Dukkha – Transfigured landscapes

Omi International Arts Center, New York  *2014

Dukkha is the follow up of project Piertopolis. In Piertopolis I use my Panamanian – indigenous, African and Sephardic Jewish background to create an audiovisual multidisciplinary installation. Piertopolis was a study of my roots and for the project I researched universal themes like DNA, migration and utopian communities.  For the works in Dukkha, I use Nkondi, an animistic fetish manifestation from West Africa, In African rituals, the Nkondi nails protect homes and towns. Nkondi contain magical substances that, depending upon the context, are used for protection or devastation.

The purpose of Dukkha is creating an Utopian city inspired by project New Babylon from Dutch Cobra artist Constant. The sewing threads in the images brings movement and mask the images, the use of light and close-ups, together with video camera live filming and projections will create the different sectors of Dukkha Transfigured Landscapes.

Made possible in part by: Art Omi - NEA - Time Equities Inc.

Los Angeles Mapping Project

Psychogeographic Data Visualization Series
Void Gup Gallery Amsterdam, The Netherlands * 2013

The multidisciplinary artist Antonio Jose Guzman was part of the Windward School Art Residency in Los Angeles, California. During the residency the artist created a collaborative site-specific installation with a grant from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation. The project was one of the most intricate undertakings in the history of the program, created with contributions from more than a hundred participating students.

Over the course of the residency, the artist works with Windward students to create a site-specific installation at the Held & Bordy Family Gallery. The workshops and lectures that Guzman give during the residency were thematically developed for the students of the Windward School, the project maps with photography and drawings the critical topographies of Los Angeles from the 70′s to now, by focusing on the cultural politics of space, time, and segregated neighborhoods. Inspired by Guy Debord “unitary urbanism” the research is a study of the population demographics, unified environment and transit of Los Angeles. 

Made possible by The Weisman Foundation

Windward Mapping Project

Psychogeographic Data Visualization Series
Held and Bordy Family Gallery, Los Angeles * 2013

After half a century of situationist maps in the districts of Paris, it’s time for a new generation to explore the cities. PSY will first attempt to explore the psychogeography idea of the city and it’s habitants, using new networks. Debord formulated the “unitary urbanism”: the theory of the combined use of arts and techniques as a means of contributing to the construction of a unified environment in dynamic relation with experiments in the behavior.

Made possible by The Weisman Foundation

Piertopolis at Gemak

Gemak De Vrije Academie, The Hague, The Netherlands * 2012

Inspired by New Babylon of COBRA artist Constant, Piertopolis features an architectural design for an installation of a life-size landscape made out of piers and walking bridges. A pier accommodates the act of leaving, of traveling and embarking – it is a place where the gone and lost are contemplated. At the same time, a pier is a place easily associated with arrival and return, with reconnection, and with the fulfillment of hopes and wishes.

As children, we lazed and adventured on piers. Boats came and went, and we began to notice our favorite piers weren’t just thruways for the maritime activities we liked to watch; they were part of our imagination, launch pads for our wanderlust. Piers were the rustic, rusting vantage points from which we thought the thoughts that made us the vanguard travelers we become.

PDF Piertopolis Interview for Gemak New Magazine

PDF “Piertopolis Journal Diary” by A.J. Guzman

PDF “Piertopolis” Japanese Text

www.piertopolis.com

PIERTOPOLIS /ピアトポリス

青山通り即興パフォーマンス&インターベンション/青山/東京/2012年 春

Piertopolis Project

Museum ’t Kromhout - Moretti & Moretti – Corridor Gallery – Panama Biennial

When experiencing Piertopolis you can see a long high angled platform with enough square feet to provide a meeting place. Piertopolis stands for a new society based on architectonic ideas of Fuller and Constant. I intend the installations of Piertopolis as a meeting place, a transit point, a public performance center, a refuge for cultural practitioners and working class heroes. Piertopolis is a welcome space to memories, real or imagined and a loop into new worlds and images.

© PIERTOPOLIS /ピアトポリス

MHKA Parallel Doors of Perception

MHKA Museum of Modern Art Antwerp - Lonely at the Top – The State of L3 * 2011

Antonio Jose Guzman is a Dutch-Panamanian audiovisual artist who works in various media, on topics like DNA, migration and gravity. On the 5th and 6th floor of the M HKA Guzman shows a project he has been working since 2008 and is The day we surrender to the air, the documentary he made about his quest for an extension DNA.

The State of L3 is a project that the continents of Africa, South America and Europe connects, in search of the African identity and relationship between artists and young people in those continents. It is a project of pan-Africanism, on multimedia networks and the need for a pan-African collective of contemporary art and film. An exhibition by Antonio Jose Guzman, and The State of L3 Contemporary Arts & Film Collective.

the state of L3 & gravitational series

Smart Project Space – Dakar Biennial - Sharjah Biennial

Migration, or the condition of being a subject beyond borders, has always represented one of the most productive resources of aesthetic practices, contributing to the changing of settled cultures. My Pan African symbiotic research focuses on the issue of Pan African space and migration from very different perspectives, in order to explore what Mieke Bal (2010) has recently defined as “migratory aesthetics”, that is “the current cultural and aesthetic moment in view of the merging of cultures”.

The Gravitational Series were inspired by gravity, science and the late Los Angeles based Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader. The project refer to exile identities and they bring together thoughts, ideas, experiences, dialogues of different people around the world. Bas Jan Ader disappeared in an attempt to cross the Atlantic in a small boat from the US East coast to Ireland in 1975.

Yatra

Knipsu, Flaggfabrikken Center for Photography and Contemporary Art Bergen, Norway * 2011 

YATRA comprises the photographic work of two of Guzman’s latest projects: the Bas Jan Ader and Paul Gilroy inspired research project Piertopolis, and Guzman’s documentary trilogy The Day We Surrender to the Air. Both projects comprehend a search for a new (visual) definition of notions like migration, gravity, locality, ancestry and identity. Taking his own mixed background and his twenty-year experience as photographer and visual artist as an example, Guzman tries to conceive the causes and results of human displacement.

The exhibition at KNIPSU presents Guzman’s ongoing research into DNA, movement and replacement. Focusing on the pier as both a means for connection and separation, Guzman tries to capture the ambivalences that surround the act of traveling. A pier suggests nostalgia and contemplation, as well as hope and relief. The DNA-like shape of a pier expresses change, improvement, and site-specificity.

reconstructed landscapes

Knipsu – Flaggfabrikken – Artscape Nordland, Norway * 2011 

Reconstructed Landscapes are a series of monumental projects that challenge the traditional notion of space and time by transforming the aesthetics and perception of natural and artificial spaces. In contemporary society we perceive time differently that our ancestors, our relation with time is different depending on the society, culture, and the communities we live in. Reconstructed landscapes intend to perceive time in imagined spaces and structures; This series of earth works and sculptures try to conceive the causes and results of human displacement, creating diverse ambiguous and unfamiliar land art installations.

Some of the works are landscape sculpture proposals to the Norwegian international art project Artscape Nordland, 3D maquettes for Project Piertopolis and repaired reconstructed interventions on forgotten structures.

The Piertopolis bridges and piers are landscape constructions inspired by Robert Smithson Earthworks like Spiral Jetty, the piers and constructions unified the idea of different parallel universes within ours, the series disrupt the geometric order that has always been applied in architectural structures. The disorder in the series emphasises their unusualness and confers the high importance, monumentality has in the sacral dimension of spaces.

The Artscape Nordland project originated in a comprehensive debate about the role of art in society. The County of Nordland, with its 240.000 inhabitants, does not have an art museum – and people must travel long distances to study modern art in museums and galleries. The underying idea of the project is that a work of art creates a place of its own through its very presence in the landscape.

www.skulpturlandskap.no

The Door of Return

Shared Heritage - Visual Arts Center Amsterdam South East & Kunstenlab Deventer * 2013

The intallation “The Door of Return” can be read as a nostalgic meditation for a country which doesn’t yet exist on a map. The desired country is an imagined space of belonging, not Europe or the Americas. As diasporic subjects, we people of African descent repeatedly exceed the boundaries of our nations, we seek permanently on the possibility of a country where we might belong. As descendents of Africans our roots had been excluded from the origins and notions of Eurocentric’s, the entire definition of the European identity had been drawn constantly to its own European shape in its definition on both sides of the Atlantic. A shape which obscures the contemporary multiplicity and diversity of our countries.

The Door of No Return is the symbolic location of departure for Africans sold into slavery. “The Door of Return” installation instead reconfigure our relation to this symbolic space and channel our longing for an impossible origin into imagining the possibility of a symbolic country, a middle passage to an African nation that welcomes the entire Diaspora to return. 

Piertopolis Bridge Series

Galleri Image Aarhus, Denmark – El Rompio, Panama * 2011

Teams of divers on Zodiac attack boats were assigned to sabotage piers in the Panama canal during the U.S invasion of December 1989. The divers descended to the bottom of the canal and with bombs destroyed Panamanian gunboats and piers. The following days more piers across the country were destroyed during the operation. One of those piers was the pier of “El Rompio” located in the small city of Aguadulce.

Today after 20 years, the fishermen’s village still doesn’t have a pier. For project “Piertopolis” I created a small prototype pier to connect the Rompio to the pier at the end of my street in Amsterdam. Doing research for the project I realized that to travel to Panama’s Pacific in a straight line, one needs to pass the Chinese city of Qingdao. A city that is related to my DNA investigation project “Surrender to the Air” because the predominance of DNA A in the inhabitants, DNA A is also a common native American DNA in people living in the Panamanian Pacific.

Images of this intervention are part of the documentary “Regressions”.

Cite Mappings

Cité Internationale des Arts Paris, France * 2012

Guy Debord and the Situationists were pioneers of the interaction with the urban environment, using the mapping to reveal the subtle and psychic flows of the city. Guy Debord wrote in 1958. “From the point of view, cities have psychogeographical contours, with constant currents, fixed points and vortexes that strongly discourage entry into or exit from certain zones.”

For the residence in Cite de Arts I followed for weeks with a GPS, different Clochards (homeless) and Le Marais middle class Bohos, the result was the encounter with Foucault, a Martiniquais that live in Paris since the 80′s, He went from rich to poor in few months, he lost all during the dot.com crash of 2000. The Mappings are based in his life the last 20 years, places he lived and hang out. People could interact with the installation leaving messages and reactions on the walls.

Inside the Vault

La Casona Panama City * 2009

The installation transforms the old safe vault of Panama’s first bank into an space exploring paradoxes between currency, value and exchange. Inside the Vault conceptualize the economic consequences of globalization and hyper-capitalism in the once prohibited areas of the bank that were open for exploration, including a sound installation in the vault that revealed the original columns that were covered up by renovations. Visitors explored the original 1920s vault, which had been transformed for the State of L3 installation as a satellite event of the 8th Panama Biennial.

The Maquette Box is inspired by the infamous Door of No Return at The House of Slaves (Maison des Esclaves) a museum and memorial to the Atlantic slave trade on tiny Goree Island, 3 km off the coast of Dakar, Senegal. The Flying boat resemblance the Dirigível Santa Cruz build by the Brazilian journalist and abolitionist Jose do Patrocinio.

D.A.T.E.D Performances

Performances at Dimanche Rouge 2012 | Petit Ban & Divan Du Monde, Paris, France * 2012

Dusty & The Electric Dub – D.A.T.E.D (A.J. Guzman & Aurora Adams) is a multimedia performance duo based in Paris and Amsterdam. For this project I assembled live my documentaries, The Day We  Surrender to The Air and The Legend of Billy Maclean with vintage classic films and web films. Featuring singing and voice of American Artist Aurora Adams.

The Project is Inspired by the novel Rayuela (Hopscotch) of the Argentine Julio Cortázar (1914-1984). The performance as the novel has multiple narratives, because the sequence of the sections and dramaturgy is not fixed.

I’am in everything that you are…

Photographic Impromptu at Coney Island New York | Kerala India * 2011

When making the photographic performances  ”I’am in everything that you are…” as an homage to Bas Jan Ader, I first asked myself what kind of relationship I have with the future, the past and the present?. Bas Jan Ader’s last project, In Search of the Miraculous, ended tragically when he disappeared while trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a tiny sailboat (1975). My goal was not to reproduce his unfinished journey but to create a new journey that will open a gate between my DNA ancestry in India and Coney Island New York, two places were I found pieces of my ancestral DNA.

The project  ”I’am in everything that you are…” was inspired on a series of photos that Bas Jan Ader did before he disappeared in the ocean. In Search of the Miraculous (One Night in Los Angeles) (1973) offers 14 night views of urban blandness: a freeway, an underpass and suburban houses emerge out of the blackness under the glare of street lighting. 

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