We welcome Michael Barraco to Small Space Fest! He is an artist and independent curator based in Brooklyn, NY.
Artist Statement: "My work is concerned with post-natural histories of organisms, the interclusion of natural and man made infrastructure and how the existential concerns of the individual manifest themselves in the Anthropocene - the new geological epoch we find ourselves in resulting from human intervention and ecological apathy. I address this content through a re-investigation of modernist conventions, and new media techniques utilizing the experiential qualities of video and photography. By combining these elements and changing their context I create objects that elicit an immediate, confrontation with the material, while at the same time also creating a clinical distance from the subject matter. The effect is one of anesthetized physicality, and it allows me to materialize the intangible while also making very clear distinctions between reality and illusion.
The work is at the forefront experiential. My installations often incorporate silent video that develops infinitely as a seamless loop inseparable from the architecture that supports it. The mood is often quiet, meditative, and solemn. There is often a friction with the thee dimensional form of the piece, and two dimensional representation. Video footage may float above a lake in space, or appear from behind a mirror, two dimensional photographs appear to have something on their surface, mounted spiderwebs appear to be drawings at first glance. This combination of the experiential with the collapse of traditional formal boundaries is used to slow the viewer down into a more contemplative state. This allows the viewer time for a more nuanced deconstruction of the work, which allows for a richer invested experience. I'm very much influenced by mid century European film in this regard. Particularly the work of Ingmar Bergman and Jean Cocteau in which slowly developing narratives paired with radical formal strategies leave the viewer in a state of existential inquiry. It is this reevaluation of the individuals place in the world that I aim to instill in the viewer. Artwork that implicates the viewer while simultaneously evoking a sense of empathy are particularly apt and necessary in this era of economic collapse.
My process starts outside of the studio. The work often begins with a first hand research into nature, historical writings, or public and private archives. Over the course of the journey I gather data, footage, photographs, interviews, and field samples. The elements are then reevaluated as to how best to transform the research into experiential visual poetry. Very often elements are commercially fabricated in order to create an unassuming ubiquitous first impression. Many of my early photographic works use images taken from private and public archives in order to reinterpret multiple histories of the printed image, while bringing them into contact with the physicality of the present. However, in order to understand and demystify the tropes of the present I feel that it is necessary to deconstruct the past. In my most recent projects I have become more interested in the role of the collector and in creating archives of my own, which allows me to document contemporary trends in subject matter.
To see more of Michael Barraco's work click HERE