Another transmission from Adal

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When an artist is as good at telling stories as Adal Maldonado, I always want more.

I asked Maldonado about the streak of anxiety about terrorism that runs through his “Blueprints for a Nation.” He has invented an anti-terrorism aerosol spray and some fictitious bodega bombers who run around his “El Spirit Republic de Puerto Rico” causing trouble. (See my previous post on Adal, and see his website for more). (all images from Maldonado’s website, top is “Auto portrait: Pelea de Gallos”)

Both the aerosol spray (to attract love and combat terrorism) and the bodega bombers, seem in tune with the events of 9-11. I found their inclusion with the other tongue in cheek inventions somehow more poignant than the rest. (image left is “Santo Borroso (Saint Blurry)”)

The artist told me in an email:

“A few weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack, Rev. Pedro (Pietri–the late poet with whom Maldonado collaborated in the creation of the Spirit Republic) told me that he was fed up with all the tributes that were being paid to all the people that had died…He told me that the Embassy (of the Spirit Republic) should pay tribute to the people who had survived. Then he proceded to tell the story of a member of his family who worked on the 89th floor of the first tower that was hit.

“On the morning of the attack she had a doctor’s appointment and traded places with a friend who normally worked the night shift. So her friend died in her place. This woman was devastated, of course, and he wondered if we could do anything to help her through this trauma.

“I told him that we should incorporate her into the tribute for the survivors and that I would create an artifact and present it to her at the event. So I came up with the anti-terrorist aerosol spray. I presented it to her at the event and it brought some humor into her life that contributed to easing the pain.”

Here’s part of the prayer that appears on the “Santo Borroso Benedictum Spray” The prayer starts as a plea for help with love and ends…”keep me safe from all these jive time, crazy ass terrorist maniac motherfuckers terrorizing this nation….Amen.”

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