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This web site presents
the work of Esther Parada
accompanied by texts taken
from her writings.

The Monroe Doctrine
Define/Defy the Frame

Left flap: Lt. Oliver North. Click image for larger view.

Right flap: Doña Maria Medina Pavon. Click image for larger view.

The enclosed poster. Click image for detail.

pdf of layered text on interior of the folder.

Define/Defy the Frame:
an unfolding exhibition,

Define/Defy the Frame, a 1989 offset lithography book (taking the form of an accordion-fold poster inside a printed folder) contrasts the perspectives of U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and a Nicaraguan working class woman, Doña Maria Medina Pavon, regarding the Nicaraguan revolution. Through a layout that gives equal space (both pictorial and textual) to both perspectives, I impose a kind of symmetry on the massively imbalanced structure of media attention. Colonel North's bid to show his slides during the Iran-Contra hearings was made in the full glare of media coverage; my portrait of him was based on a New York Times photograph.

In contrast, I gained the privilege of sharing and recording Doña Maria's words and images through a visit to her home in Managua. As a working class woman of color from a Third World country whose government is at odds with U.S. foreign policy objectives, Pavon has at least five strikes against her. Her perspective rarely if ever finds its way into the U.S. mainstream media, although her life is deeply affected by U.S. government decisions. As the title of this book suggests, I am moving her (and her framing of images and events) into the frame. My use of the computer was important here not only in generating images but also in creating a layered essay on the inside of the folder. This essay presents a historical framework for the piece, analyzed the above-mentioned media imbalance, and glosses the main body of text with suggestions for expanding the media/narrative/historical/spiritual aspects of the frame.

—Excerpt from Parada's essay, "Taking Liberties: Digital Revision as Cultural Dialogue," Leonardo, Vol. 26, No. 5, pp. 445-450, 1993

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