Artist Statement My experience as a queer Colombian-American has led me to question how our intimate affiliations to nationality, gender, and other identity markers are mediated and narrated by external forces. Working between the modes of what artist Tania Bruguera calls “representing what is political and acting politically," my practice examines the reproduction of power and identity through dominant cultural forms such as the news, film, music, and architecture. Via methods of sourcing and reframing, I explore how widely distributed symbols speak beyond their intended meanings to reveal specters of exclusion, violence, and historical forgetting. My approach is interdisciplinary because I’m interested in the intertextual readings that result when mediums encounter one another. This tendency is clearest in my recent performances, which stage confrontations between my body and the layered media works I create through video. Placing my musical compositions in this framework heightens the associative tensions between the collaged imagery I borrow from mass media. In the traditional sense of a score, my music folds emotion into actions on-screen; on the other hand, it often functions as a contradictory understanding of those actions. These strategies coalesce in “A Compelling Performance” and “Intake”, which engage the body to signal vulnerability against the violence of political structures. This is a theme I’d like to develop further, departing from the work of artists such as Mona Hatoum, Sondra Perry, Latoya Ruby Frazier, Cassils, and Adrian Piper. Building on their investigations of the body as a site of conflict, I use the voice, a material link connecting self and other, to probe its relationship to affect, gesture, and the performance of identity. Outside of performance, my sculptures, paintings, and videos articulate scenes that place the symbols I identify within an imagined construction of space. At times these scenes are static, as in "Trace”, “Palace Intrigue”, and “Perimeter”, which explore sites of cultural power such as the home, the White House, and the speculative space of the border. Most recently, I’ve used video to develop these scenes through temporality, with "White Flag Project" and "Heartland" being examples of this new strategy. My socially-engaged practice connects Houston’s tradition of creative placemaking with DIY tactics of queer organizing. My studio is based at Project Row Houses, a cultural center which fulfills the avant-garde directive to “integrate the arts with life” by working through and against bureaucracy. Inspired by this mission, I co-founded the collective DAMN GXRL, which formed as our arts landscape was rocked by the rise of #MeToo. DAMN GXRL views art as a vehicle for changing relations among people, producing workshops, zines, and other collective actions that cultivate community and exposure for emergent women and queer artists.
4434 Clay St., Apt. 2
Houston, Texas 77023