Rants about art and culture across borders in a post colonial era.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
MTV and the Border Patrol.
When we finished Alien Toy I received a call asking me about including the truck in a music video. The video was going to be directed by Doug Aitken. At the time I did not know who he was. He contacted me through Cameron Jamie. The music video was for Fatboy Slim and the song was The Rockafeller Skank. I did not know neither who Fatboy Slim was so I called my friend B+ who works with rappers and musicians to find out. B+ told me to hold on and wait for a better opportunity to show the truck in a video of an artist better known. I told the producer that Salvador “Chava” Muñoz wouldn’t dance the truck for less than $500, which was the amount he was getting at car shows. The producer accepted and Chava needed the money.
Eventually the song became a huge hit. Somehow the aesthetic of the video is very similar to Miguel Calderón’s work. The truck is painted like a border patrol but it does not say that. This has some particular meaning and humor to the people that recognize that.
Ruben Ortiz-Torres was born in Mexico City in 1964. Educated within the utopian models of republican Spanish anarchism soon confronted the tragedies and cultural clashes of post colonial third world. After giving up the dream of playing baseball in the major leagues he decided to study art. He went first to the oldest and one of the most academic art schools of the Americas (the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City) and later to one of the newest and more experimental (Calarts in Valencia CA). After enduring Mexico City's earthquake and pollution he moved to LA with a Fullbright grant to survive riots, fires, floods, more earthquakes, and proposition 187. During all this he has been able to produce artwork in the form of paintings, photographs, objects, installations, videos, and films. He is part of the permanent Faculty of the University of California in San Diego. He has participated in several international exhibitions and film festivals. His work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid Spain and others.