With a self described interchangeable aesthetic, digital installation artist Maria Albornoz says it’s the content that drives what she does. Being Venezuelanxt born however, her works often investigate Latin American politics, a contextual interest for her still, despite now residing in Minneapolis. “My work is heavily influenced by latin american politics, history, pre-established structures form and movement. And I think the most common themes throughout my work are Venezuelan politics, abstract form and linear time,” she says.
These themes may seem unrelated especially considering politics is such a ‘real world’ content and the decontextualisation of form is far more abstract. Albornoz however explains the two indeed interrelate.
“I think as someone that grew up in such a complicated almost hostile environment, my work serves as an answer to so many questions I didn't know I had until I was out of such an environment. By using form, taking it out of context, and putting it somewhere else l investigate the idea of immigration and what that process of physical and emotional transition means to me. Form then becomes the language for such conversations because it can be deconstructed to its core, exposing what happens between point A and point B, and helping me really grasp the political reality I am emotionally part of.”
Albornoz finds her chosen mediums; installation and graphic design, extremely conducive for creating her works and they have become her chosen platforms to represent her themes and show your works because she see’s both as a different language for communicating her ideas and opinions. “I think graphic design is everything! It’s visual communication. Where as installation, is a platform for dynamic input, which in part is essential to create the interaction that generates the certain flux I am interested in setting as well as taking part of,” she explains.
Although Albornoz’s work seems rooted in a historical context related to past, she adds significant contemporary relevance to her works through Internet symbols and cyber text. Explaining the cyber aesthetics that filter through her works is extremely relevant.
“I am in love with early 2000 Microsoft. I think the cyber aesthetic comes in and out of the picture for me because the internet was the only outlet of information outside of the reality I had growing up, and it references time. As someone who is gay, an atheist and an artist, being raised in such an opposite belief system, the internet was really a gift to escape, learn and interact with. The symbolism that early 2000 media has in my work is political, I have been obsessed with Internet Explorer for years now, and I treat it as a political candidate almost.
A lot of the work I have made using this element mimics visuals of political propaganda in the urban landscape in South America. If you happen to walk around the city you will immediately see walls full of wheat pasted political posters that never get taken down, almost creating an archive of forgotten politicians. I mimic this using Internet Explorer because it essentially creates the same sort of archive, even though the browser is 'obsolete' it is still there, it is still strong, and it still trying to make it.”
This concept also interplays with her fascination of dead media, in some way her works could be seen as an attempt to try archive or reinterpret these perhaps outdated application appearances and interfaces. A notion Albornoz is infact aware of. “I am conscious of my failed efforts to 'bring it back' and that infinite loop is what fascinates me, because it gives context to so many other realities I live through daily.”
Similarly colour, like all of Albornoz’s artistic choices, has a genuine and intended purpose in her work, with pastel shades often a strong feature. “I think I am 100% or nothing when it comes to a lot of things and one of those is contrast. In a lot of my work you can see 100% blue or pastel baby blue. There is no in-between.”
Thus this 100% or nothing approach is a commonality in both Albornoz’s work and her approach to her themes and content, and it definitely shines through, causing the viewer to firmly grasp the realities her works discuss, but also to question and interact with the similarities between the work and themselves.
How many of us have used the internet to understand or escape our situations?
Words / Jamie-Maree Shipton