This piece is meant to be spoken.
It was prompted by an invitation to the Ends of American Art Conference hosted by the Art History Department at Stanford University in November 2014. While senior scholars presented full-length papers, we graduate students were given the following parameters: one image, 5 minutes. The results were electric. My peers rose to the occasion with style and verve. Cheers to them and to the inventive organizers.
One senior art historian—not a conference participant—has since identified my performance as prosopopoeia. I hear him, but I disagree. Prosopopoeia names the ancient Greek concept of speaking as an object, a thing. Here, the thing is not the central action, not the locus from which the voice emanates. For communicability between materialists and art historians (all people who need and love our things), I offer the image of this plaster construction crafted in an attitude of utter devotion by a man and continuously sweated over by a family and pilgrims. But this is not the thing speaking. It is the transcribed voice of a goddess of the Americas. Not prosopopoeia, but inhabitation, presence, blessing. It is appropriate to light a candle (preferably red) before reading aloud and to blow out the candle following the last word.
Y ahorita, La Guadalupe:
Yo soy Guadalupe. I am Guadalupe.