The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

UCIRA Artist Emily V. Bovino presents “On Apoplexy and Circulation Failure, or the Failure of Blood Vessels to the Heart: What Happens When A Bacon Falls and Who Hears It?”

Originally posted by SOMA
September 12, 2012

On Apoplexy and Circulation Failure, or the Failure of Blood Vessels to the Heart: What Happens When A Bacon Falls and Who Hears It?

What Happened Between 1919 and 1920? And Why Should It Matter To Us?

The online collection of parodic episodes entitled On Apoplexy and Circulation Failure, or the Failure of Blood Vessels to the Heart: What Happens When A Bacon Falls and Who Hears It? is a serio-comic thought experiment. It is a monodrama by E.V. Bovino written through readings of the Investigation of Mexican Affairs hearings. On Apoplexy and Circulation Failure will be updated periodically with new episodes for the following three weeks and is the beginning of an ongoing project. By suggesting narrative tangent lines shared by the curve of then and the curve of now, it asks the reader to consider what happened between 1919 and 1920 in relation to what might happen between 2019 and 2020. A neurofrenetic narrative inspired by the conditions of exile, it is designed to stimulate new synaptic connections.

The last son of the late Apache Chiricahua chief Geronimo tells the newspapers in the States United that he has had enough of Washington. In fact, he departs the same afternoon as the conviction is rendered and returns to the Mescalero reservation where he lives. Robert, as his mother Cross-Eyes had named him, is a familiar figure to tourists who visit Mescalero. It is unclear why Robert is willing to testify in Washington on behalf of the American politician, A. Bacon Fall. A. Bacon Fall sponsored a bill that destroyed land titles called Indian by legislating the fairness of encroachment called White.

That year, the same American politician and businessman, A. Bacon Fall becomes the first cabinet member in the history of the States United to be convicted of a felony. The former Republican Senator of New Mexico is named Minister of the Interior by President Warren Harding in 1921, but after only a few years, resigns to devote more time to what he calls affairs of business. The felony with which A. Bacon Fall is charged involves accepting money from petroleum magnates H. F. Sinclair and E. L. Doheny for the drilling of Naval Oil Reserves in California and Wyoming. It is the twenty-ninth year of the twentieth century and the newspapers refer to the affair as the Teapot Dome Scandal.

Before his imprisonment, A. Bacon Fall presides over a series of hearings regarding what he refers to as the matter of outrages on the States United in Mexico. Petroleum magnate E. L. Doheny testifies at the hearings and is questioned amicably by chairman, Senator A. Bacon Fall. A. Bacon Fall does not challenge those with whom he is ideologically aligned. A. Bacon Fall only badgers witnesses like Leander J. Be Dekker or Arthur Thomson, people who take a strong line against imperial aspirations for the States United.

A. Bacon Fall favors intervention in Mexico to prevent expropriation of oil and mineral resources he claims are legally owned by Americans. The concern of A. Bacon Fall is to protect the legacy of prospector culture and the legitimacy of private property. Meanwhile, few observers at the hearings presided over by A. Bacon Fall are aware of the fact that the Mexican Government is compiling its own list of outrages in official proceedings. Most of the observers are not interested in the parallel story being told on the other side.

The stories told at the hearings of the Investigation of Mexican Affairs prepare the way for increased militarization of the border between the States United and Mexico in 1924. And yet, this historical triangulation of, 1) the A. Bacon Fall hearings, 2) the militarized border and 3) the Teapot Dome Corruption, is never recounted. Indeed, the figure of the bandit is replaced by the figure of the trafficker, and the Espionage Act of 1917 is renewed as the Economic Espionage Act of 1996. But the narrative trope of the border in the twenty-first century retains many of the characteristics first introduced by chairman A. Bacon Fall one hundred years earlier.

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