Tell us about "The Gospel of Carlos Cienfuegos."
"The Gospel of Carlos Cienfuegos" is a religious text written in Spanish by Carlos Cienfuegos and translated into (mostly) English by his son, Tomas Cienfuegos de la Paz. Director Alejandro Jodorowsky once said that he felt it is unfair that ancient literature was the only art form allowed to be religious and therefore, believed on a deeper level than other art forms; every film he makes, then, is an attempt at creating a religious experience for contemporary audiences, new canons to be accepted as a valid foundation for the human condition. This piece is in that spirit with alcohol being an access to the divine/profane; in addition, inheritance as an act of translation and whether or not you leave certain passages behind or accept them.
What informs your decision to write a piece as poetry versus prose?
My decision to write a piece as poetry versus prose versus essay versus screenplay versus comic book versus lyrics versus religious texts varies as much as choosing red wine versus beer versus gin versus tequila shots, or kissing someone on their cheek versus their lips versus their shoulder. Just whatever feels right at the time.
How do you interpret the concept of identity?
Every work of art is a work of identity because it is created by a human being that has to live by a simple rule: wherever you go, there you are. I navigate identity as the son of immigrants living in a country that routinely discards the narratives of its wanderers: youth, homeless, criminals, veterans, etc. What, then, is home? Familiar? Love? Safety? Who deserves which and who does not? Do I? Why?
Talk about your work as an educator.
As an educator, I try to be the kind that teaches: history class is an illusion, anger is a gift, and that art can save us all. You can see the results here.