Saturday, August 11, 2012

Three Dances

I began studying film and video because of my deep interests in the still image, but also because I needed to express myself in another medium.  When projected in succession, still images meld together, and the persistence of vision creates a "movie."  The retina retains the image longer than the eye is exposed to it.  The individual images that were captured on film were on individual frames, and separated from one another only by an instant. The technology has evolved dramatically since Edison and the Lumiere brothers' created their "movies" in the 1890s.  

People's likenesses, images, mannerisms, facial and corporal expressions fascinate me.  As a dancer, I attended a great deal not only to my own studies as a flamenco dancer, but to how other people move and use their bodies, and why - athletes, musicians, 2-d and 3-d artists, and well, all likes of people.  

Our brains have a truly "incredible" way (sure, maybe scientists can explain it, but there is still very little we know about the brain) of creating dreams.  Ideas, thoughts, feelings, experiences, memories, concepts, perceptions, and even spirits enter our dreams.  When my sister died, it was a traumatic experience, and one of the ways I was able to mourn was to express myself through dancing.  At the same time, I wrote quite a lot, and found myself developing a video about my experiences that I was having. I had already been studying film and video, and I found that this medium was a good form for my expression.  I actually made two films based on my story titled Ruby Red, but Three Dances was somewhat of a sequel to it.  It was actually a more evolved version of my writing and first film about her.  Interrelated, but two different expressions.  

The five pieces that I made throughout my exploration of film and video are:  ...and unto those banks, Ruby Red, Within Me, Three Dances and Immemorial.  They resulted from a great deal of writing, research, shooting and editing.  It was something that I needed to do, and as such, like Rainer Maria Rilke, I believe art [writing, to cite him accurately] is created out of need.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Within Me

My expression of my genealogical and family history research began to take many forms long before I published my first book Becoming a Part of My History: Through Images & Stories of My Ancestors. I was certainly interested in the actual archival process of genealogy and designing and organizing my documents, pedigree charts and family group charts, but as my archive grew, and being a creative person, I needed to think more intensively about how I was going to form all of this content.  (An interesting note here, a good read on the relationships of the "form" and the "content" can be illuminated by historian Hayden White in some of his theoretical essays from which I drew a great deal of inspiration)  Anyways, as I explained in Becoming a Part of My History, I knew there was much more to my journey than just the actual research.  The family artifacts, material culture and certainly vintage photos were always inspiring, motivating, and they were begging for me to draw them to the forefront.  In deciding how to compile all of this, make sense of it to myself and to my public, I wrote vignettes, created photo essays and produced short films focusing on my journey of the research of my family history.  I did a great deal of writing - vignettes, treatments, and even scripts.  I had found another medium through which to express my passion for family history and created a 33 minute video titled Within Me .  This is a trailer of the video.  This piece, and my other published work can be researched by clicking the Within Me links, and through Libros at UNM Libraries, and viewed at the Center for Southwest Research.


Review by Gene Grant, July 6, 2005, 7:57 p.m.
From website of that date
"Musings of the Dreadlocked Flaneur"

"Within Me," A Name Is More Thank A Name...when it comes to this state.  A very nicely done documentary by Andrés Armijo about his relationship with his late father...and more. He set the tone nicely with a well researched history of the Armijo and Candelaria names and their respective relationship here in ABQ.  Weaving that with his Dad, an Armijo, mad it interesting every step of the way.  Glad to meet Andrés out in the lobby.  For any son, this is a really good experience."  Gene Grant from the website July 6, 2005, 7:57 p.m.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

In high school, as part of my genealogical and family history interests, I became enamored with my mother tongue and culture, and all things associated.  I studied Spanish since middle school and became very attracted to the pop culture of Spain, Mexico and other parts of Latin America, including our own in Nuevo México.  I listed to all kinds of music, watched all the Spanish language programming on TV, watched "foreign" films, and all that.  I decided to study Spanish as an undergraduate and participated in exchange programs living in both Guadalajara, and Granada - Spain.  I eventually met one of my passions - flamenco, and couldn't stand to watch it!  I couldn't stand to watch it because the moment that I saw it live, I knew I needed to dance it.  It was an exhilarating feeling that I had about this art form and found that it was my non-verbal way to communicate and express myself.  I eventually obtained a minor in dance due to studying flamenco purely for the love of it, and need to express myself in this way.  I danced for about 12 years.  While studying video and film later, I created a "self-portrait" in video.  A photographer that I knew at the time had shot some video of me dancing, and I used it to create this self-portrait.  An exercise in editing, exploring the relationships between me and my flamenco professors, incorporating other types of percussive music that wasn't flamenco, this became largely a contemplative thought and introspective process into approaching how one would create such a self-portrait.

A slideshow portfolio of my dance follows -

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Honoring individuals, family, their creativity and their personal interests & goals is important to me.  Honor, respect and memory are important ideals to me, and I have approached them fervently.  I believe that everyone is worthy of honor, and not just the famous people: celebrities, politicians, and the like.  I was very close to my sister Louise, and though my Dad had died previous to her, I felt that her death was the most devastating thing to happen to my family, despite other challenges and hardships that we, as all families have experienced, had suffered.  To loose a sibling, whom I was so close to, was a very odd and difficult thing to experience.  As such, part of my mourning and grieving process was relieved in honoring her:  I created an endowed memorial scholarship at the College of Fine Arts at UNM for the Theatre Department in her name.  I raised $30,000 from family, friends and small business.  I began in 2000 and completed my goal in 2003.  There were many people who contributed and throughout the years there has been a feature story on this.  This article is from the Spring 2008 College of Fine Arts Newsletter.  My sister was a theatre major, and I wanted to help other students try to achieve what she was trying to complete.  Now her name, image, dreams of finishing her degree, and her beautiful smile will live on in lots of different ways, not only for her family, but for many people.
Hello Everyone,

Geeze, what a hot summer it has been.  Working full-time throughout the summer doesn't leave you a lot of energy to do much after work, and weekends are full of "weekend-warrior" approaches of trying to either have fun, or get things done.  

Since my last presentation at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts, I have made it a point to take a few days off from work, go on a couple of short one-day excursions and try to work out.  We keep ourselves so busy with our work, our passions, our families and things like that, that we rarely take time to slow down and relax.  There is the side of us that needs to be creative, and also the side of us that needs to take some time to slow down.  It's kind of a contradiction for me, that I want to complete this, do that, do the other, but at the same time, I just want to do nothing!  But, I guess that is what drives us - our passions.  And what would we be, and what would we do without passion?

So, I am finally getting a chance to update my blog to share photos from my flickr photostream, some updates to links and other aspects of my passions that I haven't had a chance to post to my blog...many things still to come that I have done in the past, but haven't yet posted.  Some items will be posted with images as links on the right hand of the page, others will be as regular posts.  

So, I thought I'd send out a greeting to everyone reading this and hoping that everyone is healthy, happy and continuing to work on whatever you are passionate about, and what makes you happy.