Rub?n Ortiz-Torres begins by showing a video of a lowrider truck called Alien Toy that is immediately followed by a live video performance using puppets accompanied by a live DJ. He is then introduced by Gustavo LeClerc who mentions that Ortiz-Torres was born in Mexico in 1964 and attended both the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City and Cal Arts, and was a Fulbright Scholar. Ortiz-Torres speaks about his work in terms of the dislocation and displacement of immigrants parallels the dislocation and displacement of artists in the art world. His work in photography, video, and various types of appropriated media seeks to capture moments of clashing and mixing cultures and appropriate them to art.
Video Archive | Lowriders (4)
Rub?n Ortiz Torres’s presentation begins with a video showing various lowrider cars, eventually focusing on a truck with the words “Alien Toy” painted on its doors. The truck’s bed lifts and splits, then begins to spin like helicopter blades over the truck. The camera then turns to the hood which also lifts and spins, followed by the doors which do the same. The front end of the truck then detaches and begins to drive around the back half while both continue dancing. This video is immediately followed by a live video performance using puppets, live DJ music, and a computerized voice reading a statement about the history of alien contributions to contemporary art.
Rub?n Ortiz-Torres discusses the making of his video Alien Toy followed by a selection of his work. The video features a lowrider truck designed and built by Salvador Mu?oz, originally called Wicked Death. Ortiz-Torres first met Mu?oz at a car show and was fascinated by his extreme take on a lowerider truck. He sees it as a mutation of a mutation. Ortiz-Torres discusses his photography in which he seeks to capture moments of clashing and mixing cultures. He sees this being provoked by outsiders in dislocated positions, such as Pablo Picasso working in France and Marcel Duchamp working in New York.
Rub?n Ortiz-Torres discusses a selection of his work beginning with a series of airbrushed banners in the Mexican tradition of airbrushed movie advertisements, but whose content focuses more on controversial current events. Discussing an anthropomorphic self portrait series using paintings and puppets, he also shows his original sketches for the Alien Toy truck where he imagines it as a mobile projection unit. His work with hybrids continues with a lowrider leaf blower project he created with gardener and inventor, Gody Sanchez who claimed that God gave him directions on how to alter a standard leaf blower to make it quieter and produce less pollution. After quickly discussing a series of minimalist paintings done with metallic car paint, he presents his upcoming commission for the Getty Center inspired by Che Guevara’s fingerprints taken at the time of his assassination in Bolivia. The piece features Che’s 1960 Chevy from Cuba, affixed with a custom hydraulics suspension so that it dances to a techno version of one of Ruben’s father’s songs entitled La Samba del Che, retitled La Samba del Chevy.