Detailed Project Proposal for The Stateless Pavillion, 53th Venice Biennale.

Artist Statement

As an artist I seem to constantly be on the margins of institutional frameworks, in that liminal space between art, politics and experience. As an immigrant, I’m not exempt from the jurisdiction of Canadian law, on the contrary, I constantly have to present my work within the institutions that validate the work, and justifies it. The idea of being on the fringe of the Venice Biennale as pirates, reminds me of my constant experience as an immigrant, regularly fleeing and not-belonging-to-any-place. I constantly explore this idea of not belonging, neither in the place you were from (because time didn’t stop) , or in the place you currently inhabit (where you’ll always remain foreign and exotic). Dealing with identity, you always remain on the edge, in the boundaries of what is read in your already politicized body, your present reality and the work. My work tries to find those spaces where there is a possibility of catharsis in the viewer, and the work is not defined by my origin, but talks through its social, political and metaphorical narratives.

Project Proposal

For the camp I want to work in the idea of the pirate, as a modern migrant. The pirate as a metaphor of destruction, transformation and chaos. He represents the polarities of fear to the foreign and yet the exoticism hidden within its mythology and the negative image of the perpetrator. Xenophobia has dramatically increased in the past years in first world countries due to the current economic crisis. The illegal migrant is an easy target to be blamed and hated for, he represents both the fear of the unknown, and the scapegoat of a much more profound problem. The idea of camping is one that imitates what migrants constantly do when they first arrive to a fresh place, its immediate, fragile, vulnerable and non-permanent. Through durational performance, actions and interventions, I want to respond from my position as an immigrant with no state to represent, in an event that is defined by Nationalism and Cultural Representation. The immigrants just as the pirates, are identified as a homogenized group by the citizenry - which is a false construct. As a group the (pirate/migrant) inhabits the space in the margins of legality, jurisdiction and authority. Based on this, Im interested in collaborating with other members of the crew open to explore a variety of mediums including video, performance, photography, sculpture, installation, etc. I want to assist the dialogue and the exchange of ideas.

Two projects of my own that I want to keep working is the meta + pherain and mestizo series. The meta + pherein series depends on materials available ( wooden palettes, jigsaw, wood tools) as well as having a palette vehicle to move the sculpture around with my body inside. I was also contemplating the idea of moving it with a gondola or water vehicle and looking at ways in which goods are transported through the infrastructure of the city of Venice. The other project is the mestizo project, which is about identity, and being a mixed between European and Indigenous blood. I want to explore a variation of it, where I tan half of my body and sun block the other half, as well as dividing it in different ways, through environment architecture,and landscape. Having two visible skin colors, and also having half of my body shaved as in the first mestizo performance, to accentuate this duality. Dividing my body with the landscape. I’m also planning on burying objects that deal with the construction of identity throughout Venice, and do a treasure map inside an English-Italian dictionary, dealing with language, translation, and semiotics, and tourism.