I create contemporary work that has a challenging aesthetic and addresses current social and political issues. My formative years in Chile under the brutal Military regime and being a bicultural, international artist living in Los Angeles provides me with a unique perspective from which my artistic expression is cultivated.
My fascination with our media-driven society inspired my series, Branding America, in which I branded symbols of our society’s core values onto wood surfaces. That project began my exploration of barcodes and the hidden information they contain about our lives. The final works pose the question of the true cost of “American” privileges such as liberty, freedom, and justice. Although barcodes are found on items such as drugstore purchases, they are also used to encode sensitive information on passports and other documents. It is easy to overlook their function of gathering data and building databases with the information that constitutes our lives.
My current project, Encoded Textiles, looks at the latest generation of information-dense barcodes, which share remarkable similarities to the textiles of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and have a distinct Latin American character. The PDF417, used to tag airport luggage, bears a striking resemblance to Mapuche textiles from southern Chile. From this observation my multilayered collaborative project was created.
For Encoded Textiles, the oral histories of indigenous peoples from the Americas are woven into the textiles by master weavers, using the new barcodes to access information that illustrates the effects of globalization and its impact on the surviving cultures. I create contemporary hybrid¬ relics that merge the oldest creative traditions with new technologies. These weavings propose a new mythology while using the data they contain to restore and reinsert these fading, and sometimes forgotten cultures into the global mainstream.