alejandro t. acierto
lani asunción
anxious to make

Exhibition Dates
Feb 4 – Mar 31

Gallery Hours Saturday 11-5pm
First Saturday Art Crawl Reception
March 4, 2023

alejandro t. acierto. Puro. 2019.

…in which phase of the political economy did we begin impersonating the snowbird? What a privilege it must have been to mimic the natural make-up of things with the very technology that cooks the goose of its likeness.
What affords us such privilege? Or, to whom is such privilege granted? Whose nest egg? Or, how is it that we choose to squander such privilege? And, to what growing collection of consequences? And, just who is it that pays so dearly for these lavish choices?
…the artists in this exhibition invite a compelling and critical conversation about the notions of global tourism, the economies both established and emerging which preserve and reinvent colonialism, and those ecosystems both biological and cultural which suffer as these pursuits are popularized.

Lani Asunción. Duty-Free Paradise.

About the Works:

alejandro t. acierto. Puro.
Puro draws on the global obsession with identifying, examining, and locating counterfeit Cuban tobacco products. Working directly from Internet searches and uploaded YouTube tutorial videos, I am interested in both establishing the presence of counterfeit as a form of economic sovereignty and articulating how class privilege and tourism impact the broader forces of the economy at large. While tourists attempt to find “authentic” Cuban experiences through obsessive investigations of identifying counterfeit products, other questions begin to emerge that reveal legacies of colonialism and State sanctioned violence. If counterfeit is as old as the country is, then aren’t the fake cigars also just as “Cuban”? In the obsessive search for authenticity provoked by the presence of counterfeit tobacco, what emerges is a parodic critique of tourism, the inherent privilege of consumption, and the colonial desire for quick consumable moments that are as elusive as the smoke that emanates from the ashes. 

Lani Asunción. Duty-Free Paradise.
Duty-Free Paradise (DFP) is a multimedia exhibition and live performance series that plays on the tensions of lived and imagined Hawai’i. Through the lens of eco-tourism, around which the islands’ economy heavily circulates, this work explores the contradictions between perceptions and realities of island life as a constructed paradise through American pop culture, down to the flora and fauna, underwritten by militarism and biopolitics.

Anxious to Make. The Insufferable Whiteness of Being.
As crypto-rich investors relocate to Puerto Rico to build a new crypto-utopia called “Sol” (formally, “Puertopia”), The Insufferable Whiteness of Being considers their utopian vision within the larger historical context of colonialism and exploitation on the island. The video combines text drawn from online, comment-thread arguments about the island’s future with images of Puerto Rico from Western art history, travel and tourism videos, U.S. military training documentation, luxury real estate tours, and post-hurricane Maria drone footage.

Anxious to Make. The Insufferable Whiteness of Being.

About the artists:

alejandro t. acierto
In my work as a queer artist and media maker of color, I draw on legacies of colonialism found within human relationships to technology and material culture. Speaking to the inherent entanglements of power embedded within and across the Internet, my work highlights the tensions of history’s construction in the era of networked culture by tracing how history is told, the mechanisms of its safekeeping, and the ways historical ephemera reveal themselves online. In making this work, I use creative strategies toward the deployment of scholarship often rooted in an expansive understanding of documentary practice. As such, I develop installations that engage performance, expanded lens-based media, sound, and artist publications that underscore the relationships between content and form.

Lani Asunción
Lani Asunción (they/she) is an interdisciplinary multimedia artist creating socially engaged art in both private and public spaces, independently and collaboratively. Their work weaves together a visual language guided by historical research, community engagement, and experimental performance connected to their identity as a queer multiracial Filipinx-American. Using ritualized performance, Asunción integrates transmedia storytelling through new media technologies such as video, photography, and digital printmaking to encourage conversations that facilitate healing and collective cultural empowerment in the face of cultural violence, oppression, and ancestral intergenerational trauma.

Anxious to Make
Anxious to Make is the collaborative practice of Liat Berdugo and Emily Martinez, two commissioning bodies. Our focus is on economic concepts, such as cryptocurrencies and the so-called “sharing economy”, and the accelerationist, neoliberal landscapes associated with them. Our work examines how these economic concepts intersect with colonialism, technology, wealth culture, race, altruism, utopianism, and exploitation.

About the gallery:
We are located at 507 Hagan Street Studio C,
The Packing Plant, Nashville, TN, 37203

Saturdays, 11-5 pm
First Saturday Art Crawl Reception, 5-8pm Wedgewood Houston Art Crawl 
Check our Instagram account to view posts about special event times.