Alex Dolores Salerno, EXTRAHERE, 2021, Coffee beans, thread, and cable reel 16 x 20 x 16 inches
Alex Dolores Salerno, Arranged with Care, 2022, 2 channel video, airplane pillowcase, herbs, and the color of horchata lojana, Dimensions variable
Click the button below for the audio and text of the VISUAL DESCRIPTION for Alex Dolores Salerno’s EXTRAHERE and Arranged with Care:
Alex Dolores Salerno (b. 1994) (they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Informed by queercrip experience, they work to critique standards of productivity, notions of normative embodiment, the commodification of rest, and 24/7 society.
Despite being one of the world’s most traded commodities, coffee has become a normalized and often overlooked symbol of work culture. The title EXTRAHERE is Latin for to drag out, draw forth, extract, or remove. Global capitalism’s extraction of resources and demand for constant productivity hides behind notions of coffee as social currency and the guise of workplace hospitality. Positioning slowness and rest as an access need, the artist’s process entails spending time gluing together countless coffee beans, one by one on a continuous red thread, rejecting urgency, grind culture, and using the process as a way of stimming.
Arranged with Care is a 2 channel video that considers translation and slow looking as forms of access, as well as intergenerational healing through access to plants and cultural traditions. The video features the artist’s mother and aunt who present many of the herbs used to make horchata lojana, a traditional medicinal drink from Loja, Ecuador, through an iPhone video texted to the artist when they could not travel to visit their family due to the pandemic. The video is installed on two monitors, the original Spanish video on one and an interpreted English version on the other, with a doubling of captions in both languages in large text on each video. The viewing bench is painted the color of horchata lojana. The vibrant color is understood to invigorate the consumer. Sitting on the bench is a small airplane pillowcase stuffed with many of the same herbs, to be embraced by the audience. By connecting rest and crip time to our relationship with the earth, Arranged with Care explores disability aesthetics and embraces disability existence as a tactic to refuse and subvert capitalist expectations
For Chapter 1 of Indisposable: Structures of Support after the ADA Salerno created a short meditative film titled El Dios Acostado that focused on three scenes from their mother’s hometown San Pedro de la Bendita in southern Ecuador and the neighboring town of Vilcabamba, which was made famous by purported claims of residents who lived well beyond 100 years. Dubbed “The Valley of Longevity,” Vilcabamba became a popular destination for American and European tourists. The film sets a pace of rest and repose for the viewer while asking us to consider the disabling ramifications of colonialism and tourism and the high value placed on productivity and immortality.