Alicia Cristina Grullón is a New York artist. She has exhibited at Mount Holyoke College’s Five College Women’s Studies Research Center where she was a research associate in spring 2006, the 2005 Peekskill Arts Festival, Samuel Dorsky Museum at the State University of New York at New Paltz, The Hunter College Gallery, The Point Community Center, and The University of Rhode Island. Her work has appeared in ICP at the Point Magazine and The World Journal of Post-Factory Photography. She was a guest panelist for the First Annual South Bronx Film Festival discussing her acting role in the award winning video “ East 182 nd Street,” produced by Alex Simmons and Mark Gasper. She presented a paper titled, “Sacrifices: Women and Racism in Higher Education” at Mount Holyoke College’s Five College Women’s Studies Research Center and is co-author of English language textbooks Talk it Up books 1-4 and Speak for Yourself books 2 and 3, published by Young and San Media Seoul, South Korea. Ms. Grullón has traveled extensively and has lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She holds a BFA in Drama from New York University and an MFA in Intermedia from the State University of New York at New Paltz.
“An Auto-Ethnographic Study: The Bronx”
“An Auto-Ethnographic Study: The Bronx” is the next stage in Grullón’s artistic endeavors, becoming part of the “Becoming Myth Series,” which explores how artifacts and dialogue are created in performance, by viewers, participants, and artists, and if the dialogue created by looking and participating becomes artifact. “An Auto-ethnographic Study: The Bronx” is collaborative, reciprocating, site-specific, transient, and relational, taking as its conceptual horizon the performance and site as the realm of exchange between community, artist, and artwork. Her goal with “An Auto-ethnographic Study: The Bronx” is to explore the different methods in which she can decolonize images, performances, and public spaces. For this project, she wants to use the Internet not just as a mechanism to present a survey of her work, like a personal website, but as a public space where her ideas and art work are in action with the community and activism. She is at a stage where she wants to take her work into public places more frequently in New York City, where issues of power relations and cultural pluralism are undergoing changes. The performances will take place in the Bronx, where she grew up and currently lives, in areas such as Hunt’s point, Kingsbridge, and Mott Haven. These areas are witnessing a large percentage of displacement from within Latino, and African American populations due to the real estate boom. The project aims to generate a dialogue through art within these areas in order to help empower, build resistance, and inform the people there.
Grullón’s objective is to create a website using information and performance as acts of resistance such as each performance will transform her, the communities, and audiences to the website into bodies of resistance. She proposes to do public maskings and demaskings within areas of the Bronx where issues of power relations and gentrification are undergoing changes. The maskings/demaskings will be recorded on video, edited, and placed on the website (astudythebronx.com). Before the performances begin, the website will be constructed to act as a beacon for information regarding the project. All information will be in English and Spanish. Links will be added of sites and blogs, such as the Center for Social Inclusion and Applied Research Center, discussing how community planning can be used as effective tools fighting luxury developments displacing established local people mostly poor and of color. The maskings/demaskings will take place in up to 10 different sites of contention in the Bronx from Highbridge to Fordham. Performances will begin early October 2007, running through June 2008. During this time period, all video editing of the performances will take place. Before each performance date, she will contact local community centers, such as The Point and Longwood Arts Gallery, inviting community members to the performance to participate by standing beside her (they will be free to enter and leave the frame at any point). Postcards promoting the project and website will be printed by the end of September 2007 and distributed at the sites along with fliers and performance dates. During winter months of January and February 2008, she will focus on holding performances on the website and review all material collected thus far for revision and study. Throughout the project timeline, opinions from community members she contacts and interacts with as well as her field notes on each performance and experience will be posted. She will ask community members questions that, for example, investigate how they feel about housing changes and what options/information they see open to them. At the completion of the project, each community will be contacted and all participants acknowledged for their taking part in the project. She aims to have the website and performances completed by July 31, 2008 and have exhibition ready images by the end of September 2008. Her long term plans are to maintain the website up and running and locate funding in order for her to take this project to other cities undergoing changes similar to New York City such as Seattle and Philadelphia and abroad to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. “An Autoethnographic Study: The Bronx” is monumental in scope and impact as it is a direct example of how an artist responds to issues such as gentrification and resistance while including community reaction using web-based technology to address these concerns.