“Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas”

UCR ARTSblock
3824 Main Street
September 16–February 4

Rigo 23, Autonomous Intergalactic Space Program, 2009–, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view.

One of the most refreshing facets of “Mundos Alternos” is its inclusion of artists from states and territories outside the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA paradigm—Puerto Rico, Texas, New Mexico, and New York—introducing the work of dynamic artists such as Hector Hernandez to California audiences. Made with pieces of brightly colored fabric and natural gusts of wind, Hernandez’s photographs Bulca, 2015, and Sound of Winter, 2014, image what the artist terms “hyperbeasts,” inhuman creatures with no discernable gender. Costuming as worlding is a happy constant throughout the exhibition, apparent in the dazzling garments of Mundo Meza, Robert “Cyclona” Legorreta, Carmelita Tropicana, LA VATOCOSMICO c-s, Guadalupe Maravilla, Luis Valderas, and the AZTLAN Dance Company. As with any good show about science fiction, there are also flying spacecrafts of all kinds, featured in Gyula Kosice’s video The Hydrospatial City, 2003, Beatriz Cortez’s virtuosic steel and video work Memory Insertion Capsule, 2017, and Glexis Novoa’s quiet graphite-on-marble drawing, Benares (The Last Photograph), 2013.

Rigo 23’s planetarium, Autonomous Intergalactic Space Program, 2009–, has particular gravitas and is worth special mention, for it was developed in coordination with the Good Government Junta of Morelia, Chiapas, in Mexico. Many of the themes and symbols in this piece derive from the antiglobalization efforts and imagery of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation; snails, ears of corn with masked Zapatista faces on their kernels, and multiheaded beasts representing capitalism abound. A small-format painting installed near the end of Rigo 23’s installation reads: “QUEREMOS IN MUNDO DONDE QUEPAN MUCHOS MUNDOS” (We want a world where many worlds are possible). This exhibition handily fans that desire, thereby providing one of the most thoughtful and engrossing exhibitions to come out of PST: LA/LA.

Andy Campbell