Tana LaKale

Below is an archive of Fall 2020 work from the Art & Society course by Tana LaKale:

The Creation 
Following the line of Digital Multimedia’s project: The Chaos Book, this painting talks about how chaos and unpredictable events affect our journey. The food and the jewelry are the elements chosen for representing each period of life, distinguished into three main parts: Before, during, and after Italy. 


Response to Alfredo Jaar:

About Alfredo Jaar’s Interviews

Without knowing anything before about the Chilean artist, I read the three interviews and the first impression he gave me is that he is someone with a plenty of references that finds inspiration in literature and poetry, which gives him an aura of romanticism and Bohemianism that I don’t know if fits very well with after the experiences he lives to produce his artwork: Wars, hungry, apartheid, dictatorship regimens…

I don’t have very clear his purpose and I see some clear contradictions in his speech, something that usually happens when artists try to make something meaningful out of other people’s disgraces. He says art is ‘peace’ and ‘freedom’ when the subject he uses for producing artwork is completely dehumanizing, and at the same time recognizes that there are things that can’t be solved with art. We should think instead who feels the ‘peace’ and the ‘freedom ‘ of your art, and if it is pointing the right direction.

When he uses the example of ‘The Man’ as a ‘reason’ why almost 50 years later Barack Obama was elected as president, it is a nice inspirational example of how culture can influence people mentalities,  but I think that what he is forgetting as many other ‘provocative’ artists, is that book gives hope, gives the possibility: Makes you see a diverse future, a new option despite the reality of legal racism that The States where living at that time. I think that the problem with Alfredo’s speech and many other contemporary artists speeches when they talk about hard realities is that the look for bringing to the surface the drama or the compassion to the spectator in other to appeal to their cause, but they are not giving any fantasy, any hope, any dream, any peace or any freedom to the real affected ones.

And anyways eight years later came another racist government led by a clown that we all know, so maybe the influence was there, but the real change on the American mentality it wasn’t at all.

Anyone can say their art is political and it is fine: ‘Everything is political’, the difference is which art is making a political change, and I don’t think that is something that is happening now when the biggest diffusion platforms for artists to the global public that would be the internet and specially the social media platforms like Instagram are the biggest censors: The ones who decide what you see and what you don’t depending on how do you play to their games, the ones who decide what you can post and what you can’t, what will be trend and what it won’t.

I think he’s intention is very legitimate, but I am not sure about the formalization and the real concept behind his artworks. He says a lot of things that can be interesting by themselves, but I think he deals with loads of contradictions that can affect his credibility.


Response to Jerry Saltz’s The Last Days of the Art World … and Perhaps the First Days of a New One:

‘Art will go on. That goes without saying, since art is much bigger and deeper than the business that supports it’

These days I can’t stop thinking about art as a business and art as a living. This is always stressful, because it requires to make a step with no way back and a huge investment in all the meanings possible.

+ I want to be an artist.

+ Great, now what?

That is a great conversation with myself.

When I think in the art market that I should become part of at some point, if I decide to and I have what you need to for being there, loads of contradictions invade my mind.

+ So, that means I have to study marketing?

Not feeling like marketing right now, probably I will never feel like studying marketing. It is horrible to think that all the greatest artists who achieved great income and fame with their art were all great at marketing, and the greatest artists who didn’t but they are now extremely famous it is probably because someone after them had those marketing skills.

I really don’t feel like I will ever be those kinds of artists I see in the macro galleries, and that is something important because they will be the only ones surviving this crisis. I don’t want to see my work sold in extremely surreal auctions where buying art pieces is an entertainment for millionaires, I would feel like I am the entertainment and I don’t work for them.

+ And what will you do niña?

When I think in the future of art… I see it blurry. But that is a nice thing I guess, because when you don’t have a route to follow, you have the obligation of making your own.


Mid-Term Project:

Caos, sex, texture, smell, food, pleasure, love, lust, opulence, gold, sensuality, gula, color, Caos.


Intro Unit Projects:

Guidebook project:

This project is a brief taste of what a final guidebook could look like. My intention was to make a document that could be used for those interested in the jewelry and craft world or the same artisans for having an archive of the actual offer of gold and silversmiths in the city of Siena. To make it possible I went to talk directly to these artisans. They showed me some of their most representative pieces and told me about their personal journey in this world: How they decided to start, who taught them what they know, what is their relationship with the locality of Siena… All this is then captured in these technical and artistic sheets.
The full project is made of a folder closed with a thin chain, the cover that emulates a classic byzantine reliquary from the s. XII that we can find in Santa Maria Della Scala, the map where we can find an orientated location of every jewelry location, and each individual sheet with the information and the drawings of each art craft.

‘The Blue of Distance’ of Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca starts the chapter trying to explain why the blue of the sea is only appreciable by the distance we take from it, and that if we want to possess it, is the moment we lose it. ‘The beauty of that blue can never be possessed’. When she started explaining us about how writing in her childhood helped her fix in letters her memories, I instantly thought that I had to connect these thoughts with the short-film ‘Zima Blue’.

This ten minutes animated film talks about a parallel reality that involves different worlds, where people live on planets but also out-space, and they live hundreds of years. Zima is a half-human half-robot that is over making portraits of people and decides to make bigger and bigger murals. In these huge murals of representations about the space and other natural motifs, start placing this little geometrical form painted of ‘Zima Blue’: His specific tone of blue. These geometrical forms start getting bigger and bigger with time, until they are the only thing that appears in his huge artworks of thousands of meters long. After years in an unknown location, he decides to call a journalist in order to tell his own true story.

He, as Rebecca, talks about the distance we took from our childhood when years pass and pass. His purpose with his last artwork, is returning to his beginnings. Through the blue, he explains how many years ago, a little girl made a robot for cleaning her pool. She continued improving the abilities of the robot until he could decide every time more things about how it should clean the pool, and with time, after that girl died, the next owners continued the improving. Centuries after the girl created him he was a complete independent being. Very far away from the little cleaning machine that he used to be. Nobody knew exactly how, but this little machine became Zima, and now he had to come back to his beginnings.


Step by step, he came back to the blue. The blue of the pool tiles: The first thing he recognized. His own blue of distance that in this case, was the one who would bring him back.

The conclusion I could take about Rebecca is that we have to learn how to love and appreciate this blue of distance. To appreciate melancholy, missing and loss. And also applying Zima to the equation, that sometimes we have to know how to come back to the purest form of our existence, and as Gary Paul Nabhan explains, play like his kids in the Grand Canyon: With hands and knees.

Tempo Zulu Project:


‘All flies go to the light’

Walking through the streets of Siena I noticed that in the business that had the most lights, the biggest advertisements and signs were the ones located on the main and most touristic street. Right after Piazza del Campo. The street behind this one, that wasn’t as crowded at all, some local restaurants were opened as well, but it seems like the businesses in the mail street stole all the light.
When I was in the ‘more local’ street, a Sienese man who seemed on a rush and needed help, asked me suddenly: SEI DI SIENA? and before I could answer, he answered looking at me: NO.
I couldn’t understand anything but the only problem was, that I just wasn’t in the right street.
Tana LaKale’s artwork is on display in the following sections of our Fall 2020 Show: