WWKY: I EXIST
WWKY: I EXIST, the sixth installment of this series, addresses the present painful quandary of involuntary childhood immigrants who thought they had qualified for a path to citizenship through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Ortiz
hired nine DACA recipients to collaborate in constructing a performance installation that addressed the painful prospects presently confronting DACA recipients and their families
Abruptly pulling a flowering plant out of the ground not only
threatens the life of the plant but also leaves a gaping hole in the earth.
During the 2018 Luminaria Festival in San Antonio, Ortiz presented her performance/installation outdoors at night in a tree lined cypress grotto above the San Antonio River. She hired eight DACA recipients to collaborate in a piece that addressed their experiences as involuntary childhood immigrants in dramatic fashion. She projected flowing motion sequences, multiple overlays of native plants and bright, blurred almost fluorescent blossoms, beneath a constant voice-over (and sub-titled text) collage of anonymous interview fragments, brought to a halt at broken intervals by the sudden sharply focused silent static image of an introduced species in a red clay pot against a black background, as an anonymous hand emerged from the side frame in slow motion, clutched the potted plant by its stalk and yanked it out, torn roots scattering fragments of potting soil. Workers moved slowly in the shadows among 1,300 small, individually lit potted plants beneath flashing images projected front and back on a towering rectangular screen mounted vertically among the cypress branches. Over a four-hour period the workers gradually handed out all of the potted plants to some of the more than four thousand viewers who thronged the limestone enclosure.