Seeing, making, taking apart, putting back together in order to see again (volver a ver)
The resulting image is not just a visual representation but rather a visual discourse. A combination of different perspectives, different points of perception, different understandings that aim to answer all my questions. Is it possible to capture different stories? Can I contain shadows without light? How do I capture the absence of someone, something or someplace that is no longer here but lives in our memories? Where do the personal and collective memories reside when one has left everything behind?
My practice is a photo-based disruption of visual and literal languages to reclaim language from the norms. By making photographs and rubbings, by stitching, unthreading, and collaging, I am practicing new ways of seeing, creating new languages that mimic translating back and forth from English to Spanish and back again. Remembering and disrupting the way we look resists easy and immediate interpretation. To look again, to learn to look anew, to look with someone else’s eyes so as to not be complacent. To pay attention to the way we see in order to resist the cultural and political desire to label the unknown and erase our memories.
Since it is already expected of me to be different, I try to make that difference valuable. I work in a slow way, with my hands immersed in the materiality of the media I engage to build visual language. Rather than using references that have been imposed on me, I use repetition to create a self referential body of my own culture.
Deeply concerned with the way history has been written by the conquers (read white men) whose histories contain large gaps that I try to both mimic and reclaim with unthreading. What is left of these areas represents the psycho-geography that Black and Brown people know and use to guide our traditions and cultures. We feel space and place as part of the knowledge we carry from our ancestors. I call these resonances phantom memories.
I attempt to understand the structure of language, particularly its relationship to memories. I try to mimic the ways our minds preserve and contain and carry on memories so that they and our ancestors don’t get erased. I use my practice to tell these stories.
I see that the canonical knowledge is not written in our favour and it is not representative of who we are, what we know or how we live. In my own way, I am holding space for the drowned out voices. Unthreading does not create the void, it creates the portal through which our stories emerge.