IN THE WAKE OF CRISTÓBAL COLOMBO
i've reworked aspects of this so many times...i'm still not sure it's "finished."
if i could say anything about this piece, unresolved or not, it's a talk back to the inundation of negative press coverage on Haiti and Haitians in the West. coverage that promotes disaster capitalism, perpetuates retraumatization, and recycles old narratives of the historical while barely addressing actual history.
i found news clippings from the past two decades, i.e. coverage on everything from the 2010 earthquake, hurricanes Matthew, Harvey, Irma, and now Maria, the cholera outbreak brought on by UN peacekeepers, "boat people" and mass exodus, the blame placed on Haiti for HIV's "entrance" into the U.S., and more and doused them with coffee and salt. traditionally, coffee and salt is given to a person in shock or when one has to deliver bad news (that may cause shock). "The Paradise of God" is written across the bottom in sequins and engulfed by glitter. it's a reference to an entry in Christopher Columbus' nautical journal recounting his fleet's arrival to the island and his first impression(s). intent on enslaving the indigenous Taino - Arawak peoples and mining the island's gold, Haiti was the first island Columbus attempted to colonize in the West. eventually succeeding, Haiti would go from paradise to pearl to pariah under European rule and U.S. occupation.
through this work and my ongoing project, The 10th Department, i am generating an insurgent archive that disrupts conventional archives, which perform violence through misinformation and disinformation. my own form of coffee and salt.
**rather than use the Anglicized version of the Latin Christophorus Columbus aka Christoper Columbus, i've combined Cristóbal (Spanish for Christopher) and Colombo (Italian for Columbus).