What are Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla known for?
In this fragmented world of the 21st century, if we are to name one element that unifies many distinct strings and grants them with a character of their own, then it would inevitably be art.
Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla undertook this very principle in their representation of the activist concept. They challenged to challenge everything conventional. Instead of practicing protest as frenzied indignation, the artists turned it into “proactive testing.” For them, responsibility did not root from a profound sense of duty. They transformed it into “the ability to respond.”
According to Calzadilla, the power to staunchly oppose the assumptions behind our everyday terms sources from the will to question them regularly. Art has an indispensable role to play in catalyzing this task. It fundamentally provokes an individual to probe deeper into all those things that have been seamlessly accepted by the society for so long, only to look for an appropriate substitute in participation, representation, and identification.
The Land Mark series was a civil disobedience campaign. Over 2001 and 2002, Allora and Calzadilla, together with a group of activists, encroached into one of the United States Navy Bombing range in a beach of Vieques, Puerto Rico. The U.S. Military and NATO have used this location for various military exercises for more than 60 years.
The two artists collaborated with the resistance group to produce rubber shoes that came with distinct soles. The customized shoe soles were engraved with different messages and images that silently, yet strappingly put forward the grievances, opinions, and demands of the protestors.
Even though the activists entered the realms of the bombing range illegally, their objective was to bring about their messages under the attention of the military staff employed in that particular military facility. Some of these memoranda were explicit while the others subtly hinted at their claims. The primary objective, however, was to reclaim the disputed territory, thereby rendering the term landmark with a whole new meaning.
Land Mark discusses the discrimination and forceful acquiring of Vieques by the U.S. Navy, which was initiated during the Second World War and ended only in 2003. The military practiced bombing and secretly tested various technologies, including the hazardous napalm and radioactive shells on the island’s residents during 1969.
If you look at this protest carefully, you will be able to trace how effortlessly Allora and Calzadilla, along with the resistance group, modified the age-old designation of landmark with a new one.
Furthermore, the common public perceived this movement as a strong and obligatory voice that tagged itself with the label of inescapable for a collective cause. Thus, keeping up with the former affirmations of Calzadilla, the face of their revolution was no longer violence, but silent disapproval coupled with a formidable assertion.