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Silvia Velez

“My art starts with looking at ordinary documentary images – the front picture of any newspaper will entertain me for days. I aim to end with an art work that slows down the speed of viewing; we become conscious of looking: a visual hiccup. For the last couple of years the computer was my studio. I was mostly at home with my two young daughters. Motherhood has changed my working process, and made my art practice essential, urgent and sharp. My work is constructed in bursts – the output is usually composed of multiples, small in scale, frantic in spirit. The domestic isolation of suburban parenthood has made me even more committed to activism, to experimentation, to keeping alive my faith in radical art.

I am interested in media images and their cultural circulations. I am interested in the boundaries between personal activism and the construction of political (visual) histories. I have also been obsessed by the zoom function, that small magnifying glass on the screen, that lets you enter an unimagined world where the figurative flows into abstraction and then again to the figurative, playing with our perceptions of scale. The zooming function for me becomes a metaphor for the experience of consuming political photographs, for the process of constructing historical memory and a way to mess up our sense of understanding. I need freedom to flow between mediums and technologies – I need to combine high tech with low tech, private with global, trascendental with disposable, Colombia (where I come from) with Australia (where I am)…

…I am interested in developing new approaches to teaching visual cultures and sharpening critical skills – and my students, mostly young, have been teaching me about their culture and values. It is an exciting time to be involved with/next to photography.”

(Silvia Velez 2006)