Tuesday, April 25, 2017

BRUJOS Artist Statement

This is from the BRUJOS Artist Statement (posted online):

BRUJOS addresses the current the landscape of television: Gay men and people of color are more apparent than ever in mainstream television. Sitcoms like “Blackish” and “Fresh Off The Boat” depict families of color attaining the American dream. Programs such as “Looking” and “Modern Family” feature middle and upper class white gay men searching for love or functioning as an all-American family. While these shows are representational achievements, they are not revolutionary ones.

In these cases, ethnic, racial and sexual minorities are portrayed in ways that support dominant culture, narratives, values and relationality. Commercial television studios and networks preoccupied with “scale” and “big data” seldom produce aesthetically or politically challenging work to secure mass viewership. This only further marginalizes non-normative people who’s lives, realities, and stories do not fit within their depictions and who devise new ways of being under the pressures of inequality that are never affirmed.

For the creators of Brujos, there is not much to be gained by larger strives in mainstream representation (I personally would not wholesale dismiss such endeavors for mainstream representation). They articulate a strong link between neoliberal incorporation of “diversity” for profit and the solidification of the same norms—just dressing up dominant culture in new clothes. Do we think that commercial television will always "seldom product aesthetically or politically challenging work?" Will this type of cultural work mostly be found in peripheral formats (increasingly more common in the post-TV world).

Side note: as a PhD student interested in cultural/queer/performance studies, I will now be binging this show through finals!


  1. Juan thank you for posting the Brujos' artist statement. What intrigues me about this statement is their distinction between representational achievements and revolutionary ones, if only because it seems to me that Brujos' programs indeed revolve around representation, which suggests that revolutionary achievements in television can be made through representation. Going back to your question, I do tend to agree with Bruges' take on the limitations inherent to commercial television as it has been created thus far, but I do see some hope in commercial television's move to online networks / platforms.

  2. This is great! It makes me happy that they know that Modern Family and Blackish aren't by any means the spire to which we all (non-heteronormative/non-white) artists should aspire. It's like my one friend told me, which I found both interesting and true "Black-ish is made to help white people understand black struggle more and to feel comfortable with black bodies on their screens"