The Many Faces of Jes√∫s Aguilar at Space 47, by Julia Bradshaw

The artist Jes√∫s Aguilar googled his name in a variety of search engines, curious about the lives of those that shared his name. But instead of romanticizing the lives he found, he collated the information in a very analytical manner.

Visitors to Space 47 discover documentation of the lives of many individuals named Jes√∫s Aguilar

Jes√∫s Aguilar uses the internet cull information that translates into tracks and maps and artifacts.

He knows where each Jesús Aguilar lives, which celebrations they marked, what crimes they committed, and which state exams they passed. He collected ephemera in the form of pictures and copies of documents. This data he represented onto a timeline, integrating his own life into the lives of others from 1974 Р2008. Along the way, he found that a Jesús Aguilar was executed for murder in Texas and that a Floridian Jesús Aguilar passed a language proficiency test for The Office of State Courts. He found photographs tagged with the name Jesús Aguilar including an image of an amplifier, a gun, a World War II veteran’s grave and a photograph of an art exhibit.

So where is Jesús Aguilar? Not in Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska or North and South Dakota among other mid-western states. Jesús Aguilar’s chart of search-hits matches the approximate geographic migratory patterns of many Mexican-Americans. And that is what is fascinating about this project. A relatively common name has created a facts-based portrait of the many different paths a life can lead.
This analytical approach to self-googling is collated in an engaging exhibit at Space 47 in San Jose in conjunction with the ZERO1 festival. Representations of data culled from the Internet create a multi-faceted picture of Jesús Aguilar – one who could not possibly have lived so many lives. Picture and document artifacts are placed in display cases like precious artifacts. A poster “Floating Chronologies; Time, Map, Space 1974 – 2008” is stacked as a give-a-way and a TV screen shows three stories of the lives of Jesús Aguilar. The artist Jesús Aguilar created these stories by mixing fact and fiction in a video essay of three lives: one life that ends in execution and another life that includes political success. The creation of these stories suggests the possibility of living many lives simultaneously and is for Aguilar a pictorial representation of the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics.

Aguilar, left, with Binh Danh

The artist Jes√∫s Aguilar, who created this exhibition, is a graduate from the photography department of San Jose State University and received his MFA from Mills College in 2006.

Open just under a year, Space 47 is the curatorial endeavor of Binh Danh and Angelica Muro and increasingly an asset to the South First Street Art Walk area. It is an independent project space that aims to foster new ideas and experiences. Danh and Muro are artists committed to supporting artistic exchanges and development and, to this end, they have assembled an additional group of six artists to join the SubZero festivities for ZERO1.

The gallery is open from Wednesday through Friday from noon – 4pm and by appointment. The exhibition continues until July 11th. Email for more information or to make an appointment.

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