Praz-Delavallade, Paris / Los Angeles
David Horvitz, Xavier Robles de Medina
Our world is hurting. You may be experiencing increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. We must take care of our minds, bodies, and souls and protect those around us. Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes cause the following: fear, worry, changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty in concentrating, worsening chronic health problems, and worsening mental health conditions. Unemployment has skyrocketed. The stock market has crashed. Schools have closed. Our world is hurting, but we still have hope. First, rest assured you are not alone. Know it is OK to ask for help. Find a mantra. BE CREATIVE. Connect with others. Eat healthy foods. Exercise. Take a break from the news. Imagine you are a puddle.
Xavier Robles de Medina: “Preface” (2019):
In his short essay “Preface”, Robles de Medina begins by recalling the formation of the colony of Suriname. At first the writing assumes a linear narration, noting the violence of Dutch slavery, and subsequent formation of Maroon communities outside the colonial infrastructure. As Robles de Medina begins to disrupt the chronology of historical events, the structure of the work is revealed as a kind of pendulum swinging back and forth from the third-person’s retelling of key moments in the history of Suriname leading up to its independence from the Netherlands, to the artist’s first-person narration of events slightly predating his own birth in a post-colonial landscape.
Whilst emphasising historical parallels, the work engages an encyclopaedic, frenetic listing of events, as a means to an end, in service of the highly specific autobiography. As is emblematic of Robles de Medina’s oeuvre, montage techniques and narrative fragmentation are incorporated as methods for an intentional queering of largely-unchallenged historical linearity. The chronology of events leading up to the present, are viewed as separate parts to an incomplete puzzle, an allusion to the complexities of diaspora. The questions that arise are intended to highlight the inequities that persist in contemporary society, yet rooted in our colonial past.