Franz Caba is a Dominican architect and self taught artist working and living in Santo Domingo, he is interested in the non-normative body, colonised collective imaginaries, and creating spaces to be reflexive and vulnerable. Caba has created a diverse body of work that includes everything from acrylic drawings, digital art to installations. Since our interview with the artist, which you can find
, Caba treats us to a new series that further meditates on the idea of belonging, what spaces mean for us and our identities. here
“Hasta la mitad es mucho” 20”x24” Acrylic on canvas 2021 Who had to die for what we see? The identity product is the result of power dynamics, of abuses and extermination, but also of nostalgia and the exoticization of the disappeared. If history is written by the winners, our memory is biased by the interests of a fiction that does not belong to us. What will be left of us when it is our turn to abandon the earthly experience if we are not even good enough for a seed?
Si saben como me pongo, pa’ qué me invitan?” 16”x20” Acrylic on canvas board 2021 There is a tendency to unify identity(ies) by the contexts, spaces and objects we relate to, plurality is usually ignored in order to strengthen the ideals of belonging and pertinence. Many of our fantasies are fed by manufactured simulacra of community. Should we tuck ourselves in as far as the sheet will reach us even if our feet are left outside?
“Va a llover no moja” 20”x24” Acrylic on canvas 2021 We have become accustomed to thinking that places, objects and people acquire their belonging according to the characteristics they possess, assuming that the “natural order of things” is not based on systems of oppression and exclusion allows the survival of romantic fantasies of identity and space. Despite that, are the models of life we have organic? I remember when I came out of the closet someone close to me told me that everything ended where it belonged, but who says there is where you belong?
‘He who gives first gives twice’ 20 ‘x24’ Acrylic on canvas 2021 And who told you what you are? It seems that we understand our identity as the fruit of spontaneous generation. It is difficult for us to recognize the influences and manipulations on our imaginary. We cling to the idea that we make up a unique and unalterable identity mono-product, as if we require purity to mean something. On the street they say: ‘If you can’t drink that water, make it dirty.’ How dirty have you made it?
“No hay sistema” (SOLD) 16”x20” Acrylic on canvas board 2021 The transformations of the sites are also our changes. Since the beginning of the architectural practice we have endowed places with their own identity. We contemplate spaces as human entities (sometimes beyond us) and develop emotional relationships to them. Would we pray with such faith if churches didn’t look that way? My aunt says that whoever wears someone else’s clothes in the street gets dressed up, would buildings suffer the same fate as we do if their spatial identities were stolen from each other?
“No se puede sufrir por lo que el otro goza” 20”x24” Acrylic on canvas 2021 We are quite namby-pamby with what we determine as “ours”, we defend the integrity of the identity product because we assume that without it we are nothing. How did we end up in this situation? They say that the devil loved his children so much that he gouged out his eyes, I wish we would stop loving so much.
“El golpe avisa” Acrylic on canvas 24”x30” 2021 We fit bodies, behaviors, spaces and objects into a kind of identity photography, a referential document of our colonized imaginaries about living and inhabiting. I recently had a conversation about how landscape was a product of visual desire and I couldn’t help but question if in that same way we seek our identities in order to satisfy our morbid curiosity for narratives of individual and collective territory. Do you recognize the elements that make up your identity landscape, or do you find it easier to identify the landscape of others? If salt costs you more than goat, don’t worry, where I buy, they sell.
“La que no grita no mama” Acrylic on canvas 16”x20” 2021 We have mixed feelings about the transformations, our pulse does not tremble to point out and repudiate the identity dissidences and at the same time we wish to be other things, first dead rather than simple. Are you afraid of being other things?
“Na’ ma’ hay que ‘ta vivo pa ver vaina’” 20”x30” Acrylic on canvas 2021 Here our realities and fictions coexist in tangible territory. Who can say that this is not a dream or a nightmare if we live waiting for the imagined to cross us? Does the donkey really know who he is knocking down and the devil knows who he is taking with him? It seems to be a coincidence that it always touches the most fucked up people.
“Si no dice llueve….” “If it doesn’t say rain….” Acrylic on canvas board 16”x20” 2021 I think there is a close relationship between buildings and our fantasies. Most spaces are built in pursuit of fictions of behavior and identity. Places promise us the improvement of our environments and conditions, we need a place where progress resides.I remember that in a class on the History of Dominican architecture the teacher told us about the surprise of the French when they intervened in the city of Santo Domingo and found it full of churches and without a theater.
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