Friday, April 18, 2014

Thesis Exhibition at the Blaffer Art Museum

When I was a little girl I went to a small one room school in the country that was run by two Dominican nuns named Sister Benita and Sister Leona. Many simple white wooden shelves ran through the space, dividing it into different ‘grades’ as it were. On each shelf was an assortment of objects, from bird’s nests to small bones to shells. There were even some small cards with what I would come to know years later as fine art; Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy looked out at me, frozen in a mysterious satin costume from a time and place I knew nothing of. From time to time the nuns set us to cleaning the school, and my favorite task was to dust these shelves. To do so, I removed all of the items and carefully rearranged them across the nearby floor. I remember that once one of the sisters commented on my placement system, and I felt very proud.
Objects from Houston, Texas

The Art School Phantasms or Ghosts or “Not to be outdone, the women told ghost stories too. Inés Viñas told the story of a portraitist who abandoned his art as a result of specializing in ghost portraits. The ghosts materialized only to pose and then disappeared again. It was frustrating for the artist not to have any enduring reality with which to compare his work. But that was not the worst thing. The worst thing was that the ghosts rationed their visibility in a rather drastic manner, and didn’t even materialize in their entirety; only the feature that the artist was copying at a particular moment appeared, and not even that: just the line, the mere brush-stroke...They duplicated his work so perfectly that the exasperated painter broke his brushes, stamped on his palette, kicked the easel over, and bought himself a Leica. Which only made things worse, much worse” (César Aira, Ghosts).
1987, 1990, 2008 (English Translation), 2011-2014

Mixed media

Philodendron Tower
Mixed media

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


My video "Cutting Fruits" is on view at Sala Dîaz in San Antonio, TX (517 Stieren) thru April 27, 2014 in the group exhibition Happy Homemakers: The Pleasures and Perils of Domestic Life curated by The Menil Collection's Toby Kamps.

Monday, March 10, 2014


-New interview with Austin artist Ricky Yanas on Glasstire

-Cody Ledvina (and Brandon) made a video studio visit on Carets & Sticks

-My thesis show at the Blaffer Art Museum opens on April 4, 6-9 pm and runs thru April 19, 2014.

-I will be performing in Adding a Beat curated by Hanna Yoo at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Hirsch Library on April 11, 2014, 5:30 pm

Friday, February 7, 2014

 Chingados: Image & Text in Cortés Poem by Ricardo Favela & Luis “The Foot” González

 Jade Hand-Shaped Pendant, 1500-300 BC: Bodily Anomaly in Olmec Art

 Daniel Joseph Martínez’s Museum Tags: Race and Resistance in America, 1993

 Speech Investigation: Castrapo

The Historiography of Visual Culture in Mexico, 1980s-2012: Images of Popular Culture, Profit, and Patria

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Recuerdo de DF
digital print

I just found this essay from 2 years ago: 

May 8, 2012
Speech Investigation: Castrapo

1.0 Introduction
Language of the Iberian Peninsula has never been static. Over the last several hundred years, languages in Spain have diverged, converged, multiplied, and died. Inevitably, the languages coexisting in this small geographic region have exerted influence on each other. As a part of Spain, Galicia is a crucible of linguistic variation in which elements of Portuguese, Castilian Spanish, and Gallego intermix to form Castrapo, the Spanish spoken by Galicians. Origin and experience shape each speaker, but not all speakers fit perfectly into a particular linguistic mold. As an individual fluent in four languages living abroad, the informant in this study exhibits some tendencies of her homeland, and others that are atypical. This study will investigate the phonetic and phonological variation of the informant through intonation, vowel variation, Gheada, velarization of the word-final nasal, and other tendencies.

2.0 Methodology and Biographical Information
The interview was conducted in the informant’s apartment in west Houston. The informant is a 26 year old female and a native of Galicia, Spain. Born and raised in Burela, the informant attended the University of Santiago de Compostela, completed a study abroad program at the University of Perugia, Italy, and later studied at the University of Antonio Nebrija in Madrid. After graduating, the informant worked in Bilbao, then London. The informant moved to Houston in 2010 to work at the Spanish Consulate. The informant speaks Gallego, Castilian Spanish, English, and Italian. The informant is married to an Italian and speaks mostly Italian with him. The informant’s husband speaks Italian, English and some Spanish.

3.0 History of the Evolution of Gallego
3.1 Beginnings
Details of the linguistic characteristics of the Galician region in Pre-Roman times are unclear. The Romans spread Vulgar Latin until 8th century when the Visigoths invaded, contributing a small lexical influence. The Gallego-Portuguese language developed in what is now Portugal and Galicia. Due to the west coast’s relative geographic isolation from the rest of the peninsula, Gallego-Portuguese was a conservative language with many archaic forms. In 711 AD, the Moors invaded Iberia from the south. Like the Visigoths, the Moors contributed to the Spanish lexicon. In the 12th century, the Kingdom of Portugal was established, and in the 13th century, the Kingdom of Castile incorporated Galicia. The Gallego and Portuguese languages separated during the 14th and 15th centuries (Beswick 112).  In 1479 AD, Aragon became part of the Kingdom of Castile. With the influx of Castilian nobles now in Galicia, Castilian Spanish dominated. Gallego lost its prestigious status since it was no longer the language of nobles, public administration, or documentation. Gallego was shunted to use by “lower-class rural dwellers” (Loureiro-Rodríguez 119). The Kingdom of Spain was finalized in 1492 AD.
3.2 Modern Changes
It was not until the 19th century that interest in Gallego experienced a resurgence; the first Gallego dictionaries and grammars were created at this time (Beswick 114). Although Franco was Galician, during his dictatorship (1939 to 1975) the speaking and writing of Gallego was outlawed (Loureiro-Rodríguez 119). In 1978, Spanish democracy was declared, and Gallego became a co-official language with Castilian Spanish. Despite rampant stigmatization since the 15th century, Gallego persevered due to the inherent nature of the region’s people. According to Verónica Loureiro-Rodríguez (2007), “The conditions (that) lead to the stigmatization of Gallego were the very factors that helped maintain it: isolation, illiteracy, rurality, and poverty” (Loureiro-Rodríguez 121). From the marginalization of the Middle Ages to the oppression of Franco, this crucial element of Galician culture was preserved by those who were historically disparaged.
3.3 Contemporary Times
Today, Spain is divided into Autonomous Communities, a unique configuration meant to maximize regional identity. While Castilian is spoken throughout Spain, many Autonomous Communities such as Cataluña, the Basque Country, and Valencia maintain their own native languages. In Galicia, Gallego is taught in schools in order to reinforce its role as an integral part of the region’s culture and identity. According to a linguistic study published by the Xunta de Galicia (2003), 93% of Galicians speak Gallego, and 72% maintain a favorable attitude towards the language (Hualde 422). Galicia is a crucible of linguistic variation, as José del Valle explains:
The Galicians...want to maintain the multiple norms available to them. Standard Galician, local Galician norms, code-mixing and code-switching norms, Galician Spanish and Standard Spanish. Modernity has not caused the convergence of linguistic behavior, it has in fact broadened the linguistic repertoire of Galicians (Del Valle 130).
For this reason, the informant learned Gallego from birth and continues to speak it, rather than Castilian, with Galician friends and family. The informant is a representative of the diffused speech community that forms the ethnic identity of the region.

4.0 Castrapo
Though many Galicians code switch between dialectical and standard Gallego, as well as Castilian and Gallego, they also employ a distinct form of Spanish. Centuries of contact between Gallego and Castilian produced “español agallegado,” also known as “Castrapo,” terms used by Galicians to describe the Castilian Spanish that they speak (Klee 69). Contact between Castilian and Gallego since the Middle Ages created a transference of patterns and derivations of norms from both languages. This language transference entails a leakage in function and a mixing in form so that traits from one language become totally integrated into the other. Transferred traits may be stigmatized by the larger population, but for speakers of the dialect, the transferred traits do not appear foreign. Therefore, the way that many Galicians speak Spanish is influenced by the phonological and phonetic tendencies of Gallego.

5.0 Basic Phonemes
The basic phonemes for the informant’s dialect are /b/, /p/, /m/, /f/, /t̪/, /d̪/, /θ/, /s̺/, /n/, /l/, /r/, /ɾ/, /ɲ/, /ʝ/, /tʃ/, /k/, /x/, /g/, /u/, /o/, /a/, /e/ and /i/. Some of these phonemes contain allophonic variants. The /b/ manifests itself as the voiced bilabial plosive [b] after a pause or a nasal (Transcription page one: “Burela” [bu-ˈɾe-la]), or the voiced bilabial fricative [β] in all other contexts (Transcription page one: “pueblo” [ˈpu̯e-βlo]). The /d̪/ is the voiced dental plosive [d̪] after a pause, nasal, or [l] (Transcription page two: “grande” [ˈɣɾan̪-d̪e]), or the voiced dental fricative [ð] in all other contexts (Transcription page one: “estudios” [es̺-ˈt̪u-ði̯os̺]). The /n/ is the voiced dental nasal [n̪] before [t̪] (Transcription page seven: “diferentes” [ði-fe-ˈɾen̪-t̪es]), the voiced alveolar nasal [n] after a pause, intervocalically, or before an alveolar sound (Transcription page seven: “menos” [ˈme-nos]), or the voiced velar nasal [ŋ] before a velar sound or at the end of a word (Transcription page two: “Houston” [ˈxus-t̪oŋ]). The /g/ is the voiced velar plosive [g] after a pause or after a nasal, or the voiced velar fricative [ɣ] in all other contexts (Transcription page four: “gustaría” [ɣus-t̪a-ˈɾi-a]).
5.1 Entonation
One of the most prominent features of the informant’s speech is her melodic intonation. Many phrases are broken into individual groups that are intoned with several abrupt rises and falls. Examples of this can be found in nearly every substantial response given by the speaker. On page two of the transcription the speaker says, “Mi hermano estuvo a punto de venir, pero...por cuestión de trabajo tuvo que esperar mucho tiempo” [mi̯eɾ-ˈma-nu̯es̺-ˈt̪u-βu̯a-ˈpun̪-t̪o-ðe-βe-ˈniɾ-ˈpe-ɾɔ:#poɾ-ku̯es̺-ˈt̪i̯oŋ-ðe-t̪ɾa-ˈβa-xo-ˈtu-βo-kes̺-pe-ˈɾaɾ-ˈmu-tʃo-ˈti̯em-po]. The tonal pattern is illustrated below:
In the informant’s speech, the tone rises in each phonic group, then descends suddenly. This tonal process repeats throughout the interview. The musical cadence and melodic character that pervades the informant’s speech is not typical of Standard Latin American Spanish, nor the Standard Castilian Spanish of the rest of Spain. Blas Arroyo (2005) elaborates: Quizá el rasgo más sobresaliente sea la interferencia suprasegmental, caracterizada por la sucesión rápida de líneas melódicas típica del gallego, en lugar de los grupos entonacionales más extensas del español general” (Arroyo 568). Tonal variation is a unique feature of Castrapo due to its proximity to Gallego, and in the case of the informant, might also be influenced by her daily use of Italian with her Sicilian husband.
5.2 Vowel Variation
As she formulates her next thought, the informant frequently draws out many word-final vowels for several seconds. In these instances, the vowel sound is slightly closed as the informant elongates its articulation. This tendency reflects the vowel system of Gallego, which is more extensive than that of Standard Castilian Spanish. Gallego consists of seven oral vowel phonemes in tonic and pretonic position: /u/, /o/, /ɔ/, /a/, /ɛ/, /e/, and /i/; Standard Castilian consists of five vowel phonemes: /u/, /o/, /a/, /e/, and /i/ (Beswick 135). This extended vowel system is a legacy of the 16th century Gallego-Portuguese pronunciations of vowel sounds:
terra [ˈtɛ-ra] “tierra”
nove [ˈnɔ-βe] “nueve”
pouco [ow] “poco”
madeira [ma-ˈðej-ɾa] “madera”
moito [ˈmoj-t̪o] “mucho”
Examples from Gallego-Portuguese vowel sounds demonstrate that Castrapo speakers frequently open middle vowels /o/ and /e/. Thus, the closed vowel sound [e] becomes the open vowel sound [ɛ], and the closed [o] becomes open [ɔ]. In the informant’s speech, vowel change occurs most prominently in prolonged, world-final /o/ and /e/; common transitions “eh” [e] becomes [ɛ:] and “pero” [ˈpeɾo] becomes [ˈpeɾɔ:]. The opening of /e/ and /o/ affects the final /e/ articulated in diphthongs: in these cases, “bueno” is [ˈbwɛ-no] and “tiene” is [ˈt̪jɛ-ne]. Rising diphthongs may be realized as hiatus: “viuda” is [bi-ˈu-ða]. Klee (2009) elaborates: Tales variaciones parecen estar ligadas a las normal fonológicas del gallego, lengua que siguió una trayectoria evolutiva más parecida a la del portugés, en cuanto a diptongación se refiere: (Klee 70). The closing of word-final atonic /o/ to [u] is common in Castrapo, as with Standardized Castilian. However, the influence of Gallego also closes middle vowel /e/ at the end of a word, so that “leche” [ˈle-tʃe] becomes  [ˈle-tʃi] and “mano” [ˈma-no] becomes  [ˈma-nu]  (Hualde 423).
5.3 La Gheada
The presence or absence of the linguistic phenomenon gheada is one of the most prominent phonetic features of present day speech in Galicia. Gheada replaces the articulation of the Standard Castilian voiced velar plosive /g/ in all intervocalic or world-initial occurrences with an alternate sound. This can be weakly articulated voiceless velar fricative [x], its aspirated counterpart [xʰ], pharyngeal voiceless [h], voiced glottal fricative [ɦ], voiceless pharyngeal fricative [ħ], voiced pharyngeal fricative [ʕ], voiceless uvular fricative [χ], or voiced uvular fricative [ʁ] (Beswick 141). However, the most frequent articulation of gheada is the replacing of the voiced velar plosive /g/ with [x] or [h]. Therefore, the Castilian word “gota” pronounced with gheada would be articulated as [ˈxo-t̪a] or [ˈho-t̪a] (Hualde 423). Gheada may be encountered in the Central Zone of the region, but is typically limited to Galician speakers of the Western Zone. The informant articulates the voiced velar plosive /g/ in the Standard Castilian manner; the informant is from the far north of the Central Zone. See map below for geographic demarcation of the linguistic zones of Galicia:
Gheada is considered non-standard, and is stigmatized as rural, uneducated speech. Rabanal (1967) found that many rural, native Gallego-speakers pronounced the Standard Castilian [g] as [x] when speaking Castilian, so that: [ˈa-xu̯a] “agua”, ˈ[lu̯e-xo] “luego”, [ˈxoɾ-ðo] “gordo. Rabanal conveys bias in the language used to describe the situation: “Como fenómeno rústico, que merece burla, el ‘geante’ que habla castellano trata frecuentemente de corregirse, y, en su afán de corrección, incurre en ultracorrección” (Rabanal 31). Rabanal observes overcorrection such as: [go-ˈse] “José”, [mo-ˈgaɾ] “mojar”, [ka-ˈgoŋ] “cajón.”
5.4 Velarization of word-final /n/
The informant articulates all word-final nasals as [ŋ], including words like “Houston” [xus̺-ˈt̪oŋ], “en” [eŋ], and “inauguración” [i-nau̯-ɣu-ɾa-ˈs̺i̯oŋ]. This tendency is found throughout Galicia where word-final /VN/ sequences become [Vŋ]. Velarization of the word-final /n/ is historically also a trait of Leon, and is currently a trait of Asturian and Andalusian Spanish (Klee 73). Word-final velarization of /n/ is related to Galicia’s linguistic past: “In accordance with the historical development of other Romance Languages, it is generally agreed that vowel nasalization evolved in Galician-Portuguese as a result of regressive assimilation to a conditioning nasal consonant of the Latin base word” (Beswick 153). In Portuguese, the word-final nasal consonant was eventually dropped, but in Gallego, the nasal vowel was retained and velarized to become [ŋ], while the vowel was de-nasalized. This phenomenon is illustrated below:
Latin: mānu “hand” > Gallego-Portuguese: manu > mano > [ˈmãŋo] >
Portuguese: [mão]; Gallego: [maŋ]
The Castrapo tendency to pronounce word-final nasals as [ŋ] is therefore a transference from Gallego. Therefore it follows that the informant, as a native Galician who also speaks Gallego, exhibits this tendency.
5.5 Standard Castilian Spanish and other observations
The informant exhibits several linguistic tendencies that are typical of Standard Castilian Spanish speakers. She is conservative in the articulation of consonants: the informant maintains the voiced dental fricative in past participle words such as “aplicado” [a-pli-ˈka-ðo] (transcription page two), as well as the word-final unvoiced alveolar fricative /s/ to indicate plurality or second person indicative: “piensas” [ˈpi̯en-s̺as̺] and “personas” [peɾ-ˈs̺o-nas̺] (transcription page two). She also articulates /ð/ in word-final voiced dental plosive /d̪/ contexts, such as “Madrid” [ma-ˈðɾið] (transcription page one). the informant employs the voiceless apico-alveolar fricative [s̺] in situations that typically utilize the voiceless alveolar fricative [s] in syllable-final contexts. This use is a typical feature of the phoneme /s/ in Gallego (Hualde 399). Typical to an individual of her generation and origin, the informant uses the voiced palatal fricative /ʝ/, not the voiced palatal lateral approximant /ʎ/, which is increasingly a less common phoneme in Spain. the informant makes a phonological distinction between /θ/ and /s/. This can be seen in words like “vez” [βeθ] and “ves” [βes̺] (transcription page one). Although seseo occurs in some parts of Galicia, it is usually limited to those zones that utilize gheada, and is even less common than gheada. Seseo is most typical on the west coast of Galicia, such as in cities like Pontevedra and La Coruña (Klee 73). The informant is from the north east coast of Galicia, and accordingly does not utilize seseo. The informant utilizes the voiceless palatal fricative /x/ rather than the aspirated [h] in syllable-initial and syllable-final contexts, such as “Jesús” [xe-ˈs̺us̺] (transcription page one) and “Nebreja” (transcription page one). This pronunciation is typical of Standard Castilian Spanish.

6.0 Conclusion
The informant’s speech retains many typical characteristics of Castrapo: its use of melodic intonation, vowel phonemes /u/, /o/, /ɔ/, /a/, /ɛ/, /e/, and /i/ word-final velarized nasal [ŋ], and voiceless apico-alveolar fricative [s̺]. Due to her geographic origins in North-Central Galicia, the informant does not utilize gheada or seseo in her speech. Despite long term interaction between Galician and Castilian, little scholarship has been produced regarding this specific type of Spanish, as Klee (2009) states: “Aunque han sido muy numerosos los estudios sociolinguísticos sobre la lengua gallega en los últimos años, la investigación de fenómenos de contact en el castellano de Galicia ha sido muy escasa” (Klee 69). However, Galicia is a center for linguistic interest and dialectical variation, as Jose del Valle explains: “Galicia is a diffused speech community in which the availability of several norms of linguistic behavior constitutes a source of ethnic identity” (Del Valle 131). The informant is an individual who travels regularly, and has lived in Galicia, Madrid, London, Italy, and the United States. She maintains relationships with members of various speech communities, and navigates her world in four languages each day. The informant is truly a representative of the complex and fascinating linguistic continuum of our day.


Beswick, Jaine. Regional Nationalism in Spain: Language Use and Ethnic Identity in        
Galicia. Claredon: Multilingual Matters, 2007.
Blas Arroyo, José Luis. Sociolinguística del español. Madrid: Cátedra, 2005.
Del Valle, José. “Monoglossic Policies for a Heteroglossic Culture: Misinterpreted
Multilingualism in Modern Galicia.” Language & Communication April 2000: 105-132.
Hualde, José Ignacio, et. al. Introducción a la linguística hispánica. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Klee, Carol A. and Andrew Lynch. El español en contacto con otras lenguas. Washington
DC: Georgetown University Press, 2009.
Loureiro-Rodríguez, Verónica. “Are Galicians Bound to Diglossia? An Analysis of the
Nature, Uses, and values of Standard Galician.” Spanish in Contact: Policy, Social, and Linguistic Inquiries. Ed. Kim Potowski and Richard Cameron. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing, 2007.
Rabanal, Manuel. Hablas hispánicas: Temas gallegas y leoneses. Madrid: Ediciones
Alcalá, 1967.

Monday, January 27, 2014

January 23, 2014
Project Gallery, University of Houston