(Un)documenting

Twitter @Undocumenting

Alex Aldana

"Because we were not in our country, we could not use our own language, and so when we spoke our voices came out bruised. When we talked, our tongues trashed madly in our mouths, staggered like drunken men. Because we were not using our languages we said things we did not mean; what we really wanted to say remained folded inside , trapped. In America we did not always have the words. It was only when we were by ourselves that we spoke in our real voices. When we were alone we summoned the horses of our languages and mounted their backs and galloped past skyscrapers. "-From We Need New Names, a novel by Noviolet Bulawayo

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Photo: After a decade of living in the U.S as an undocumented immigrant , Alex returns home to Mexico on December 2013. La Zona Rosa ,Mexico City.

Quien: Alex Aldana 

Donde: Mexico y California 

Medio artístico: Escritor

En Sus Palabras: Porque Escribo…

Escribo en mi lengua verdadera,decolonizando mi propio ser,  mas allá de las fronteras impuestas por la conformidad. En donde mis narraciones no ocupan comprobante academico, ni titulo, ni tesis que las respalde. Porque es el fruto de la tierra que trabajo.Es la cosecha radical de mi conciencia que me invita a crecer y luchar, reclamando mi indigenidad, Joteria, y creatividad como ser humano. Es mi desobediencia a la ausencia de vivir arodillado bajo  pólizas de injusticia que intentan erradicar mi cultura y opinion.

Escribo porque soy complicado y solo así encuentro una explicación. Porque desde chico le escribo a mi otro yo, para conservar mi sanidad mental en este desorden llamado realidad. Donde el hablar de lo feo, de lo crudo y lo imperfecto

mantiene un balance congruente en la paleta de colores y opresión. Porque mi Puteria es mas congruente que la hetero-normatividad que existe en los matrimonios de mismo sexo.

Porque mi voz representa lo mas preciado de mi esencia; nunca se sembrara o modificada  para asimilarse al conceptos como lo es nacionalismo o patriotismo. Escribo porque no quiero ser Amerikano. Porque existo, puedo hablar por mi mismo, y mi dignidad y justicia no se venderá por ningún sueno, ni se compra con ningún permiso de trabajo. Porque mas allá de la homophobia  y privilegio, reconozco el trauma generacional heredado: porque se que mi piel es mestiza. Porque escribir es mi único sustento.

Dándome la autonomía, respeto y responsabilidad propia de entregar mi alma a la comunidad. Porque cada grito escrito es un canto que quiero transmitir en mi propia frecuencia, aniquilando los paralelos del enemigo que intentan negar nuestra existencia.

Escribo porque en veces tengo miedo de mi mismo. Escribo porque soy imperfecto. Escribo porque tengo ganas de pedirte perdón y de sanar con tus anécdotas. Escribo por que me amo a mi mismo.

Porque se que no puedo represento a los miles que están cansados de leer el mismo cuentito con la cabeza abajo, Sin embargo, me regozo en las sombras de rebeldía en este mi culto como  escudo que mantiene mi frente en alto para seguir escribiendo con el  corazón y humildad. Escribo porque se que algún día alzaras tus puños en alto y también tu lo harás. sin vergüenza.

Transcribir es mi Medicina. Porque finalmente entendiendo que esta vida es temporal, y como futuros ancestros pasamos la antorcha de la inspiración a nuestros sucesores, hablando de las derrotas y las lecciones aprendidas de la vida y los desamores como cuento Oral, cantando la misma rebeldía por la eternidad.

Escribo porque tengo demonios que contarte, y ya te espero desde hace tiempo con la taza de café esperando tu reciprocación.  Pintando estrofas y versos en los cuales lo imperfecto es divino, y la esperanza  de libertad es fresca.

Escribo porque no lo hice ayer y el Hoy es revelador. Porque yo se que la palabra de nuestras Verdad conjuga una Resistencia ancestral narrada mas allá de nuestra generación.

Escribo porque nadie lo ara por mi. Porque Es mi responsabilidad cargar esta pluma con tinta de sangre infinita,  jurando que cada palabra se enrede en tu pensamiento. Que por cada rechazo, se desplace ágil y silenciosamente. Que por cada decapitación de la palabra crezcan otras dos con tal destreza, Inesperada.

Porque mis trazos de mis campos de papel quieren emigrar y germinar hasta los fines del mundo donde existe la esperanza. Hasta que cada echo tenga coherencia y llene de lagrimas tu mirada, con la potencia  oral atómica de los mas afectaos,

Escribo por que estamos e guerra. Escribo porque soy paz.

Hasta que el enemio termine de leer estas oraciones, sin putos, acentos ni renglones, como primera y ultima advertencia. Y me mire fijo. Hasta que cada bala trate de infringir y destrozar mi forma corporal, De pie, allí estaré siempre. Listo, lleno de poesía, con una sonrisa quebrada, con lo ultimo que me queda en este mundo apuntándole directo al alma, con cuaderno y lápiz como armas sagradas, bajo el moribundo atardecer ,mas Peligroso que nunca, disparando solamente una palabra como tiro de gracia y un suspiro que grita libertad.

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Photo: January 2014 -Palenque, Chiapas after attending la Escuelita Zapatista EZLN 

Poem: excerpt from "La Tierra Que Fue y sera"

Vuelvo a escribir con conciencia a mi tierra
En un canto de flores marimachas,
mientras me penetra La primavera.
Y el amor es cosecha…

de Cuando caminaba calles vacías,
de las memorias del Tejuino,
de cogidas y maletas,
los elotes frescos y las mamadas secas
de Resistencia al desamor.

Es el amanecer, es el anochecer.
Es la Luna y el sol haciendo el amor,
hasta que los dos se cacen,
y se besen, en veces…
en una explosion infinita.
Es Como venirse a tambos de leche fresca
por la vía láctea.
para volver a comenzar
como lo hago hoy,
como lo hice ayer.
desde cero,
con la bendición de mi(s)madre(s)
con trabajo
y un Nuevo amanecer,

Mi ‘Ama sigue chingandole,
esta cancion no dejara de sonar,
para volver a estallar
en este canto antiguo y legendario
que se nos olvida  recitar.

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Photo: Old picture of Alex’s mom in Guadalajara

Piece: Open Letter to my mother  , Why I left the United States/ Self-Deported?

¿Por qué dejarlo todo asi nomas? Tu diras.  Aun recuerdo esa oración en nuestra ultima platica cuando tus ojos calleron derrotados diciendo simplemente. “Me dejas Sola”.  Es un costal de piedras que venimos cargando desde hace años, y Yo, como ser vulnerable, me eh cansado de internalizarlo. Mi primer plegaria será para pedirte confianza plena. Se que tengo una estrategia, y al final del dia te gustara saberla. Continua leyendo….continue reading here. 

Decidi Autodeportarme por que me gane de valor, nada mas, asi de simple.

Te tirabas de la riza y entre seriedad, me preguntabas.- ¿Cuándo dejara de viajar? ¿Cuándo regresaras a casa? Aveces me lo preguntaba yo mismo.

                               *For full letter continue reading: HERE 

Undocumenting: What do you want ppl to understand about your open letter to your mom on having self deported?

Alex Aldana: I’d like ppl to understand that I’m no longer going to wait for a government to tell me when and how in going to be able to go back to my home country, and that this act of migration goes beyond politics, it’s healing and medicine, and with that amount of courage I want to focus my work on the 2.1 million deported folks that have been displaced from their homes and families, humanizing the issue of migration as something that ” cannot be fixed nor controlled”…It’s a human journey. 

Undocumenting: What are some books you recommend?

Alex Aldana: You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense- Charles Bukowsky, The House on mango street-Sandra Cisneros, La muerte y Otras Sorpresas -Mario benedetti, Entrada Libre. Crónicas de la sociedad que se organiza-Carlos Monsivais 

Undocumenting & Alex Aldana: We been reflecting on Chimamanda Adichie "Danger of a single story" and We Need New Names (a novel by Noviolet Bulawayo) it led me to thinking about how we tell our stories; what language we choose to use not because it is the language we feel comfortable with but because it makes people feel comfortable and we are told  ”stories are told in English” and negates the possibility or any room for our stories to be told in our tongue.  Intentionally we set out to make this artist profile in Spanish and leave the poem’s in its original form with no translation or subtitles. 

Comenzando un nuevo despertar refleccionando el trabajo de Chimamanda Adichie, “Peligros de una sola historia” y “Nosotros necesitamos nuevos nombres”, cautivo mi pensamiento al describir y analizar como procesamos y compartimos nuestras propias historias; desde el lenguaje que optamos por usar no solamente por ser la lengua que estamos mas agusto a compartir, sino por darle gusto a otra gente. Muchas veces nos an dicho que “Para ser entendidos, nuestras historias deven que ser dichas en Ingles”. Esta nocion iega la posibilidad de imaginar y de humanizar la posibilidad de compartir nuestras historias con nuestra propia audiencia en nuestra propia lengua.Aun asi, siento que la lengua verdadera y mi identidad ya fue colonoizada 500 anos atrás una vez, y no pienso apropiarla una nueva mes mas por otra lengua. Mi historia entonces, será dicha a mi manera, sin subtitulos ni traducciones. Esas serán tareas de otros para comprender mi complejidad y dimensiones como escritor.

Alex Aldana: 

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Photo: Outside  ”home” in Guadalajara, Jalisco. 1994

Where to Find:  Facebook  , InstagramLgbthealthequity.wordpress.comMyqulture.com (Qulture is  a Queer-Trans blog collective and multimedia site that serves as a vehicle to the voices of our communities of color with topics relevant to our lives).  

He was also part of the 2013 CultureStrike's UndocuWriting Retreat Cohort .

Stay Tune: Alex decided to leave the United States and go back to Mexico on December 2013. He now lives in Guadalajara,Mexico.  Alex is currently processing this new journey and writing reflection pieces and poetry. 

Felipe Baeza

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In Their Words:

My work begins with a fascination for reverse anthropology, utilizing my biography not only for exploration of personal experience, but also as a lens to comprehend the persistent effects of social institutions and cultural practice on an individual.

Political statements and statements about sexuality are at the forefront of my work i.e. immigration, AIDS, and queer identity. Through these outlets, I aim not only able to reclaim my personal narrative, but to creatively reconstruct history.  Through the reassembly of imagery: colonial propaganda, indigenous codexes, consumer print media, I create new iconography presenting alternative and relevant understandings of colonialism, culture, sex, etc. Beyond the copious use of printmaking to radically expand my work, I am interested in experimentation, not only in printmaking processes but also in conceptualizing the print.

Belonging to a population that is often excluded and condemned, printmaking becomes a response to the exclusionary history books, religious propaganda, and magazines populating my upbringing.  The print and its ability to be infinitely reproduced re-assumes the tools of system for subversion and to insert condemned and excluded people with which I identify into the larger national conversation to provide the missing pages.

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Alan Pelaez Lopez

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In Their Words:

"I write because I am tired of hiding in a double-closet as undocumented and queer. When I write, the living rooms in my mind remember. I remember things from Mexico that I don’t understand— I remember the experiences of my mother, my aunts and our village. Likewise, I make jewelry to remember the days I would make bracelets at the age of 6 and sell them in the streets. I can cross all the borders I want without inspection through writing and designing. I am not restricted, I do not have to apologize to anyone, I am free. I am fighting for ink through writing and designing."

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May Liang

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Photo includes Janny Liang’s painting in the background. Janny is May’s older twin sister who is also an artist (painter) and undocumented.

In Their Words:

I am sick of seeing immigrants and people of color through the eyes of others. When white, male writers tell our stories, it’s “groundbreaking,” but when we write our own stories, we’re not taken seriously. We’re just angry, it’s “cute.” You are not doing us any favors, so let us have the reigns. Step aside so we can tell our truth. And don’t ever tell me that art is not political. That’s just an excuse to avoid the fact that you have nothing to say. I write to tell the truth, to empower my community, and because I have stories that need to be said.

[On why theater and playwriting] 

Because I love collaborative storytelling. When you share a story where others are needed to make it happen, it’s more impactful for everyone. I also believe there is something magical about live performance that human beings crave.There’s an electricity that can only happen in that space where you know that real breathing people are living a story, witnessing it.

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Stephanie “Soultree” Anne Ladrera Camba

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Photo by Sarah Jane Rhee of www.loveandstrugglephotos.com

In Their Words:

"Writing has been a source of personal empowerment and external oppression to me for as long as I can remember. Language and art have been used to exclude people like me and performing spoken word has been my way of reclaiming and resisting. Only recently have I been ready and in a place to recover through my art and performance expanding my focus from solely social justice issues to restorative justice for ourselves and our families as well."

"Stolen Lands" is my coming out story, which I first performed at the March 2010 immigration rally that took place in DC. It has now been converted into song format and I hope to retire it with all the ugly and painful experiences of being Pilipina and undocumented in the Midwest."

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Why Undocumenting? A Manifesto

Um, what does it mean to be “undocumenting?”

The Stories Being Told About Us

Anti-immigrant rhetoric and the broader migrant rights movement have experienced simultaneous growth over the past decade. As the stories of undocumented people continue to find their way into the media spotlight, a national narrative is being built around the undocumented experience in the United States. Yet this narrative too-often leaves out the perspective and authentic voice of its very subject: the undocumented community.

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Tumblr of the Week: (Un)documenting

thisisfusion:

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Photography by Gerardo Mendez, one of the people featured in (Un)documenting. 

By SYLVIA CIPRA

Each week we feature a Tumblr that we think stands out for all the right reasons.  Whether it has original content or a great mission, we hope to introduce you to the best that Tumblr has to offer.  Feel free to submit/recommend your favorite blogs to Sylvia.Cipra@Fusion.com

This week we have a newbie in the Tumblr world, (Un)documenting.  This blog showcases undocumented, or formally undocumented, people and all of their creative glory. 

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Day 10: Julio Salgado

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In Their Words:

"I believe that art has a big impact on culture and politics. I want to honor the younger folks that are doing amazing work that have given me the courage to come out as an undocumented person, and I want to honor them with art. I have actually come out of the closet twice - once as an undocumented immigrant and also as a queer person. It’s interesting the intersectionality between both identities." (link)

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Undocumenting: Week 2

Here’s a recap of the awesome folks who were featured last week:

Day 5: From New York, Melissa Garcia Velez reminds us that dance knows no borders, or boundaries

Day 6: From New York comes the award-winning videography of Frisly Soberanis

Day 7: From San Francisco, Raul Barrera's handmade leather bags help support his college education

Day 8: From Brooklyn, the work of Gerardo Mendez spans across activism, portrait photography, and fashion

Day 9: From Los Angeles, Dillon Sung explores what it means to be a revolutionary artist

On Friday, we were also featured as Univision’s Tumblr of the Week! Check out a summary here

Tune in this later afternoon for our first artist feature of this week!

Day 9: Dillon

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In Their Words:

" Perhaps the distinguishing question to ask is not "are you or are you not an artist?" but rather, "are you an artist or a revolutionary artist?" "

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Day 8: Gerardo Mendez

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In Their Words:

I design because colors and lines intrigue me, I am fascinated by the process of it all. You start with a blank screen and a couple of minutes or hours later you have a page full with lines and colors put together just right to make something beautiful, its amazing to me and every time I witness that I am completely fascinated like its the first time I witnessed design.

Photography for me is something of phenomena, it all has to do with light to make an imprint of a moment from life. I use this medium very broadly, I try to be as creative as possible every time I shoot, and I love it. It is something that I wish I had more time to do.” 

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Day 7: Raul Barrera

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In Their Words:

"En la vida nos encontramos con la mujer luchadora

La que con humildad te pide ayuda

La que camina contigo y tiena ideas de rebeldia

La que te demuestra que el cambio social no es solo cosa de la fuerza bruta” (link

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