Praise Music Sonogram (2022) is a work-in-progress live performance about motherhood, miscarriage, abortion, and an emergency room TV monitor playing Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. The performance is accompanied by a 30-minute video including chopped and screwed scenes from the movie juxtaposed with self-captured footage of a mechanical turning sign advertising vasectomies and sexual massage. Performance debuted as part of Nameless Sound’s They, Who Sound series at Lawndale Art Center.
Visage (2021) uses text and song to consider screens, longing, love, distance, and finding oneself in the face of another. Referencing common pandemic-era communication technology in which one is constantly confronted with one’s own image, I use a projector and my phone camera to produce images of the audience watching themselves watching me watching them and so on. Video feedback then becomes a site for contemplation of the never-ending human cycle of connection and loss.
When I was a little girl,
my uncle, young enough to be my brother
took a Polaroid of me
holding a Polaroid of me
holding a Polaroid of me
holding a Polaroid of me
and this image became the perfect illustration of my grief for him
mirroring itself in smaller and smaller iterations
and yet stretching infinitely
I talk about Levinas, the absence of touch, and the memory of sharing breath with a stranger. I shatter distance by playing a nose flute face to face with an audience member (who was not a stranger). The piece ends with me singing “Por Eso Me Quedo” by Lhasa de Sela and Yves Desrosiers, a song of tender longing laid bare.
Visage was commissioned by the Blaffer Art Museum in 2021 as part of A Time for Action. Images by Karen Martinez and the artist.
Treat Yourself (2019) is a 25-minute performance highlighting the commodification of self-care and the colonial tendencies of the “clean living” industry, using movement, recorded sound, stream of consciousness writing, and a communion of sorts with the audience. Treat Yourself was featured in the 2019 Experimental Action International Performance Art Festival.
Serious Work (2017) is a 30-minute performance that satirically contrasts the banalities of parental life with the performance artist persona, using a smartphone as mediator. I physically manifest the concept of over-sharing with my text-messaging naked body while highlighting the artistic clichés of the medium and questioning common notions of the “mom body.” While the audience is deprived of their own devices, I am increasingly drawn into a series of live text exchanges with my partner and a friend. As the text exchanges continue, the “seriousness” of the performance unravels to reveal the irony and humor underneath. Serious Work debuted at Blue Star Contemporary in 2017, and was featured at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in 2018 for the exhibition Right Here, Right Now: San Antonio.
Buried, Not Dead (2013) was a live performance and installation inspired by the true story of one man’s intimate experience with the sole survivor of a doomed ant farm. As he witnesses her strange journey and subsequent death, he examines mortality, loneliness, and our connection to life beyond the human realm. The artist performed this story accompanied by an original electric soundscape by Erik Sanden. Spectators watched the two performers through windows from the street, with the narrative amplified by sidewalk speakers. An audio recording of the story was played on location at Artpace for the duration of the exhibition and is available on the album Live Ballast.
Culo de Oro/The Golden Ass (2011) mixed original prose with text from interviews and Internet testimonials about sex tourism on the U.S./Mexico border. The dialogue was offset by popular songs whose lyrics complemented the text in unexpected ways, and the performance culminated in an explosive animated projection. Culo de Oro/The Golden Ass was first performed with musician Erik Sanden, in conjunction with my solo exhibition at Blue Star Contemporary in 2011. The work was also featured in the 2012 Fusebox Festival and the 2013 Texas Biennial.
“The trick narratives Barbosa Landois has collected and curated, performed live, are some powerful hoodoo, and present us with nowhere near the agitprop they would’ve in lesser hands. Barbosa Landois unmoors these male utterances from both an expected social context, and from a strictly-punitive gaze. You can feel the artist’s bewildered exasperation with the U.S.-side ‘johns,’ even as she allows them an utterly human-scale and vulnerable voice through Sanden’s performances of the short monologues, and, amazingly, through her own portrayal of these boys, delivered deadpan and uncaricatured.”
SARAH FISCH, GLASSTIRE
The completion of this work was made possible by a Media Arts Grant from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio and a residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute. Images courtesy Walley Films, Dayna de Hoyos, and the artist.