The Unauthorized Histography of California Volume 1
2018 
Appropriation art collage piece work-in-progress

What is The Unauthorized Histography of California Volume 1 ?

The Unauthorized Histography of California Volume 1 is an appropriated video collage exploring how individual and institutional predispositions towards patriarchal models intersect and impact notions of race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation.  In the early 1500’s Spanish writer Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo created Queen Calafia.  In a

Calafia, or Califia, is the fictional queen of the island of California, first introduced by sixteenth-century poet Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo in his epic novel of chivalry, Las sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián), written around 1510.

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Calafia, or Califia, is the fictional queen of the island of California, first introduced by sixteenth-century poet Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo in his epic novel of chivalry, Las sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián), written around 1510.

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Calafia, or Califia, is the fictional queen of the island of California, first introduced by sixteenth-century poet Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo in his epic novel of chivalry, Las sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián), written around 1510.

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time when colonization was in its infancy, he established a portrait of the powerful ruler of an independent, matriarchal, and militarized kingdom. In 2001 Disney re-appropriated her image in the now-closed 23-minute multimedia experience “Golden Dreams” telling the history of California through several recreated scenes narrated by the fictional warrior queen. Introduced as the “Queen of California” she watched over the viewers as a witness, mother, and protector as the observed admirable and regrettable incidents in the history of California’s creation. The Unauthorized Histography of California Volume 1 represents Calafia through the image of Diouana the main

protagonist in the movie La Noir De (aka Black Girl) directed by Ousmane Sembène. In Sembène’s film, Diouana represents a break from Eurocentric conventions by providing films first African perspectives on the tense relationships between the formerly colonized and colonizer.  In The Unauthorized Histography of California Volume 1, Diouana guides the viewer through historic flashes of the gold rush, white flight, and the LA Riots. It concludes that institutional use of structural violence, domestic violence, and violence in a community in order to maintain power and stability is a hypermasculinist model, which ultimately leads to weakness and instability.

The Unauthorized Histography of California Volume 1 2018 Appropriation art collage piece work-in-progress

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The Unauthorized Histography of California Volume 1 2018 Appropriation art collage piece work-in-progress

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The Unauthorized Histography of California Volume 1 2018 Appropriation art collage piece work-in-progress

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The Unauthorized Histography of California Volume 1 2018 Appropriation art collage piece work-in-progress

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The Making of The Unauthorized

Histography of California Volume 1

Listen to Chris Christion discuss his process of video collage and the creation of this video art series

Some important things to note:

1)    “Histography"

Histography is an interactive timeline. “It allows viewers to jump from a variety of events or target a specific event in time searching in relation to a specific category. So for example you could look at in the past century within the categories of war and inventions”

2)    Califia

I’m referencing Queen Calafia.  A literary figure from the early 1500s. Califia is a portrait of the powerful ruler of an independent, matriarchal, and militarized kingdom.

 

3)    Disney Golden Dreams

A now-closed 23-minute multimedia experience opened in 2001 by Disney. They re-appropriated Califia’s mage in the “Golden Dreams” telling the history of California through several recreated scenes narrated by the fictional warrior queen.

The Unauthorized Histography of California Volume 1, 2018, film still. Part of CALAFIA: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise 2018-2020.

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Disney Golden Dreams Experience
Disney Golden Dreams Experience

A now-closed 23-minute multimedia experience opened in 2001 by Disney. They re-appropriated Califia’s mage in the “Golden Dreams” telling the history of California through several recreated scenes narrated by the fictional warrior queen.

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Actress Mbissine Thérèse Diop
Actress Mbissine Thérèse Diop

Calafia through the image of Diouana the main protagonist in the movie La Noir De (aka Black Girl) directed by Ousmane Sembène.

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The Unauthorized Histography of California Volume 1, 2018, film still. Part of CALAFIA: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise 2018-2020.

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© Chris Christion, Artist/Curator