My recent work appropriates the myths, signs, and culture found in the public sphere, and through forms of performance and intervention new layers of information are introduced into familiar public and social systems which challenge viewers to question the familiar, and envision alternative models and possibilities.
I believe it is my job as an artist to brush history against the grain, and by employing modes of evocation that bring the past into the present, a rupture can be created, which provides and opportunity to explore unresolved histories, pose critical questions and affect social change.
In the following works, the politics of place and idenity in the Information Age are explored through forms of performance, intervention, photography and new media.
“Promised Land” transforms a real estate sign, which originally read “commercial land for lease” to “promised land for lease”. The intervention exposes the reality that the Promised Land is available for a price, while also questioning the ethos of the American Dream and it’s allusions of upward mobility in the midst of recessions, predatory home lending, Wall Street corruption, and an ever-increasing wealth gap.
Another recent project “Operation Guest” is a series of site-specific performances documented through photography where I learned that the Mexican Government disrupted a plot dubbed “Operation Guest” to smuggle Saadi Gaddafi, the son of the Muammar Gaddafi, from Niger, Africa to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, MX under the assumed name Daniel Bejar Hanan. My name is Daniel Bejar, and we also share a similar likeness. Utilizing this bizarre coincidence as a unique opporotunity to continue my research into questions of identity, authorship, and geo-poliitcs I traveled to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, MX to realize this story through documented site-specific performances in the safe houses, beaches and resturaunts Saadi was to spend the rest of his days in.
The project “Rec-elections” is a series of site-specific performances and interventions where I appropriated the posters of past historical Presidential campaigns and re-inserted them back into the context of the 2012 United States Presidential campaign. Through performances in protests and rallies at last year’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL, the project critiqued the weaponization of nostaligia and history as tools of manipulation within politics.
In “Neither Here Nor There” I traveled by plane and boat to the halfway point between the United States and Puerto Rico to document the site through photography. Acting as an allegory, the halfway point is a symbol for Puerto Rico’s current political status as an unincorporated territory of the United States, as well as my own multi-cultural experience. Upon returning I uploaded the image into the Google Earth application where the halfway point was made “real” and can now be found by the public.
And in my ongoing project “The Googlegänger” I discovered there was another Daniel Bejar who happened to be a rock star. I began re-staging images of him, which were pulled off of Google Image Search. The re-staged images are uploaded back onto the Internet where both images co-exist questioning ideas identity and personal history.
It’s projects such as these, where I am inserting my work and myself into the everyday to ask critical questions through radical poetics pushing the gesture of production beyond art.