Once More, With Diversity Feeling
Once More, With Diversity Feeling is a (poorly performed) ‘audition’ for a Mexican vampire in the upcoming Buffy The Vampire Slayer reboot, which was mediatised as emphasising diversity. This collection of sinister melodies vampirises the Y2K-teenage-apocalypse style of the Buffyverse to conjure post-colonial dynamics, Gothic pathos and Catholic iconography.
This work parodies the craze for ‘inclusivity’ of 2018, when every form of media became about showing people from many different places. The TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer was casting for a reboot at the time, and a big part of their marketing ploy was their commitment to hiring a diverse cast. The artist made fun of this by setting up a fake audition, sitting on a coffin, where he sang a set of (out of key) songs with weirdly political, and overtly emotional lyrics. The intention is to present an incredibly uncomfortable performance to a conscientious audience, who wants to laugh at the artist but is not sure if that’s an appropriate reaction.
Once More, With Diversity Feeling works with the concept of a ‘parafictional persona’, which entails using one’s identity to inhabit a fictional voice–unlike a persona that is distant from the self. Ramirez has previously deployed this notion with sardonic effect in his text PoC Barometer (or this is what I really think about the conversation we had at the gallery opening) (2018) , where he uses the context of the gallery opening as a perverse sociological scene. The same strategy underpins his later video work Curator Parallax (2020).