Summer and the Collapse Architecture
My work explores the concept of the home as an Eden, a paradise, an enclosed space, a place of protection from outer space.
Etymologically the word paradise has a long history, derived from the Latin "paradisus", meaning garden paradise or privileged garden, and the Greek "pairidaeza", a circular fence applied to the royal gardens. These origins underscore the notion of paradise as a wall, a home, a place of protection from the outside, a place that separates us from danger.
Throughout Latin American history fear has been used as a control mechanism. Currently, insecurity is the space where this successful ideology of our time is specified: a need for defence against the external, playing to an obsession to be enclosed and protected. We are permanently invaded with images and information that tell us the outside is dangerous.
I started to work on this project after I moved and I almost lost all my belongings, developing an interest in the idea and concept of the house, security and insecurity, fear, closure. This notion expands to the house as a reflection of social and geographic strata, the attainment - or lack - of paradise through housing. The universal need to build a space with an identity and a place of belonging.
Summer and the Collapse Architecture is a photo installation that refers to the idea of paradise, and the instance when that paradise is broken - when the home becomes a threat, a dangerous place. I explored with different media, photography, painting and objects.
These photographs were taken at Melincue´s lagoon in the city of Santa Fe, Argentina, at a hotel that was under water for 40 years. It was built in 1920s, surrounded by hot springs, and was frequented by the Argentine upper class.
Legend says that the lagoon was cursed by wife of the tribal leader Melin, who watched him die in cold blood on its shore. In the 70s the hotel was submerged, drowned, destroyed by flooding; now, 40 years after the drought you can see the ruins of its former identity. I did a series of interviews with the people from the town: the idea was to photograph what is not seen, the ghost of the town, and the hidden stories.
This project was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Art, supporting travel around Argentina photographing ghosts of abandoned villages, to make these secret stories into images that cannot be erased.
Although Any Day
I started working on this project after getting married in New York. A feeling of detachment from the ceremony triggered the urge to photograph wedding gowns out of context, in unusual places, reflecting a disconnection between places, people, nature, and rituals.
I photographed myself, I portrayed women wearing my wedding gown, as well as women in previously worn wedding gowns. By dressing them in such a uniform, I transformed them into a white regiment; I forced them to lose their identity in a play that saw them getting married barefoot in the middle of the street, as though trapped in a game run by cruel fairies. In this way, I built my own ritual.
For me, photography is a stage, and its color leads us immediately to associate it with a feeling. I tell my story, and those of others, as an intimate diary. Fictitious in the white, diaphanous shape of dreams, yet with eyes wide open so that the reflection from the little lamps of vanity cannot blind me.
Mythology emerged as a way to explain natural phenomena, among other things. In the past there was no scientific evidence to explain and understand occurrences such as the passage of day into night, climate change, storms, tsunamis, tornados, etc. Mythology fulfilled our human need to understand and organize one's life.
Many of my photographs are based on FairyTales. I turned them into my own mythology to understand life, dreams, death, human relationships, and nature.
I transformed the memory of those stories into my own stories; I turned to these classic characters as modeled through my friends to recreate those familiar images from another perspective. The characters are trapped in complex situations, immersed in labyrinths of disgruntled thoughts. Reality and fantasy mix in a visual narrative.
I started this project when I worked as a photography teacher at AHRC, a New York-based organization committed to finding ways for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to build full lives.
It was like in a movie when one finds a secret door behind a bookcase: I entered another dimension, where reality and fantasy mixed. I found their connection between nature, life and instincts; and I realized how far we are from our own.
I was interested to do a photo essay about beauty, about the body and the physical features. The idea of monsters imposed by the classic tales, mythology and horror movies. I used them as mirrors of something that socially we try to hide. I wanted to portray their dignity and nobility. They became the main characters, heroic and magnificent in my journey through the Secret Passage.