As a brown and queer person, I feel compelled to imagine worlds outside western notions of reality. Creating a decolonial futurism by the aid of magical realism and science fiction. This is a future where; hybridity, myth making, and the fantastic inhabit the mundane along tangents of non-linear time. It is also a future pregnant with dark revelations— of the unresolved injustices of a corrupt state and the incestuous corporations it secretly nurtures. Our dysmorphic bodies are not aberrant exceptions, but the calculated result of land destruction and the encroachment of toxic waste.
The narrative device that drives my work is a queer brown brujx(a witch) that immigrated to the United States on their grandmother’s wooden broom. Following old turquoise trading routes replaced by the commerce of NAFTA in the Chihuahuan desert, a battalion of stars in the air, and the sweet smell of sacred datura that only blooms at night and wilts with the morning sun. My work is about moving to a small immigrant town in New Mexico bordering El Paso. Where rent is cheaper and taxes are lower than they are in Texas. But it is also about living a few feet from Juarez, Mexico, where one can cross the border to get a taco, visit family, and gather ingredients for potions: copal, patas de cabra, and piedra lumbre.
My work is a brujx possessed by a nahual. Anahual is a shape shifter that uses ancient indigenous Aztec therianthropy to turn into any animal—: a bull, a crane, a horse, and a ram. But what if this transformation is arrested by landfill fumes by being in close proximity to the Camino Real Landfill? Instead of turning into a nahual, the body is distorted into a state of traumatic malignant abjection that inverts inside out, its internal organs becoming grotesquely visible. Horns and bones mesh to create ultra-sensory tentacles. The brujx becomes a threshold, a half- human and half- animal self crystallized in the conspiracy between beauty and horror.
Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya lives in Richmond, Virginia. He is currently doing his MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media at Virginia Commonwealth University where the James River passes through there until it finally spills into the Atlantic. He grew up in El Paso, Texas and New Mexico, where he could walk to the Rio Grande from his home. Over the summers growing up, he would visit both his grandmothers’ houses, where they happen to live on the same street in Villa Lopez, Chihuahua Mexico. A few blocks away from their houses, an underground water cave spills close to a mountain where you can swim. There are race horses there, and turtles with long necks that bite at your toes.