Q: Tell me about “I want to Live in America”
As an artist, I work with images of immediate recognition and with moments left in my mind from being a spectator of visual media, in order to reflect upon how society molds its beliefs and ideas about itself and about different cultures. My research is directed at exploring how this phenomenon generates superficial judgments about cultures and societal typecasting.
My objective is to create pieces that reflect upon concerns about the superficiality of the visual image transmitted through the media and how the visual image affects society in the recognition of culture, as is the case in stereotyping. I employ the techniques used by the moving image to recreate pictures of current events, trying to remove part of the original message conveyed in the language of mass media and to transform each image to produce a reading that is not obvious and that is charged with characteristics that alter the initial assumption.
Like many Latin Americans, I was exposed to a lot of U.S. visual media all my life, and in away, cultures like my own have an understanding of what happens in their own culture and also of what is happening in the U.S. However, this understanding of culture is mediated by stereotyped images that are as fictitious as, for example, the image of what the U.S. media has defined as a terrorist.
I work with the language of cinema to question the assumptions by generating tension and uncertainty, reflecting ideas related to self-struggle of the characters I photograph with their own stereotypical role in society.
One of my concerns is exploring prejudice as revealed by stereotyping through the visual image. I work with the idea of stereotypes as made up of attributes on the physical surface that are easily recognized and usually oversimplified. I use visual elements to produce this kind of judgment in the viewer, and then substitute them to create confusion and make that prejudice more evident. I begin by amplifying the visual attributes and making them over the top. The image is recognized immediately, but thenthe viewer will notice inconsistencies: I swap characteristics and leave gaps to generate an ambiguous character that sometimes steps out of the initial assumption.
Q: Tell me about “Action Heroes”
As an artist, I work with familiar media images in order to reflect on how society molds beliefs and ideas about itself and different cultures. In my research I explore how this phenomenon generates superficial judgments about the “other”.
In my recent series, entitled Action Heroes, I’ve been photographing myself as heroic male characters, stereotypes that have been exploited in mass media for years. My exploration addresses issues of identity and masculinity by portraying myself in roles I would never be able to inhabit in real life because of my physical characteristics. By projecting my own image, a body type considered outside the average, I hope to question not only what is considered normal but also the prevalent visual imagery representing idealized masculine, heroic characters in fiction and daily life.