Inserted within the US tradition of civil war re-enactments, Octopus re-enacts the Guatemalan civil war. Except, civil war re-enactments traditionally take place in the actual fields where historical battles happened and are performed by people who did not actually fight in the war. Instead, for this occasion the site responds to a symbolic nature: the battlefield is relocated to US soil at a Home Depot parking lot in Los Angeles. And it is performed by the actual combatants who, during the 1990s fought in the war that is being re-enacted: a dozen members of the Los Angeles Mayan community, all recent undocumented immigrants who gather to look for work as day laborers at the same parking lot where the shoot takes place.

 

The title makes reference to the nickname used in Guatemala for The United Fruit Company, UFCO (nowdays Chiquita Banana), a US Company based in Guatemala and directly linked to the CIA led coup and to the following civil war. At the time, UFCO was by far Guatemala’s largest land owner with tax exempt export privileges since 1901 and control of 10% of Guatemala’s economy through a monopoly of its ports and exclusive rights on the nations railroad and telegraph systems.

Video Installation.

 

4 Channel Version

4 synchronized projections and Home Depot buckets with foam and vinyl logo.

Sound.

Duration: 18:29 minutes, loop.

Dimensions: variable.

 

2 Channel Version

2 synchronized projections and Home Depot buckets with foam and vinyl logo.

Sound.

Duration: 17:12 minutes, loop.

Dimensions: variable.

 

Photography.

Lightjet c-print.

Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 inches.

 

Two lightjet c-prints.

Dimensions: 78 x 51 inches, each.

 

Two frames with 4 lightjet c-prints each.

Dimensions: 59 x 12.5 inches, each.

 

Silkscreen logo.

Silkscreen.

Dimensions: 43 x 43 inches.

Articles & Interviews about Octopus.

 

Steinberg, Samuel, Touching the Common: Contemporary Art and Mesoamerican Art, Third Text, Vol. 27, No. 5, 2013. [PDF]

Yoshua Okón Interview, Mexico Inside Out, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Art this week, Ep. 195, December, 2013. [VIDEO]

Sánchez, Héctor Antonio. La transmutación de la memoria: Pulpo/Octopus de Yoshua Okón. Casa del Tiempo No 62-63, pp 66-69, December 2012 - January 2013. [PDF]

Hernández Valdés, Raúl. ''The extensions of meaning'', Pulpo/Octopus, editor: Okon Studio, desing: Maru Aguzzi, co-publisher: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Art Matters, 2012, pp. 5 - 11.[PDF]

Welchman, John C. ''War and Peace (Volume II)'', Pulpo/Octopus, editor: Okon Studio, desing: Maru Aguzzi, co-publisher: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Art Matters, 2012, pp. 15 - 35. [PDF]

Goldman, Francisco. Octopus. Bomb No 118, pp 12-13, Winter 2011. [PDF]

Hernandez, Daniel. A place where Guatemalan day laborers are survivors of war. Los Angeles Times, November, 2011. [PDF]

Smith, Sarah-Neel. Yoshua Okón. Frieze No 143, pp 124, November-December 2011. [PDF]

Neel, Tucker. Yoshua Okón: octopus. Art Pulse No 9, Fall 2011. [PDF]

Rosales, Luis. Pulpo de Yoshua Okón. revista192.com. October 2011.[PDF]

Garfias, Sofia. "pulpo" de Yoshua Okón @ casa galván. ibero909.fm. September 2011. [PDF]

Mallouk, Elyse. From Los Angeles: Yoshua Okon. artpractical.com. September 2011. [PDF]

Wagley, Catherine. Yoshua Okon at Hammer Museum. LA Weekly, September 2011.[PDF]

Welchman, John. War and Peace. Octopus Exhibition brochure. Hammer Museum. August 2011. [PDF]

Perlson, Hili. Octopus. meta-magazine.com, October 2011. [PDF]

Téllez, Mabel. Entrevista a Yoshua Okón. revistacodigo.com, September 2011. [PDF]

Welchman, John C. ''War and Peace (Volume II)'', Pulpo/Octopus, editor: Okon Studio, desing: Maru Aguzzi, co-publisher: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Art Matters, 2012, pp. 15 - 35. [PDF]