TERRA FIRMA: A Night of Screenings @ The Loisaida Center

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TERRA FIRMA: A Night of Screenings

LAZO @ The Loisaida Center | 710 E9th St | NYC 10009

March 23rd, 2019 | 6-9pm

Curated by LAZO + Óscar Moisés Díaz


Participating artists:

Constanza Alarcon Tennen / Melvin Audaz / Cristobal Cea / Mauricio Esquivel / Joiri Minaya / Eduardo Restrepo / Rodrigo Valenzuela / Ana Vaz / Flavia Visconte  


- Distinct from the sea or air, land is generally understood as a solid substance. The term Terra Firma implies with conviction that there is a ground which we stand on—a ground which we build on—yet it contains the paradox that land is never quite firm but matter constantly in flux. Terra Firma: A Night of Screenings is a grouping of videos focusing on various ways in which the natural and man-made coexist and how this overlap is experienced and filtered through technologies and media. Here, land is seen both as matter and grounding that gets shifted and defined by those who occupy it. Depictions of landscapes in art have never been neutral; we can observe this in American painters like John Gast who promoted the settler expansion westward with bibles and trains, or in the artists of empire who travelled back to Europe from Latin America with prints and drawings containing fictitious representations of people they encountered to justify colonial domination. Terra Firma brings together nine artists working in the medium of video who excavate this theme from various perspectives. Esquivel’s rolling ball of meat accumulates the residues of border crossings, leaving us to imagine how large a snowball can become through this passage. Minaya and Restrepo respond to how landscapes have been woven with patriarchal narratives imposed on brown and female bodies; their videos imagine new possibilities of inserting oneself into nature. Valenzuela’s piece reminds us how technology never develops in an apolitical fashion either, and Alcarón Tennen shows us that the body can perhaps keep score when the camera flash has blurred away faces or has wiped memory clean. Vaz’s film of how capitalist acceleration is traced through objects is in dialogue with Audaz’s documentary, where we see how a local community grapples during this epoch of the anthropocene to transform discarded materials into art. Visconte’s video insists that we look at our hands once more, and in them find signs and language that persist into the future, while Cea uses 3D animation to remix what is captured in news footage, forcing us to re-read it and push ourselves past desensitization.  -


This screening was organized in collaboration Óscar Moisés Díaz, a Salvadorian New York-based visual artist and independent curator, and is part of a series of events organized by LAZO at The Loisaida Center in NYC. LAZO is an online and itinerant exhibition platform founded by Claudia Cortínez and Alva Mooses ­that brings together contemporary arts practitioners of Latin American & Caribbean descent to generate opportunities for collaboration, visibility, and discourse.



Melvin Audaz

Garbagia, 2019 | HD video, 00:09:40

Documentary short by Melvin Audaz about Loisaida Center's Garbagia Projects, a local gleaners collective incubated at the community center and directly inspired by local artist and activist, Rolando Politi, whose iconic repurposed and recycled sculptures pepper community gardens throughout Loisaida, the program uses place-based pedagogy and recycled materials to equip youth and residents in using creative strategies to address the city's urgent issues.


Constanza Alarcon Tennen

Premature thoughts about your/mine horizontality, 2017 | HD Video, 00:05:41

Premature thoughts about your/mine horizontality is a video centered on the affective relation between the way a house is inhabited and the memory of it. 
The script, a central component of the piece, is a narration developed from questions about the past and death. Where and when a person ends, and if we carry the weight of our ancestors with us, are also a part of that reflection. 
It is a question about the place where the people who have disappeared exist, and if the experience of a domestic familiar space is informed and altered by the way others before us inhabited a home.


Mauricio Esquivel:

Meat ball, 2016 | HD Video, 00:00:37

This project is a reflection of experiences whilst living in México City and refers to a text written by Gabriel Trujillo about the history of the Baja California "La otra historia de la Baja California.” It is said that in the deep of the Mar de Cortez and its sands are the bones of the first people that came to the Baja. At the same time I take this ball as a reference to the cartoons where a snowball tumbles down, taking everything on its path. -Mauricio Esquivel


Cristobal Cea

Glorias, 2017 | 1080p Video and Animation, 00:06:00

Glorias is a video centered on the events that surrounded the 21st of May in Chile: Assembled from news clips found on News and Social Networks over the past years, the piece uses 3d animation methods to develop an enquiry on the symbolic significance of this particular event: a date where -almost ritually every year until 2016-, the monsters of order, republicanism, protest, violence and repression emerge in the city of Valparaiso.


Eduardo Restrepo

Regresa, 2011 | HD Video

Regresa imagines a perpetual drowning of the mind in water, an evolutionary retreat as a celebration of the fluid mother. A video-performance project started in 2011, in which the artist dips his head in geographically distant waters.

To prevent her loss of self she had to reassure herself continually of her existence by looking in that natural mirror -the source of her being, as it were, the water from which, like Venus, she had come and to which, like Ophelia, she was destined to return." -Bram Dijkstra, Idols of Perversity


Joiri Minaya

Metonimia, 2013 | HD Video, Sound, 00:01:54

Metonimia is a two-channel video showing sand coming out of female breasts through a funnel next to a looping video showing waves crashing on the shore of a beach. As proposed by the title (a metonymy is a figure of speech that consists of the substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant), the video attempts to establish a relation between the two images, making interchangeable their characters and actions. Metonimia is informed by the archetypical relation between the woman and the sea, being both bodies subject to cycles, to speak about fertility. However, being sand (an infertile element) what comes out of the female breast, Metonimia also presents an alternative, sabotage or objection to the archetype of fertility as an ultimate fulfillment of female existence.


Favia Visconte

Signos, 2017 | Single channel video, color, 00:07:30

Signos is a project that began within the framework of an artist residency in El Chaltén, province of Santa Cruz, Argentina. The project focus was to spread the importance of rock art as one of the essential vestiges of archaeology and that provides us with critical information about the material and spiritual past of humankind, as well as helping us to understand and speculate on the future of language.


Rodrigo Valenzuela

Tertiary, 2018 | HD digital video, 00:02:29

The video work Tertiary is a meditation on the presence of minorities in cinema. It discusses both the sociological impact of the lack of representation of minorities in cinema as well as revealing the failings of camera technology in relation to the skin tones of these groups. The failings of the camera are revealed through its inability to recognize faces, to not focus correctly. This creation of autonomy in the camera acts as a metaphor by privileging those of lighter skin whilst all discuss ideas of power, agency and privilege.


Ana Vaz

Occidente, 2014 | 16mm/ HD Video, 00:15:00

A film-poem of an ecology of signs that speaks of colonial history repeating itself. Subalterns become masters, antiques become reproducible dinner sets, exotic birds become luxury currency, exploration becomes extreme-sport-tourism, monuments become geodata. A spherical voyage eastwards and westwards marking cycles of expansion in a struggle to find one’s place, one’s sitting around a table.


Alva Mooses