• Home Sweet Home

    Date posted: December 8, 2009 Author: jolanta
    My work is somewhere between that of an archeologist, a social researcher, and an artist.

    Sara Maneiro

    Sara Maneiro, Untitled from the series Souvenirs (Cartography in Process), 2005-2007. Digital prints, 70 x 50 cm each. Courtesy of the artist.

    My work is somewhere between that of an archeologist, a social researcher, and an artist. The photographs in the Souvenirs series are part of a visual notebook that accumulates images, product of my wanderings around the city. This urban archive not only deals with the relationship between people and things, but with that of the “users” and the urban and social space.

    This series is an approach to the landscape, a closer look at the objects that define the city in its chaotic dimension. I have placed special emphasis on Caracas, my hometown, a metropolis that changes continually into two dimensions: that of informality, constituted basically by the shanty towns—the most common architectural-wise living condition in the so-called developing countries—and secondly, by the areas that have been formally designed and “planned.” In general terms, urban chaos and the discourse of violence have spread all over the city, therefore changing the relationship between citizens and their surroundings.

    Overall, I deal with overproduction, disposability, center and centrality, segregation, urbanism as a failed discipline, the marking of territories, and the urban space as a place for negotiation (reterritorialization). The core of this project also deals with other qualities of the city based on the aesthetic of the street (beyond clichés), the public space as an arena for debate, and invasion as the solution for living problems.

    These diptychs, or as I prefer to call them postcards from the city, are constructed “paysages” (French for “landscapes”) of the urban; I would like to see them as merchandising tools for promoting the contemporary city, therefore their strident colors, that end up aestheticizing the ugly. I am compelled to depict monuments, urban furniture, and objects that end up being part of the layers of information that speak of the city as the scenario of social practices. On the other hand, the title of the series refers to the memories contained in these objects that keep constantly changing until they become ruins.

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