Person Bio – Vidal

My name is Vidal Espina. I am a transfer student majoring in Visual Arts/Media with a minor in Speculative Design.

I grew up in the Greater Los Angeles area. Since my family moved around Los Angeles County all my life, I don’t have the standard social normative ability to call one place my neighborhood. I view all of Los Angeles as my childhood neighborhood and as such proudly represent myself as a native Angeleno.

I have Associate of Arts degrees in Fashion Design, Communication Studies, Arts and Humanities, and Language Arts.

While working on my transfer degree, I was in the inaugural staff of Logos Magazine as a writer specializing in features writing. Logos Magazine is culture and lifestyle magazine serving Glendora college community and surrounding public. I quickly rose in the ranks at Logos Magazine arriving as Creative Director before my departure at the magazine. As Creative Director, I helped in the art and photography for the magazine. I created and produced the Logos Magazine Podcast as a supplementary media to the magazine envisioning a time Logos would be a multimedia organization. For one issue, I experimented with Augmented Reality within the context of the printed version of the magazine with ideas of bring our features stories to life and initiating a more personal connection and approach to our featured artists.

At UCSD, I’ve become more interested in the exploration of art as an alternative to historical documentation. This has reignited my passion for storytelling and activism with the idea of art and its role in a completely different context of this new world of digital media and digital art. My interest in recontextualizing and reconceptualizing this art practice has been fueled even more by the study of art history. It’s this study that I’ve become fascinated with the notions of orientalism, barbarism, and the Latin American Indigenista movements; and, examining this notions through lens of the European supremacy lens that has plagued the art world then looking for way of new perspectives from the cultures and peoples that are often the subject matter of this type of art.

In the last 8 years, I have been really interested in politics, activism, and social issues. As I’ve seen our country become more and more polar/divisive, I find myself trying to understand where all this is stemming from. Of course this is a loaded question but I aim to try to unpack it. So I look at the rhetoric. I look at the actions and I try to view things from different perspectives. Then I try to find my place in all this. Meanwhile through my art practice, I’ve tried to interpret what I see, believe, and learn. It’s in this process that I see so many repeated similarities throughout history. And I begin to wonder why we continue to repeat history? Why have we not learned the lessons? Why do we believe that somehow this time will be different?

Then I think about the perspectives; viewing things through different lenses. If we look at things in only one way, we have no choice but to repeat.

So this brings me to what I hope to learn from this class, this experience. As I learn more about the colonial gaze, the attitudes of Westerner supremacy, and the actions taken under those contexts, I want to be able to interpret the lessons I’m learning into my art practice. I hope to use this experience to give a different perspective and yet something that is relatable; or at the very least, give real food for thought so that we might consider changing our attitudes to one another.

I was once told, “If you want REAL change, change the culture. Laws and policy will not change anything.”

That’s what colonial powers did, they changed the culture of the people and changed their course in history. They may have used laws and policy to facilitate this change but changing the people’s lives, beliefs and attitudes (who they are/were) is what has placed them in the world we are in today.

Bringing it back, if we are not satisfied with what is going on now and want change, then we need to change the culture. One way we can do that is to examine different perspectives, see how they viewed the world and one another, then see if we can stop repeating the antithetical beliefs/attitudes that don’t allow us to make the changes we desire.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. RUKMINI RAVI says:

    I really like how you tied these thoughts together about colonial powers and colonialism, and we the people as of right now. The way you mentioned everything was really uplifting yet written in this “it makes sense, right” kind of tone, which is super cool. The way you thought about how colonial powers made other cultures change significantly, made me put everything into perspective when you followed up this with the statement about how we can employ those same techniques for another cause, those causes being unity and just the mere expression of what makes us unhappy with the state of affairs right now.

  2. I am quite interested, too, in the concept of perspectives, and enjoyed the way you discussed it as “changing lenses.” I think this mindset is very relevant to this course and to our lives as scholars, since every bit of knowledge we learn can alter the lens through which we view the world. I agree with you fully that today is impacted by and related to the past, and I think you have a great philosophy of using the past to better the present and to learn lessons from what has already happened.

  3. Lea Kolesky says:

    Vidal, your post gave me goosebumps! I am also fascinated by barbarianism and orientalism, especially as it relates to American consumer culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I would love to know what sparked your passion for activism as well as what currently fuels it, as I know how easy it is to burn-out. I am also curious to know what kind of influence your education has had on your activism, and vice versa. Can’t wait to see the work you do in this class!

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