STRATAGEMS
(ORANGE COUNTY)


Stratagems considers Orange County, California’s history of landholdings, subdivisions, conservatism, and underrepresented narratives through the lens of being a multiracial Chicana and a transracial adoptee.

Situated in the double lens of otherness inherent to adoption and mixed-race experiences, Stratagems examines autobiographical and historical accounts, mapping the relationship between home, place, and belonging as a multimedia autoethnography. Drawing on regional archives, this ongoing work aims to interrogate a history of racism within OC connected to the rise of white nationalism and the religious right, libertarianism, and anti-immigration policies within Southern California.




HD video & Super 8, color, black & white, sound, 1:32 min, 2021








This is a research document, an archive, a preliminary attempt at capturing; a schematic referent washed up on the shore of drought; a love story; a homeland; a schism; a marker; a circular way home. A home that is always elusive.

It is an artifact about place and time and non-belonging. Spaces that are ill-defined and misunderstood. It is about being in-between and unsettled. For nothing quite caresses the earth like the Southern California sun that wraps itself around every aggression, every nerve struck by the discontents of what it means to live and breathe in the land when you are brown. And yet, dislocated from fully knowing your ancestors, lineage, and folklore because you are adopted. Adrift in so many unspoken unknowns.

This is an exploration of what constitutes Orange County, a place surrounded by coastal sage and shrub, neighborhoods scented by eucalyptus, cacti blossoming with tuna, citrus from a childhood home, the California pepper tree, and the one that sheds bark and has star-like leaves. A landscape of looking at the horizon from Tongva and Acjachemen territories. Home of the U-turn, the car wash, lakes made by the Anthropocene. And fires that burn perpetually.


This is an overture for what is to come:

For all its beauty and its transgressions.



Super 8, black & white, silent, 2:25 min, 2022







For all its beauty and its transgressions, 2021
Archives Reimagined,
four-person exhibition, TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image, 2021






Image Descriptions

1   Stratagems (Badlands), 3-color risograph, 11 in. x 17 in., 2021
2   Stratagems (Badlands), 2-color risograph, 11 in. x 17 in., 2021
3   Stratagems (Mission Viejo), 3-color risograph, 11 in. x 17 in., 2021
4   Stratagems (Seaview), 3-color risograph, 11 in. x 17 in., 2021
5   Stratagems (Relocations), digital images from FP-100c film, 4.25 in. x 8 in., 2021
6   Stratagems (Relocated), digital images from FP-100c film, 3.25 in. x 9 in., 2021
7   Stratagems (Tuna), digital image from FP-100c film, 3.25 in. x 4.25 in., 2021
8   Stratagems (Alta), digital image from FP-100c film, 3.25 in. x 4.25 in., 2021
9   Stratagems (Seaview II), digital image from FP-100c film, 3.25 in. x 4.25 in., 2021
10  Stratagems (Mission Viejo II), digital image from FP-100c film, 3.25 in. x 4.25 in., 2021
11   Stratagems (an overture), softcover saddle-stitch, 5-color risograph book, 10.25 in. x 7.25 in., edition 50, 2021


© 2022