Maritza Ruiz-Kim

Artist, San Francisco Bay Area

Mi Polígrafa

Mi Polígrafa

For the past few years I’ve been watching my country’s current events even more closely than I used to. It’s as if our national self-concept is suffering from a terrible cognitive dissonance, believing we stand for one thing while holding views and behaving in ways that are incompatible with the grand principles we say we cherish. I began to make bold drawings on my tablet, searching for symbols, lines, and forms and sometimes combining them with words that might explicitly capture specific convictions I hold dearly. 

I love playing with words, so the mash-up title that feels right is Mi Polígrafa. I think about the politics that drive this work along with the bold graphics that differentiate these drawings from my other work. The Spanish word for pen is bolígrafo.  I mixed poli- with -grafo and changed the form of the word to feminine, because my viewpoint and strength as a woman powers my work. By the way, since I don’t speak Spanish fluently, it took an internet search to learn that polígrafa and la poligrafa are already Spanish words with existing definitions. But that’s okay, I’m happy with the connection.

It’s still, 2013. 2min 20sec, audio.

My heart is still beating even though time stood still the moment I found out my nephew was killed in Afghanistan, And the war goes on. Core footage taken 7 Oct 2013 at National September 11 Memorial in NYC, on the 12th anniversary of the start of the US war in Afghanistan. I used several postcards purchased at the Museum of Modern Art… Jasper Johns’ “Flag”… I arranged them on the ground under the trees at the 9/11 memorial, then I walked in circles around the flags taking iPhone video, getting more and more dizzy. When I returned home, I printed my own series of flags and used them for the top layers of this video, with the original video showing as the very bottom layer. To make this, I placed an iPad on top of a full (uncut) American flag, then covered it with my printed flags before shooting this video.