words mean.”

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Wilfredo Prieto and the Work of Art as a Direct Gesture by Laura Bardier

It was love at first sight when I saw Wilfredo Prieto’s work Speech (1999), the ceramic toilet roll holder carrying a roll of toilet paper made from Cuba’s official newspaper Granma. It was indeed something I had never seen before, but was awaiting all my life.  The piece proved that Prieto’s strategy is to reduce the metaphor as much as possible, compress the information in order to make it as small as a placebo, but with the intention to live in your head afterwards.
Wilfredo Prieto was born in 1978 in the town of Espíritu Santo, now known as Sancti Spiritus, located in the central part of Cuba. Though he lived in one of the most beautifully preserved colonial cities in the region, Prieto moved to study at the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Arte (ISA) in Havana. In 2002, he graduated in painting, a discipline he has not practiced since.
In 1959, after the revolution, Cuban art became isolated, state-sponsored, and auto-referential. Artists  were developing their work in the turmoil of discovering and shaping a national identity. Later, this sense of renovation and nationalism will be degraded and tokenized to the use of Cuba’s geographical silhouette and flag.[i] Prieto’s work is atypical and emerges from a personal point of view of this history, where Havana is a main reference, but the outcome is universal.
Linked to conceptual art, Prieto stays away from conventional artistic practices—constantly changing his medium as much as his ideas. Through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data, Prieto has become an archeologist of concepts, primarily focusing his studies on society. The artist’s goal is to excavate these concepts as a means to better understand contemporary culture. In this process of analysis, the ideas are cleaned, catalogued, and compared as a channel for synthesis in order to create the most effective images. For example, Grease, Soap and Banana (2006) consists of a daub of axle grease, a bar of soap, and a banana peel placed in a meticulous little pile on the floor of an otherwise empty exhibition space. It is a piece that evokes the idea of falling, without the actual fall. The missing elements in Prieto’s work are often evident, and it is this blatant absence that creates a powerful meaning. The banana peel would not guarantee a fall but could still prove to be a very useful slapstick comedy device.
Prieto’s body of work is, by its very nature, created to be intellectually contemplated. He is connected to the Isouian movement, defined as the art of the infinitely small and the infinitely large.[ii] Untitled (2002), in which ink markings on a chickpea suggest a globe, is a work where the miniaturization of the planet emphasizes the subject of world destruction–not as a cataclysm, but as a slow process of homogenization. As Mike Kelley writes, “In low comedy and political cartoons, reductive and distortional practices exist side by side. Here, both approaches are set to attack false or hated authority, for in the context of caricature’s distortions the refined figure becomes comic butt. In ‘fine art,’ on the other hand, reduction tends to be associated with revelation of the ideal.”[iii] Prieto’s artistic vocabulary, strategy, and gestures engage in this pattern of witticism. The consistent irony in his work is achieved through the presentation of sense within nonsense and illumination amid bewilderment. Above all, it is the brevity in Prieto’s wit that is essential to his artistic production.  The point is to reduce the metaphor so that it can be assimilated in an instant, in order to gain the highest effect with the least possible intervention.
Prieto does not employ his sense of humor as a means for entertainment within the work. Rather, it serves to amplify the critical scope of the piece. His use of atypical taxonomies and dialectic disparities manages to provoke optimal impact. The subtle repetition of words or elements in his works, along with variation, are techniques not intended to provide clarity, but to augment reality. This practice can be seen in Time is Gold (2007), consisting of a gold watch hanging from the ceiling, and Mucho ruido y pocas nueces II (2005; Much Ado About Nothing)[lb1] , which displays several meters of a water pipe and cables with an electric generator capable of providing power to a whole city, just to bring light and water to one small potted plant.
The seemingly effortless formalism of Wilfredo Prieto’s work is misleading. The artist embodies the challenge as a personal competition that is in constant reach of an unachievable goal. His work is highly structured and well planned, realized through a careful association of ideas that interact  with one another in a spare presentation.  Like a principal ballet dancer, with elegance and grace he is able to hide the hard work that is put into the production of his art.  Significant in this respect is White Library (2004), consisting of  more than six thousand blank books, each designed with its specific paper, cover, and dimensions. Every day we are expected to select the information that enters our lives; through this piece, Prieto introduces himself  as an administrator of this knowledge. The irony in the work lies in the fact that the books are there to be viewed by the public, but there is no text. However, like zombies unable to control the urge to leaf through the blank pages, the gesture is an automatic impulse, therefore the missing element—which is the text–allows for the construction of a new mode of representation  in the collection of knowledge. The participatory element of White Library is the key function that creates  the framework for a library; without the public, it is merely six thousand blank objects.
For Prieto, humor, irony, and sarcasm are systems of communication that permeate culture and political criticism. Politically Correct (2009) consists of a photo reproduction of a watermelon made to fit a cube to be placed on the floor. The piece strives to be adequate, to adapt to its new form, but it also needs to lose some its essential characteristics: to be round. If all of us were squared, we would be all easier to stack and store![iv] At least it might be what the farmers of the Zentsuji had in mind back in 2001. Through the standardization of the attributes that Mother Nature provides, fruits, people, and places could lose their own significance. As Marc Augé argues, one of the consequences of hyper-modernity is the non-place,[v] and Wilfredo Prieto refigures in the work Airport – Madrid, Brussels, Roma, Paris, La Havana, Barcelona (2008) a series of photographs of the floors of international airports, where besides the title, nothing in the image could identify them.
Prieto’s widely recognized piece Apolitical (2003) consists of thirty one flags from different countries, where the representative colors are represented in grey scale. Here the artist examines the concept of citizenship with the assumed pretense of abandoning barriers of ideology, identity, and politics. By reducing the symbols or canceling the colors, as the character Cobb from the neo-film-noir Following (1998) summarized, “You take it away, and show them what they had.”[vi]
In broader terms, the work of Wilfredo Prieto does not intend to proffer a new reality as an alternative to politics, but rather identifies political reality for what it is, without apology. It therefore maintains a certain reservation about promoting or creating an apology for politics. As a commitment to demystifying and criticizing the self-legitimizing attitude of modernity, he develops a project of dissection in order to construct a lexicon for defining contemporary facts and situations. Many elements in Prieto’s work have strong local connotations, though they still hold significance in a global context. Examples can be found in the use of particular materials, such as  peas, bananas, yeast, sugar, rum, and lemon, which serve as references to Cuban traditional cuisine and the Cuban agriculture system.
Prieto’s work is direct, but it is also open to different interpretations. Crane (2006), for example, is a sixty-meter high crane that unsuccessfully tries to lift itself. It is an epic image of the poetry of infinite disappointment. Moreover, Crane is an iconic image that is related to other contemporary artworks such as Francis Alÿs’s series “Paradox of praxis,” which reflects the sense of impotence and impossibility that we experience when dealing with the bureaucratic system.
By employing ostensible simplicity as strategy, and drawing on everyday spaces and objects as a communication code, his work shares methods with other artists of his generation such as Ivan Capote, Tatiana Mesa, and Orestes Hernández.  Prieto’s pieces generate constant reflection, demonstrating the capacity to alter forms at will through installations, sculptures, interventions, videos, and drawings. However, through their various media the ultimate focus is to synthesize and express a concise idea. As Gerardo Mosquera comments, “Although Prieto is an artist of ideas he is not a critical artist, inasmuch as he doesn’t set out to produce political or social commentary. [ . . . ] Prieto is a critical artist who does not ‘do’ criticism: it merges from the very context of his works.”

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