Antonio Ortega Presents:
Performance artist Antonio Ortega, (visiting from Barcelona, Spain), will do a stand-up routine with surprising juxtapositions and hilarious self-questioning on the evening of the opening. His art is inspired by the culture of frikis [freaks]. Ortega’s other muse is the espontaneo (“spontaneous” fan)—those who jump into the bull ring to grab attention and emulate the star of the show. For his performance at SMoCA, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Phoenix AZ; Ortega takes on the subject of local celebrity Alice Cooper.
|I HOPE ALICE COOPER DOESN’T BECOME A VEGETARIAN
Is a neologism of the Spanish language, derived from the English phrase ‘free kick.’ It is used in soccer to designate those faults at the edge of the area in which a goal can be scored without the ball being touched by a other than to the player the one that kicks the ball.
Is a neologism of the Spanish language, derived from the English word ‘freaky.’
If friki and free kick both words meant the same thing, in this case the Spanish voice “friki” entails a twist on the meaning of the original English freaky.
So the definition of friki, with the assistance of WIKIPEDIA: is a term used in the Spanish language in reference to a person obsessed with at least one specific theme, interest, or hobby. The “frikis” interests often might label him/her as extravagant, or move him/her to integrate to a specific community.
Normally, a “friki” is associated with an introverted personality, an inability to interact with people that are not involved in his/her interest, and on occasions, can be identified by the use of unconventional attire.
The American high school films of the 80s presented some types (probably mirroring the producers themselves) with high cognitive intelligence and low social intelligence. I could mention”Revenge of the Nerds” 1984 or the character of Carlton Banks in “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” already in the earliest nineties.
They are target of jokes due to their difficulty dealing with others, because of their ignorance regarding relationship codes, and because of their strange interests to which they are dedicated to in an obsessive manner.
The nerd of the 80s is the current “friqui,” who has exploited the new communications media, particularly the internet, to overcome his inability to socialize.
There are various levels of freakishness, “frikismo” being the most extreme when the friqui takes an interest to the point that it turns into a way of life.
Usually, the “friki” has been associated with computers and computers games, comic strips, and science fiction, fantasy, animation and movie role-playing. Even the term “friki” can be extended to any excessive interest; we could agree that the “Epic” is one of the most common places. Specifically, that one linked to an exaltation of the medieval, that imaginary space and period where magic converges with legend.
Some contemporary authors have gotten close to the Epic, developing, as a subject, the incarnation of potency in any of several figures: the super man, the super macho, the super challenger, the avenger, the monster, or the demon.
In most of the nerd movies the scene reuniting all former students 20 years after they graduated was unavoidable. In these scenes, the professional failure of those students who belonged to the high school football team was evident.
The nerd constellation had taken over the power structures, and hence, they had a strong capacity to spend. They had become targets for new marketing strategies.
So, while the entertainment culture had been supported basically by the teenagers, we find out that a new social group has appeared with high purchasing power and a collector’s myth maniac eagerness.
The friki as new cultural consumer has emerged with energy.
Alice Cooper influenced all of us in our adolescence, with his special attraction to the obscure, the demonic and now, the grotesque.
His gothic world was synonymous with rebelliousness to the adolescent public. This gothic world has now been turned into nostalgia for Alice’s epic.
Allow me a small treatise of the world according to Antonio Ortega:
According to my understanding, the cyclical revision of fashion trends takes 20 years, the amount of time needed for former adolescents to reach places of decision-making where they can impose their criteria for taste and style.
Once in his 30s, and looking back with nostalgia to adolescence, the creative person will recover elements of his daily living in his teens.
In this way, the new fashion trends always reference to 20 years prior.
So, in the 80s the 60s were recovered; in the 90s it was the 70s; in the new millennium it is the 80s, and so on and so forth.
There are many that glance nostalgically at the hard rock bands that had been part of the décor of their adolescence.
Some of them are the ones that fill the stadiums where Alice performs his highly theatrical concerts for the utmost delight of his new, and probably the same as always, followers.
If, according to my point of view, the nerd is one of the germinal elements of the “friki,” I feel I can detect, within the Spanish context, a figure that incarnates the unstoppable manifestation of the drives, that personage is at the root of the most obsessive freakishness “frikismo.” This figure is named “el espontaneo”.
The spontaneous is a figure linked to the art of bullfighting.
The spontaneous has more enthusiasm than talent.
The spontaneous launches into the bullfighting arena, sometimes with his only defense his jacket, to participate actively as a bullfighter, risking his life and ruining the spectacle, or offering a different one.
The spontaneous bursts into scene and dares to do something for what he has little or no skill.
In the interior towns of Spain, as part of the local yearly festivity, a festival for the glory and prominence of the spontaneous is celebrated. It is “the run of the young bulls”.
This festival consists of a provisional bullfighting arena, normally made up with logs, tractor trailers, old harvesting equipment, etc.
This is where the whole town goes in search of a pathetic and primary spectacle.
A couple of bulls about two-years old are fought by anyone who wishes to do so.
There are moments of multitudinous invasion. There are also moments in which the local spontaneous receives the highest status and is allowed a few seconds of personal brilliance and enough respect for him to string together a few short passes.
Others jump into the ring exposing their bodies, cutting in front of the animal or trying to stop him by holding onto its horns or tail. The first option is the most heroic, but the second one is the most fun.
The young bull, exhausted, is taken off the plaza and killed in silence a few meters away.
In silence, but each time with more company, while it is recorded and photographed.
The slaughter man will cut the young bull’s neck, which in its state of excitement will pump its blood to the air. By letting out the blood it is then possible to consume the meat on the following day.
The meat is cooked and shared by all the town’s neighbors in a popular stew feast. A fraternal picnic.
Until very few years ago, this used to happen in my hometown.
But with new laws regarding safety, the municipality cannot afford to host this tradition. Only larger towns can hire the services of security and medical attention required by recent regulations. I cannot say that a modernization wind has arrived in the customs of my country folks.
There, in my hometown, the sport that attracts the most people is the “mile in underwear,” literally, a mile-long race where runners wear nothing but their underwear.
The game that generates the most passion is “la calva,” which is quite similar to bowling and consists of throwing stones at a tree trunk.
To conclude this anthropological review, I assure you that the tradition of “el piso” still goes on. “El piso” is a celebration supported by the men from neighboring townships who wish to court the local villages’ girls. These outsiders pay a fee to compensate the town’s single men for taking what they considered a common asset, a lost opportunity to get a wife. The amount stipulated is the equivalent to a sheep, which, again, is cooked and shared by all singles in a meal of fellowship.
If you are planning to visit Spain, please do not leave the coast.
In Spain there used to run the urban legend that on stage, Alice Copper had beheaded, with the assistance of his teeth, a chicken.
The myths of savagery and black magic linked to his persona had already started. Teenagers, attracted to the obscure and gothic, yearning to feel their differences from the conspiracy of the circumstances surrounding them. They felt a sincere admiration for Alice.
The urban legend also says that the day after the press had picked up on the hen incident; Frank Zappa called Alice to ask him if it was true that he had taken the hen’s head off with his mouth and drank the blood on stage. Before Alice could answer, Frank Zappa told him that whatever he did, he shouldn’t tell anyone that he didn’t do it.
Personally, my experience with hens has been very humble.
I wanted to eat the first egg laid by a hen.
I wanted to be sure it was the first egg, so I bought a chicken that was just one-week old and raised her at home, in a fifth-floor, one bedroom flat, shared by my wife, the hen and me.
It’s a fact that eating the first egg laid by a hen is something not everyone can do, since the need for calcium of a young hen makes her eat the shell of her own first eggs. I had to be alert.
So, strangely enough, nine months later on the spring of 1997, my hen laid an egg, which I cooked and shared with my closest friends.
Well, this story simply came to give some credibility to my opinions regarding hens. The hen is an animal that combines the stupidity of a fish, a mysterious wisdom that appears to come out of those eyes almost always opened, and a physical residue of the abysmal depth of its dinosaur roots.
Chickens have been cannon-flesh for any kind of ritual but not as a sacrificial act, as would be killing a sheep or a young unblemished calf.
It’s known that the Romans predicted the future using a chicken’s innards, and a good Satanic rite will always have some dead hens.
I don’t know if this happened in the States, but in Spain in the 80s, parallel to the hatching of the body-building gyms and the body-building fashion, many butcher shops selling only horse meat opened their doors.
People obsessed with gaining centimeters of muscle devoured almost-raw horse fillets, and it appeared to have worked.
Now, those who want to get muscles opt for a different road: taking pills packaged in gigantic jars. This is more the sensation of eating dog food, or cheating as if they were a drugged athlete.
It cannot be good for their emotional stability.
It is my most sincere wish to pay tribute to Alice in some kind of reenactment.
I also want to become a celebrity, reproducing a formula that has been applied elsewhere in the world of creativity in an efficient manner. The formula is to copy but escalate the format of a gesture that has been revealed as successful.
This way, with an ambition of popularity and, of course, from the “friki” spirit that values the symbolism of the epic challenge, and the will of the transcendence that comes from an appearance in places such as in the Guinness Book of Records,
I propose to eat a horse, if possible, a Spanish Mustang.
The Spanish Mustangs, from the Spanish breed that were brought by the conquistadors, now live in the wild.
For sure, it would be easy to bring here one of my town’s cooks to prepare it in a stew. And from this stage, I would like to ask for sponsorships and recruit volunteers to take care of it in one meal. Don’t be afraid to look uncivilized, since I also have a cultural alibi to justify the feast I’m suggesting.
The Templars, who were fighting monks of the Middle Ages, who battled the infidels while searching for mystic and spiritual purity, used to cook, over several days, an egg inside a chicken inside a lamb inside a pig inside a cow. When they ate this animal pyramid, they believed that their human condition became harmonious with the forces of the earth.
As the true frikis I’m sure we all are, but hide more or less, you can join me in this telluric celebration—a celebration that draws strength from the natural, spiritual, magnetic forces of the earth-.
All we were wearing fancy monks’ habits. And I am sure that when we eat the horse, we will own his potency, his freedom and his epic.