|Angelo Perez (left) and Robert "Cyclona" |
Friday, November 2, 2012
Death Becomes Life, Life Becomes?
I got the opportunity to watch Cyclona's Death Becomes Life, Life Becomes? performance, which was a documentary DVD included in Robb Hernandez' book called "The Fire of Life: The Robert Legorreta-Cyclona Collection." Cyclona performed at a Dia De Los Muertos fundraiser on November 1, 1992. I would have liked to included the video footage, however it isn't on the web, therefore I had to use this picture. Cyclona's wardrobe was incredible. His costume was layered with various patterns and designs, the color gold was implied in most of the fabrics. The dress was also laced with multiple different kinds of beads. Cyclona also wore a multi-layer hat which included feathers, and other ornaments. I noticed how Cyclona gives his wardrobe a lot of attention. He is always utilizing a very stylistic fashion that is both vintage and contemporary. I think it has a lot to do with combining the present and the past in a universal artwork. There was also a bonus clip on the documentary where Cyclona went into great detail about the meanings of his costumes and the creatures and symbols he sought to embody. Although he is a performance artist, his costumes are also of artisan quality that he fabricated himself.
I wasn't sure how I felt about the performance. I mean I understand that he was a queer activist that really challenged societal norms by dressing in outrageous costumes and make-up. However, I feel very disconnected, and I think it has to do with the issues of the 60s and 70s that I am not familiar with. It's hard to feel something when I can't relate. I don't know what it's like to be queer or an activist, I know what it's like to be in a marginalized community living in a very twisted nation, which is a concept that encompasses many more issues such as those that Legorreta has tried to highlight in his performances. There is a relatedness between our lives in this world, but I don't feel it emotionally. I'm missing the in depth meaning of Death Becomes Life, Life Becomes?, or am I simply supposed to recognize that Cyclona was commemorating the AIDS victims of governmental torment, as well as the people of color, women, and the poor. I guess I'm wondering why I don't feel impacted. I support his work, I think this performance, is unlike any I've seen today. But I'm not captivated, and I don't know why.