Raven Chacon & Cristóbal Martinez


Raven Chacon © Clayton Parker / Cristóbal Martínez © the artist

Raven Chacon (Diné) is a composer, artist, and filmmaker born in Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation, Arizona. He performs regularly as a solo artist and with numerous ensembles internationally. He received a BA in Fine Arts from the University of New Mexico (2001) and an MFA in Music Composition from the California Institute of Arts (2004), as a student of James Tenney, Morton Subotonick, and Wadada Leo Smith. His compositions, installations, visual and moving image artworks have been exhibited at venues around the world, including the Venice Biennale, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Whitney Museum of American Art, REDCAT, documenta 14, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, among many others. He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the United States Artists Fellowship in Music (2016), a Creative Capital Award in Visual Arts (2012), a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Artist Fellowship (2014), and the American Academy’s Berlin Prize for Music Composition (2018). He was awarded the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his composition Voiceless Mass. In addition to teaching courses at Bard College, Institute of American Indian Arts, University of New Mexico, and California College of the Arts, Chacon mentors high school-aged Indigenous composers through the Native American Composer Apprenticeship Project. His recent publication For Zitkála-Šá (2022), dedicated to contemporary American Indian, First Nations, and Mestiza women working in music performance, composition, and sound art, was published by Art Metropole and New Documents. He lives and works in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Cristóbal Martínez (Mestizo) is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, hacker, and filmmaker of Genizaro, Pueblo, Manito, and Chicano descent from Alcalde, New Mexico. His practice positions generative metaphors to aestheticize and mediate complexity at locations of dromological, spatial, social, cultural, political, ecological, and economic anxiety. He received a BA in Studio Art; a BFA in Painting (2002); an MA in Media Arts and Sciences (2011); and a PhD in Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics (2015) from Arizona State University. His work has been exhibited at museums, galleries, and festivals around the world, including the 2017 Whitney Biennial, Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Berlinale, documenta 14, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Brooklyn Underground Film Festival, Carnegie Museum of Art, Ballroom Marfa, Pueblo Grande Museum, San Francisco Cinematheque, and imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. He is founder of Radio Healer, an Indigenous hacker collective, and is a member of the American Indian arts collective Postcommodity. He is the recipient of numerous residencies, fellowships, and awards, including a Harpo Foundation Grant (2010); Creative Capital Visual Arts Award (2012); a Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship (2017); and a Fine Prize from The Fine Foundation in support of his project at the 57th Carnegie International (2019). His work is in public and private collections, including the Walker Art Center, Carnegie Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Princeton Museum, among others. He is Chair and Associate Professor of Art and Technology at the San Francisco Art Institute. He lives and works in San Francisco, California. 

ONLINE SCREENING DATES: January 9 – January 30, 2023

FILMS IN THIS PROGRAM: A Song Often Played on the Radio, 23 min, 2019
This series is co-selected and presented with COUSIN collective and is generously funded by a Digital Now grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

A Song Often Played on the Radio, 23 min, 2019

The mysterious El Cantor is sent by the King of Spain to find the mythological Cities of Cibola amongst the sands of the Rio Grande Valley. Meanwhile, La Cantante is another scoundrel in search of valuable metals in the desert. Spurred by the justification of moralistic “dichos,” the rival explorers come to learn what truly brought them to this land, understanding their true identities, and finding that they were only stealing from themselves. Featuring Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Nacha Mendez. – Raven Chacon & Cristóbal Martínez

I am a listener. My belief is that sound work cannot be made in isolation. These are acoustic, conceptual responses to land; they seek to acknowledge the people who have history in those places. There is a pedagogical and a generative feedback loop within these land-based practices. Composition and improvisation are the foundations of my work as an artist and teacher. Questioning the accessibility of tools or knowledge allows me to reframe the medium itself—whether sound, music, performance, video, or otherwise. This reframing can further the idea that an artwork can take a variety of mediums or forms that are inclusive, expansive, and guided by openness and the will to experiment. – Raven Chacon 

Raven Chacon’s latest publication For Zitkála-Šá (2022) is available from New Documents.

Watch an interview with Raven Chacon on 3 YES3. 

Read an article about Raven Chacon in the New York Times

I am interested in Xicano Rasquache and Native American Adaptive Reuse traditions as innovation spaces. These indigenous traditions are characterized as the appropriation, adaptive reuse, recycling, hacking, circuit-bending, and systems modifications of pervasive foreign technologies and literacies. – Cristóbal Martínez

Watch an interview with Cristóbal Martínez at Telematic. 

Visit Cristóbal Martínez’s website to learn more about his work.

All stills, photographs, and artwork courtesy © Raven Chacon. Screening co-presented with San Francisco Cinematheque and Three Fold Press, Detroit.