What is more important? the technological device, the person or the selfie? This work raises the question when facing the audience to take a selfie as part of an artistic installation, -it is not just any digital self-portrait-, it is the creation of a new visual context – born from the research archives of the different departments of the EPN (Escuela Politécnica Nacional del Ecuador) – in an analog-digital-interactive piece. Through the use of a deep convitational network and the training of the algorithm with photographs of thousands of people, the program will recognize the person and isolate them from its background; creating a new photograph, a real-time technological collage with the ability to be shared instantly through Instagram @epnselfie This idea stems from my approach to the selfie as an object of self-significance that goes beyond interactivity with the human being or what he/she can do or understand about it.
Technical description: The technical challenge of this project was to identify and classify an image in real time (semantic segmentation). The model used is based on the methodology of L. Chen, G Papandreou (2016). This model builds a maximum-hope (EM) estimator from a semi-supervised learning process. It makes use of a deep convolutional network and a set of training data with hand-labeled images.
*This art piece was commissioned for the “Reprogramar la(s) Materia(s), an Art Show part of the celebrations for the 150 years of creation of the EPN, October, 2019. “Object-selfie-machine” would not have been possible without the support, collaboration and hard work of the following people:
Work team: Scientific advisor David Villacis, Doctoral Student in Applied Mathematics
Laboratories that provided the images: CIERHI Acoustics Laboratory – Pamela Rivera Meb Demex – Alicia del Carmen Guevara Paleontology – José Luis Román
With special thanks to: Ana María Garzón Mantilla – Curator Juan Carlos de los Reyes David Villacis Carla Manciati María Fernanda Orquera Allyson Villamar Sergio Sarango
Getting involved with something as intimate as an archive of memories has been a time of crisis in my current production; but also an open window to continue with my ongoing research about the object-oriented ontology, which deals with the irreducibility of objects to their relationships; my object being the photographic one. I decided to question my role as a woman, answer certain questions that society has asked me and give an answer without hesitation, which is coded and decoded with each photographic piece proposed. For this reason, the work stays in a fictional space that oscillates between possible narratives and pure abstraction in Chemigrams and Lumen prints. The transforming act of being subject to become an object when being photographed, gives way to my explorations, looking for abandoned images and linking them between questions and choices that began before my existence. **This duo show was presented along with Clio Bravo´s show ” Saudade” in Más Arte Gallery. Quito-Ecuador in February 2019.
I decided to cross-examine my role as a woman and answer certain questions that society has asked me. Therefore, I give an answer that is encoded and decoded with each proposed photographic piece.
The series consists of lumen prints and their digital alterations after being scanned. The lumen version has not been fixed and this allows the effect of the light to disappear the image; “This can change” refers to my drive as a woman and the life I give to each plant; in any case, I have modified the colours of the digital version, (which will be permanent). I explore a fictional space that oscillates between possible narrations and pure contemplation.
I have used some plants that are known for their harmful and beneficial effects for pregnancy, such as sage and rue are abortive plants and chamomile and mint are pregnancy relievers. I have investigated its effects from various sources, such as oral transmission from mothers to daughters and among local markets and friends.
I constantly play with the meanings and signifiers that the photographic object can infer in those who observe it. This series also deepens into my constant investigation of the object-oriented ontology, which deals with the irreducibility of objects in their relationships; this being the photographic objects such as the flowers that are directly fixated onto the photo paper.
This series is about my constant fear of being represented, no matter if this representation is by myself or by others. Is there only me who’s afraid of the click of any camera and the after image that it produces? My work is about the endless representation of the self that digital media has enabled in the last few years and how this digital self has life on its own and it’s part of a new era where digital and human are becoming one, or simply the digital has its own reign, where the individual wants to be part. I am in search of my own identity with the help of software manipulation and alternative photographic methods, although I believe this search is only causing a deeper sense of anxiety where I won´t clearly appear. I experiment with my own archetypes yearning for the feminine that fits in any space of representation or an artificial object that resembles this type of exploration. I have become an object waiting to be desired by others and by myself.
Final show, Lumen Residency, Atina-Italy, Aug. 2018
During the time of the residency, we wanted to reflect how the landscape transforms and is in constant change and how it lets the invisible for the naked eye be recorded with the photographic camera. We claim that time is a speculation and a social construct that let our eyes be deceived in order to create meaning.
Supported by technological tools such as astronomical apps and the analog camera, we searched for the right spots to see and capture the milky way, star trails and the Polaris star in the Atina sky. We are interested to see how the different time exposures in the camera vary and affect the images, how the same frame changes over time and gives a different meaning to what we see: a new ontological experience with each photograph.
We wanted to create a conversation between the analog and the digital that blend each other in this complicated time where the boundaries of the existence of being are oscillating between those two: the material and the digital world. We use the analog to make an image more permanent, and the digital to use its data and manipulate it.
The final photo for the exhibition in Atina was a composite of 447 shots of 14 seconds each of the Polaris star. We edited the photo and transformed the negatives into 12 Cyanotypes and created a unique frame. These photos were the result of a Fibonacci formula applied for a single day.
*We applied for this artist residency as a duo with Sergio, we are called “Bright, Dark Matter”, for more information: http://facebook.com/brightdarkmatter
“Orientation to the object” is a body of photographic work, which investigates the relationship between the object and the machine by analogue-digital collapse, leaving aside the human being. The quest for the object-oriented ontology inspired by Heidegger and coined by Harman radicalizes the work that is involved in an unreal context.
With the use of a photographic scanner to intentionally manipulate the analogue negative, I have found ranges of colours that interrupt the image with objects that are allowed to capture and achieve a reality beyond the anthropocentric understanding, this new meaning does not include a proposal but an upcoming reality.
Media: Digital photography with manual interventions, hologram on device. Dimensions: photographs: 47 x 30 cm, 59 x 42 cm, 57 x 42 cm, 50 x 50 cm,
hologram: 12 x 10 cm. Year: 2017
I have investigated the different characteristics of the human being when is online as well as the contemporary condition of the digital narcissus through the creation of a manifesto called “The digital self” as a starting point. Through several experiments over 10 months, I have examined the meanings of each point in the manifesto. This written statement was explored throughout video performances, WhatsApp conversations, a hologram and finally photographic self-portraits.
For the final exhibition, this body of work displays four portraits and a hologram which are a fragmentation of my connected self, just as they represent the universality of the “Post Internet”, tension. The artworks are manually intervened and this is because they are coming into the analogue sphere to inhabit a space beyond the digital.
“Almas de Montaña” translated in English “souls of the mountain” is a photographic body of work produced by me and Sergio Sarango, my partner and a landscape photographer based in Ecuador. We have been working together for the past three years and joined our separate practices in order to give a narrative to a concern as both artists and people: To confront a disconnection with the natural and the impossibility to reach nature without technological mediation.
“Almas de montaña” portrays the Ecuador of today, the one that has unalterable mountainous landscapes, with people who converse with their gaze, their passage through the world. An Ecuador of beliefs and syncretism, which, in the midst of popular festivals, and normal days, does not allow time to play against it.
This photographic show was exhibited at the Art Gallery of UNAM Chicago. from 1-7 November 2017. 350 W Erie St. Chicago, Il.
#Ideclare is a unilateral conversation that gives life to a Manifesto of the digital age. Accompanied by a series of images that narrate the book into three chapters:
#Ideclare, #IFightAgainst and #IHaveAVision (with an addendum at the end).
The book is a statement of antagonistic feelings that discover an internal and external struggle. There are situations created by technological mediation, such as the compulsive need to show oneself to others and a narcissistic feeling that involves constant interaction with social networks. In addition, the book depicts the need of the human being to reconnect with nature and the impossibility of achieving it.
The book was exhibited at CAC Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Quito, from July to October 2017, was part of a group show called “Absorber la Ficción”.
Hard cover, sew binding.
20.7 cm /15.2 cm/ 1.3 cm
*The book does not have a publisher. I have a very limited amount of copies that I self-printed before I exhibited the book. It is available for sale, please enquire at my email address firstname.lastname@example.org or this form if you want a copy of the book.
The aim is to create a series of photographic and written sculptures (using text as a link between the material and digital realm), that will be part of a photographic installation that presents the characteristics of the “digital self” based on its Manifesto.
I will use “form” as a metaphor of the contemporary condition of the digital narcissus, that lives in its own world. I will create a portrait each month of the residency.
I want to reinterpret the post-digital notion with elements coming from a screen, or from an analogue machine, and also from a sculpture and make them coexist together, using this tension to create coherencies and incoherencies typical from the Post-Internet idea.
The digital self. A Manifesto
The digital self is defined through interaction and without it, no longer exists.
The digital self oscillates with its constant online performance, it does not have a single shape.
The digital self seeks stardom through a potential increasing audience.
The digital self needs affirmation, attention, something real.
Ignorance is a condition of the digital self.
The digital self, it is a slave of social media, an app bitch.
The digital self believes in its repetitive single condition.
The digital self does not have control on its own information, once it is out there, it is out there and then, who knows?
The digital self comes off to defend or offend what it believes.
If you want to check more regular updates of my project please go to this link: (bear in mind the text is in Spanish at the moment, as I am doing the residency in Ecuador).