A country subjects itself to the hegemony of essentialism through its use of borders to define its geography and its attempts to effectively identify itself through the distillation of its dominant cultural characteristics. It subscribes to the notion of hierarchy through the resulting stagnation of quantification and demobilization of investment in the development and urbanization of a country's geographic location. Every singularizing act is tied to essentialism through a relation to identity as an ultimate truth or an ultimate goal. Prior to World War II, countries subscribed to the shared language of identification: borders, history, geography and economic power, as well as a relation through dominant and subversive countries.
[...] Sanchez-Tranquilino describes the Pacheco as illuminations of a “third space,” transcending separations within nationality, geography, rural and urban, that their space could not be quantified as belonging to the streets, but rather belonging to their ever changing relationships (101). They did not operate tradition. They transcended the negation of dominant and emergent cultures, cutting their path not in a direction, but in the way their hand moved, made visible by their clothing, and “readable in a way that had to be denied” (101). [...]
[...] Kafka is implemented in the theorization of this gap, whose existence is ardently denied by established cultures, as housing the merge between time and space as well as thought and event (128). Out of Arendt's proposition and its roots within the following parable by Kafka, one can distil the relationship between meaning and identity as being dependent upon this as a structure between them: [S]he has two antagonists; the first presses her from behind, from the origin. The second blocks the road ahead. [...]
[...] Visual language presents possibilities which cannot be signified, to remain within the confines of identity is to deny the existence of these, it is to regurgitate, to add to the forest of works which validate this approach. Through the stagnation, a cry-out to all artists is voiced: take the example of the Pacheco, create a mobile existence outside of identity, outside of the biography plates of the museum, if not in life, at least in art. “Strangers,” was compiled in a similar way to “Backyard” in that all the artists were chosen by a single identity, an American museum. [...]
[...] It is the denial of space between meaning and cultural identity which perpetuates the fight for dominance and for negation that disallows the realization that the struggle between dominant identity and its subversive identity, or even an identity-in-difference is perpetual and futile: be pinned down by meaning and intentionality to mean is to essentialize. The pursuit of identity as a quest for meaning closes off possibility” (Alarcón 129). Subjugation to identity disallows the realization that the struggle is the result of the desire for cultural identity, it disallows an understanding of identity as the force which separates forms or cultures from meaning, thereby perpetuating their involvement with cultural ‘extremes.' The involvement with identity as meaning, caused the refusal, on the part of the “dominant Anglo and estranged Mexican cultures,” to recognize a space outside the subordination of identity, outside of their battles against one another, and resulted in the condemnation and exploitation of Pachuco culture, exemplifying the fact that identity cannot be transcended through domination or subversion (Sanchez-Tranquilino/Tagg 101). [...]
[...] Their use of factors, which in other contexts have been implemented in the formation of an identity or cohesive cultural narrative, ignored the demands of this prevalent value system and insisted upon their association of these factors with play. A view placing these elements outside both the dominant and emergent perception of them as tools for the construction of identity. The most crucial questions here are not whether Pacheco culture existed separately from the dominant and emergent cultures, but rather if they depended upon the dominant and emergent value system, directly or inverted, and whether they were influenced by the dominant and emergent definitions of culture. [...]
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