A year of many changes and continued evolution. A summer residency at Cannonball in Miami leads to additional co-translating and co-writing, as well as new investigations into cross-language practice. Antena’s language justice at the local level in Los Angeles (where Jen lives) and in Houston (where JP lives) continues to deepen, but now through sister organizations specifically focused on that work and with local collaborators. Antena Los Ángeles continues to grow as a sister organization to Antena, and in addition JP begins to work locally as Antena Houston with a network of local interpreters for social justice. Antena attends a first ever national gathering of language justice advocates and interpreters at the Wayside Center for Popular Education in Virginia. In the fall, Antena presents the illuminated talk, Taco Two Time, at the University of Texas, El Paso; in addition, Antena does presentations and performances at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, the American Association of Literary Translators in Tucson and the University of Colorado-Boulder.
In Spring of this year, Antena is in residence at Blaffer Art Museum. Antena facilitates a number of initiatives: books for sale from small independent presses and DIY endeavors throughout the U.S. and Latin America showcasing innovative writing by women, people of color, queer communities, and others outside the normative canon; an exhibition of work combining literary and visual arts, with artists from Houston and the wider U.S. as well as Chile, Guatemala, and Mexico; a weekly class titled “In The Between: At the Intersections of Writing, Art, Politics,” open to the public and UH students enrolled for credit in the interdisciplinary art minor (IART); public workshops in writing, bookmaking, translation, and language justice; and, from February 13 – 16, an encuentro (gathering) of Antena’s participating artists, who give public readings and performances, participate in panel discussions and open conversations, and lead workshops and community interventions outside the museum.
During the installation, Jen and JP are both living in Houston. Afterwards, Jen returns to Los Angeles where she co-founds Antena Los Ángeles with Miguel Morales Cruz and Ana Paula Noguez Mercado. Jen and JP engage in various joint translation projects with Alumnos47 and others. In June, Jen and JP facilitate a writing workshop in New York City as part of the Writing on It All project. Also in June, JP presents on Antena’s work at the HEMI Encuentro in Montreal.In the fall, Antena performs a new illuminated talk, Taco Two Time, for Gulf Coast in Houston and at Cannonball in Miami.
For the first time, Jen and JP get the opportunity to work together in the same place at the same time at the Millay Colony for the Arts where we spend the month of July. There we work on deepening the thinking behind the work of Antena, specifically developing drafts of the three manifestos and two how-to guides that will be featured in our Antena @ Blaffer installation. During the rest of the year, we continue to work on various joint translation projects, including one for Alumnos47 in Mexico City. We begin to enact performative experiments, including one featured on the Floor Journal site. We present about our work at the &Now Festival in Boulder CO, as well as organizing a panel on mulitlingual writing which is simultaneously interpreted in Spanish and English. We continue to work in our local areas as we plan for a large-scale installation at the Blaffer Art Museum for Spring 2014.
With Jen living in Los Angeles and JP living in Houston, we begin conceiving of the Southwestern region of the United States and the Northern region of Mexico as a single/multiple zone of possibility for multilingual artistic and activist work; we continue thinking about and experimenting with methods of long-distance collaboration and semi-autonomous projects under the umbrella of Antena. The vision for Antena grows wider as we include our aesthetic practice within our language justice work. We make many to-do lists. From March to June, JP installs a temporary bookstore, reading room and language experimentation lab at Houston’s Project Row Houses. Jen visits Antena during its last two weeks at Project Row Houses to spend time in the Antena space, participate in the Read/Write club and other literary events, and to work together with JP to explore potential for further expansion of Antena’s projects. During the summer, Antena also helped to coordinate language justice for the Mexican Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity.
We begin serious conversations about creating a language justice collaborative and decide to purchase simultaneous interpreting equipment together to foster this work. The Babelbox enters our lives. At our first interpreting job as a team, the Critical Ethnic Studies and the Future of Genocide Conference at UC Riverside in March 2011, we agree to work together on an ongoing language justice project. We take a hike in the hills above Riverside with poet Jen Nellis and immigrant rights attorney Eunice Cho to try to come up with a name; we do not find a name. We spend months puzzling over a name that will express some of our ideas around the power of cross-cultural multilingual communication in both Spanish and English (our primary focus languages for now) and eventually land on Antena. We begin to build a website with Rob Ray and work on logo designs with Rosten Woo. We continue our work together supporting organizations seeking to build multilingual capacity, and instigating multilingual literary events. At the end of 2011, JP leaves Tijuana and moves back to his native city of Houston, Texas.
Jen and JP first meet in 2006 in Tijuana as part of the Writing Lab on the Border, a cross-border experiment in writing. This begins a friendship and occasional correspondence. In 2010, we work closely together on the Language Access Team at the US Social Forum in Detroit and start to dream of ways to extend our language justice work. In the same year, we begin spending more time together in our respective cities, Los Angeles and Tijuana.