Ali Baca Intellectual Profile

  1. Give some basic information about your studies and fields of interest.

My name is Alicia Baca, though I go by Ali. I’m a junior and I have three majors and one minor; Art History, Russian Language and Culture, Humanities, and Nordic Languages and Culture. Some of my fields of interest are early Russian history and early Russian connections with Scandinavia, the Russian avant-garde (especially avant-garde film), and contemporary Russian art. I also have some interest in wartime propaganda art and socialist realism. I also enjoy studying world mythologies and folk beliefs. I also enjoy seeing how mythologies and folk beliefs are presented in contemporary media.

  1. Describe an exhibition that you liked or found impressive. Tell us why. Please provide a link to a website, if possible.

I unfortunately haven’t been to any artist specific exhibitions lately. The last museum I went to was the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia and there weren’t any specific exhibitions going on while I was there.

  1. Which books did you read of late (art, fiction, non-fiction)? Pick one and go into detail about it.

For the most part, I’ve been reading just for fun lately. I read “The Vinland Sagas” recently and that was fairly interesting as it was a, fairly detailed, account of the vikings discovery of North America and their interactions with the natives. What I found most interesting about it though is that for something that was written in the 11th century it had strong female characters who were shown to be scarring off the natives. In addition to that, there was also a strong connection to Nordic folk lore surrounding the dead coming back to life as messengers to the characters who were still alive. For the most part I found that bit interesting as it shows that even in a piece of travel writing, folk beliefs still remain strong and are presented as if they were actual facts.

  1. What are your main interests besides art?

I really enjoy learning languages and I enjoy translating songs and poetry as practice in my free time. Currently I’m studying Russian at CU and I’m hoping to take a course in Swedish through ALTEC. I also plan on taking German next year as German tends to be one of the main languages Russians learn in addition to English. I am also attempting to teach myself Icelandic until I have a chance to study abroad in Iceland. Other than language, I also really enjoy music that incorporates folk instruments such as folk punk and folk metal.

  1. Which blogs do you check regularly?

I don’t really follow blogs as much as I follow news sites. Typically I regularly check up on The Moscow Times, National Public Radio, and The Reykjavik Grapevine.

  1. Which cultural event has really impressed you lately? This can be a museum, a concert, or anything like that, but also a sports game (if you consider this a cultural event for which there are good reasons). Or anything I am not even thinking of … Again, tell us why.

I guess this can be considered both political and cultural, but I have found the riots against Vladimir Putin’s actions during the time before the Russian presidential election to be very fascinating. I, as odd as this is going to sound, am happy that these riots are happening because it has been rare in Russia’s history that their people take a stand against their authority for what they want. I cannot wait to see how the upcoming presidential election in March is going to turn out and how the people will react. I’m even more excited because while I was in Russia this past summer I encountered quite a few people who believed that Russia was not capable of changing its system and I’m curious to see if this might be a moment where major change might take place. As a result of this, I’m also interested about the art that might be produced during this time, particularly those with anti-Putin sentiments.

  1. Please describe briefly an article in a newspaper or a magazine that got you thinking lately. Reading online is fine, and what you introduce here does not have to be about art. If the respective article is available online, please link to it!

The only I can really think of that got me thinking recently was an article on how “Iceland is the Best Place to be a Woman.” I’ve always found it interesting how the Nordic countries always make it to the top of those lists like “Happiest Country in the World” or “Most Peaceful Country”. At the same time I find sad that the US presents itself as this “perfect” and “equal” country, but we can’t even close the gender gap as much as the Nordic countries have (Though then again, Iceland is a country that gave their women more rights and freedoms in 1100’s. than the US gave theirs in the 1800’s.), we have many homeless people, racism, sexism, and there are many other things I can add to this list. Overall, it just made me feel sad about how we present ourselves and how we really are, though that probably goes for all countries and not just our own.

Please share with us a thought or an idea that really widened your intellectual horizon. Again, this must not be limited to the visual arts. If possible, give a source for this idea so that others know where to go to if they are interested.

I actually came up with this one yesterday while we reading through quotes in my writing in the visual arts class. The quote that got my wheels turning was “The artist’s job is not to solve the problem, but to present the problem correctly” by Anton Chekhov. It made me think about why I had trouble coming up with conceptual ideas in my art works, especially in regards to the ones that depicted issues that were important to me personally, such as the condition of albinism. I’m albino myself and I’ve always wanted to show the world that none of us are these freaky, pale, recluses that social media depicts us as. If anything I believe that they make us that way by projecting that role onto us. However, I’ve always had a hard time depicting my ideas in a way that would be easy to understand, but after mulling over that quote I think I may have been going about my work in the wrong way and if anything else, Chekhov’s idea of the artist’s job was a nice wake up call.

9. Have you been to the Denver Art Museum, MCA Denver and BMoca Boulder? Describe one art object or a show you remember seeing.

I’ve been to all three museums at least twice before. One of the shows I remember seeing at BMOCA was The Flying Ohno Twins. It was very interesting, and to be frank, didn’t make any sense at all. The performance consisted of the artists participating in a pseudo sports marathon that consisted of some of the most ridiculous activities like eating a hot dog and rolling around on the floor. They also pulled the audience members into their act at certain points in the performance as well. From what I heard afterwards, the other collaborating artists also didn’t have any idea as to what the purpose behind this performance was.

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