Latin / American Diet, 2011
in collaboration with Carolina Mayorga
video installation, (video, 7:30 min, edition of 10)
Latin / American Diet is a collaborative work by artists Kristina Bilonick and Carolina Mayorga. The piece plays off the duality of the two artists’ cultures. Bilonick was born in the U.S. and has roots on her father’s side in Panama. Mayorga was raised in Colombia but has resided in the States for many years. The two riff off of Latin American and American stereotypes in this tounge-in-cheek video of two women shopping for groceries.
The video is done in the style of an educational video that might be played for school children. But the message is intentionally open ended and somewhat absurd. The two artists playfully mix bits of Latin-American and American stereotypes, culture and cuisine in their shopping adventures, narrated by two animated characters modeled after characters like ‘Dora the Explorer’ and ‘Hoda and Kathy Lee’. Although light-hearted in nature, this piece is meant to confront the audience with their own views and experiences. In the end the message is that there is no such thing as a ‘Latin American’ diet and that anyone living in America eats and partakes in activities that span a variety of cultures on a daily basis.
To illustrate this further, the two artists kept a food journal for a week during their time working together. The two journals were posted on a bulletin board and the visitors are asked to guess which artist ate which foods. Our classroom bulletin board also acts as a way to document our collaborative process.
Also on display on the bulletin board, a ‘Latin/American’ food pyramid spoofing the ones we’d seen published by the USDA geared for both ‘American’ and ‘Latin Americans’. We also posted some email exchanges alongside photographic outtakes from our adventures making the video. The video and bulletin board are arranged with other furniture in a classroom setting that helped the viewers get immersed in the learning experience.