The Illustrated Chicano: Chicano Border Methodology in Practice
What is Chicano Border Methodology? In my thesis I am answering this question by showing that this is a key part of my practice, and revisiting my past work and experiences to re-construct the development of this methodology. Chicano Border Methodology is a living methodology based on lived experience that is constantly in praxis, and not just theoretical. It is rooted in a knowledge space that is specific to a locality, La Frontera/US-Mexico border. I began to assemble the methodology using epistemological pluralism as the framework and modified this framework to produce a decolonising epistemological pluralism. Using the colonial matrix of power, this position questions the assumption of epistemic privilege of western knowledge production. Using a personal narrative structure, I start the re-construction process by describing the beginnings of my decolonising process with the re-discovery of my Chicano identity. I then describe the knowledge space developed along La Frontera/US-Mexico Border and how it shows up in my art practice. Looking at the concepts of decolonisation process, practice-led research, performative research and Kaupapa Māori, I contrast and analyse the position of my Chicano Border Methodology, highlighting the differences that make my Chicano Border Methodology unique. I go on to describe and analyse how I applied this methodology to the production of The Illustrated Chicano, an art installation that looks at issues of place, home and immigration in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Illustrated Chicano, as a practical application of the Chicano Border Methodology, revealed that this methodology is robust and can be modified by Chicanos to match the specific needs of research areas, where a decolonising approach is required or beneficial to the outcome. I also explore how the community reacted to my installation built through the Chicano Border Methodology lens by documenting and analysing the community’s reaction to this work. I conclude with a discussion of the significance of local knowledge spaces, the value of different methodological models, and the flexibility of a decolonising epistemological pluralism framework, such as the Chicano Border Methodology.