Amanda Gutierrez: Topography of Time
Time, migration and industrialization have transformed our world’s landscapes for generations. What was once a flourishing space one decade, could very well become a no man’s land in another and vice versa. But what can these changed sceneries tell us about the history of a country, the trek of immigrants that traversed them, and the connections the land has to our own lives?
In her recent project, Topography of Time, Chicago-based, Mexico City-born artist Amanda Gutierrez attempts to unravel the mysteries of these landscapes through the interpretation of three individual immigrant stories.
“Landscapes are a very interesting way to show sociology,” said Gutierrez. “They really show how individuals live, and also I think it shows how they construct and how they decide to build these artificial environments over landscapes.”
Gutierrez explained her project during the monthly Proyecto Latina series, which partnered with the Latino Electronic Music Festival (FMEL) this month to feature Gutierrez and her work at the Co-Prosperity Sphere on Monday Aug. 20.
Using voiceovers and images of their respective landscapes, Gutierrez recreates the experiences of three Mexican natives, who in three distinct decades migrate away from the place they call home.
A bracero that emigrated from Mexico City to Chicago in the 1930s, is showcased through images of an industrial space on Damen and Ashland Avenues. An uncle who migrated from Oaxaca to Mexico City is portrayed by the images of the home he left behind. And, a man whom migrated to Chicago but returned, is emulated through scenic pictures of Mexico City.
“I like working with landscapes and understanding how landscapes can work as an interpretation of the subject, in this case of the individual,” said Gutierrez during her lecture.
The three stories are intertwined into a video triptych—three synched videos meant to be seen side by side. The result is a parallel storyline that renders the concepts of culture, adaptation and change into non-traditional documentary form.
The video installation shown on Monday, is one of three Gutierrez plans to create. Using the same concept, she will create a triptych from the storylines and memories of various individuals in Liverpool and Quebec.
“I want to wrap this project by showing these [triptychs] together and having this kind of reflection of how the narrative history of these communities can be related through landscapes,” said Gutierrez.
While Monday’s display did not offer the three-wall space that Gutierrez needed to showcase all three videos at the same time, Topography of Time uncovered the memories behind these landscapes and the history of the spaces that often tell us plenty about ourselves.
FMEL will continue throughout the week and will include an experimental session at First Trinity Church, a lecture and concert at Instituto Cervantes, and a showcase at Beauty Bar. For more information about activities and times visit fmelchicago.com