VITÓRIA CRIBB INTERVIEW
Atualizado: 18 de out. de 2019
BY MARTA DE LA PARRA PRIETO
TRANSLATED BY VANESSA MÚRIAS
“VICTORIA CRIBB'S AFRO-FUTURISTIC AESTHETIC GIVES US HOPE FOR CHANGE, CREATING AN OTHERWORLDLY EXPERIENCE, POSITIONING BLACK WOMEN, WHICH WERE ALWAYS MARGINALIZED THROUGH HISTORY, AS THE PROTAGONISTS OF AN EGALITARIAN SOCIETY. HER FUTURISTIC-SURREALIST ART HONOUR'S BLACK WOMEN ANCESTRAL POWER WHILE BREAKING STEREOTYPES AND RAISING OLD QUESTIONS USING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IN A RITUALISTIC WAY. THE UNIQUENESS OF CRIBB’S WORK COMES FROM THE WAY THAT SHE CONNECTS HERSELF TO HER OWN ORIGINS VIA FUTURISTIC TOOLS: THE CLASH BETWEEN PAST AND FUTURE. EASY TO RECOGNIZE WHY SHE EVEN GOT TATE MODERN’S ATTENTION, PARTICIPATING IN A TATE EXCHANGE PROGRAM EXHIBITION.”
Vitória Cribb’s introduction courtesy of brazilian visual artivist andréa acker, former galeria das minas intervieweé, galeria das minas no. 2.
GdM: When you set yourself within the art system, you identify as a multidisciplinary artist, a new media artist. Thus, you frame your work to be an “embodiment of self-expression materialized by experimenting half-way between digital and real”. In addition, you state this self-experimentation could also work as “a tool to raise public awareness on your people abused and exploitation”. We would very much like to learn more about how not only your processes but also your own identity play -what seems to be a vital- part in your art.
VC: To me, the black and marginalized body in western societies has an essence that is imposed both virtually and in reality. I talk about this relation between the black body X the digital body in my video art Command Prompt exhibited at the expo Colonial Matrix with the curatorship of Gabriel Hilair. In this work I write a poem about how we live in a society that erases black, indigenous and marginalized bodies and praise digital and technology shaped bodies, in the Command Prompt screen in my computer and I merge it with a few images that represent the way I see myself in this process of technological flood. I try to understand the limits and similarities between digital and what’s considered real during my creative process. My artistic background, despite being started with traditional techniques during my childhood and adolescence, is composed in great part by the digital. The experimentations have been there since I was a kid when my parents allowed me to use the house computed to create and draw when they were not using it for work, and it goes until my late teen years where I started to explore virtual 3D modelling techniques focusing on aesthetics and not necessarily on functionality. The experimentations actually have not ceased or will ever cease. This year I joined a study group called Art and Transdisciplinarity taught by the artist and curator Gabriela Maciel where we ponder, exchange and experiment new ways and techniques for creating pieces in a transdisciplined canvas. This experience increasingly helps me to relate the virtual and digital world to the physical and tactile world. I challenge myself to mix the immaterial part of the piece with the material part of the space or the materials that compose one series.
GdM: Evidently, your work is strongly linked to 3D digital visuals. When did you first come into contact with those tools? moreover, how and why were you drawn to those processes and instruments? What do those visuals entail for you? what virtues do those tools imply for you as an artist?
VC: Like I said previously, even though my artistic experience in my home had been traditional and I started drawing, painting and creating with more conventional materials I had the opportunity to create also on my parents computer when they were not using it. They would allow me to use the Paint program to sketch and express myself freely, which is funny when you think about it today because I would just hang out there trying to represent the things I saw on my daily basis that would fascinate me, like fireworks blowing up on the sky or starry nights. From that I believe it was all very natural. My generation is very digital and absorbing all the visual information, drawings and graphic digital productions indeed contributed to the rise of curiosity about the possibilities of creating with digital immaterial tools. These non-tactile tools in the beginning were extremely natural to me. The programs, even though each one with its own interface, are very similar and intuitive, so the creation from the digital was always simple and pleasurable to me. Nowadays I see great potential in these tools, it help us to create and represent things of an universe that at first is immaterial and inaccessible to the touch, which for me is very interesting since is dialogues with my belief that art is spiritual and emotional. These fields are inaccessible through exclusively rational means and demand a detachment from materiality to reach an emotional healing. Another fascinating thing in the digital and transdisciplinary art to me is the possibility of working with energy and sound directly, not only bringing visuals but changing the meaning and working the senses as a whole in a joint way with sound artists.
GdM: If we are talking about digitalization, we have to talk about the Internet. Undoubtedly, it does have a fundamental role for you. Do you believe the Internet to be an effective space for art and artists? It also feels right to bring now into our conversation audiences and the part the Internet plays in bringing closer art and artists with people all over the world. We would love to hear about what does the digital space incur for you and your art.
VC: I believe the Internet shows its power in many different areas especially in curatorship and artistic processes, and of course it has an upside and a down side, but most of the time they actually complement each other. The exchange in distance purposes a trade of experiences and reflections about your own territoriality from another perspective. I find very enriching the possibility of exchanging artistically and creatively with other artists in thesaurus or children of recent thesaurus people all over the world due to government repression or poverty or war. I am very interested in this trade of the feeling of belonging or not to a determined nation and its culture. Another interesting movement in the use of Internet as propagator of art is the union of artists, writers, curators and enthusiasts in collab platforms where conceptual and technical trades are very rich and powerful for the diversity of participants. Currently I participate in the DIGI-GXL platform lead by Catherine Taylor where other artists, curators, fashion and graphic designers that work with digital tools, specifically 3D, unite and not only create projects and work together but help each other out with technical matters. Being on this platform has made possible for me to constantly exchange with international artists and even participate in the Art Night Festival London 2019.
GdM: Your own identity -as a black woman and a feminist- seems to be a crucial element in your visuals and even more in your narratives. It feels like your artwork aims to advocate for your people´s rights. Am I right?
VC: Not exactly. Actually, like I said in the beginning, I associate real bodies that are out of the white heteronormative normalcy to digital bodies because even though they are so present visually still they are not noticed and allowed inside the discriminatory social order. I try to bring this parallel in a recurrent way either visually or metaphorically because I believe the new medias have a fundamental role in fighting reductionism that exists in our society being either racially, intellectually or gender. The visual and aesthetic language of the digital and the technologic is still written over white and masculine bodies so I aim to change the meaning of this place from internal matters that permeate my existence as a black woman.
GdM: You were part –with a video installation- of in.copo.rar exhibition, within the Interculturalidades Festival. Tell us a bit about it.
VC: Yes! This installation is very important to me because it was the first piece I had the freedom to think the whole work alongside the curator, Tatiana Nunes. The video installation was thought exclusively for the In.corpo.rar exhibit. I got the invite from Tatiana to show something at In.corpo.rar and she explained me that the expos train of thought was “an affirmation of the potencies of the marginal body as art”. She commented that she had the desire to showcase a digital piece e suggested we used a projector. Since I had already a series where I express visually not only the loneliness of the dark black woman but also the lack of sensibility to these women in society’s every day life, through the floating lonely bodies that would be intact and then disintegrate from time to time in an infinite pitch blackness, I decided to utilize the video and create the installation from it. I utilized a fragile and sensitive fabric that would remind sensibility and created in an organic way with it on the wall reserved for my piece and projected the video on it. It was quite interesting to make this. For sure I matured a lot artistically in this process.
GdM: What about your participation in Art Night Festival. Tell us a bit about it too.
VC: I participated on the installation FastLine that was a selection of moving images with the curatorship of Saiba Jabbar/Hervisions for Art Night Festival 2019. The installation explored the hope through not corresponded love in the digital era. It happened in every day locations like the Café Speed Art Internet and cellphone and electronic devises repairing shops Cyber World near a subway station, which made it possible for a general public to have access to the pieces exhibited and for the citizens not inserted in a artistic context to be drawn closer to these languages.
GdM: As a multidisciplinary artist, a new media artist working with 3D visuals and committed to art as a tool for silenced and victimised collectives. Tell us more about influence
VC: I wouldn’t say they are direct influences to my work but I admire so much artists that tackle technology and its relations to the human being and society in a general form and/or utilize this tool to make that reflection. Some of them are: Harun Farocki, Thabata Rezaire, Sondra Perry, CROSSLUCID, Marianna Simnett...
GdM: I will like to lay emphasis on your female influences.
VC: Instead of talking about the influences I will talk about Brazilian women I admire and that in a certain way her carriers motivate me to keep developing my work. Inside the artistic canvas, I mention a few like: Rosana Paulino, Yasmin Thayná, Conceição Evaristo...
GdM: A show.
VC: RP BOO’s performance/set on the last Novas Frequências Festival here in Rio was amazing!
GdM: Something to read.
VC: Incêndios - Wajdi Mouawad.
GdM: Something to listen to.
VC: Common Unity - Chaos in The CBD.
GdM: Something to watch.
VC: Black Girl - Ousmane Sembène.
GdM: You have a new show coming up. This august, you will take part of the Formas collective show at Centro Municipal de Arte Helio Oiticica. Please, tell us a more about this new series, your brand new series Tormento, and this forthcoming exhibition.
VC: I will participate with two more artists, Manuela Leite and Marina de Aguiar. The exhibit is curated by Alexandre Silva. The Torment series is where once again I explore the mix of digital tools with traditional techniques. The series reflect about the torment that beauty can be in a woman’s life and how the search for imperfection makes us ignore and repudiate the natural state of perfection. I leave here a part of the introduction to the series: “The ideal of beauty in the human canvas shows itself in the ugliest most heinous way we can get. But we keep on searching imperfection and denying out perfections as they should be”. It’s a series where I explore the human form and its deformities towards what’s considered beautiful in the western society and its imposed fluidity throughout time. The differential of the series from my other projects is that traditional techniques such as painting and collages are central pillars in the visual representation of the presentation. It was quite a challenging project form me in the way of mixing digital languages with non-digital and I particularly think I succeeded. The series have 6 paintings in canvas of different sizes and 6 wood pieces with prints of “perfect” and “imperfect” representations of the female human figure.
GdM: Lastly, tell us a secret, any upcoming projects.
VC: Yes! In early December I will take part in a collective exhibit alongside the Art and Transdisciplinarity study group, lead and curated by Gabriela Maciel, where we will present pieces developed from our discussions throughout the semester. There’s also a next DIGI-GXL project with the co-curatorship of Molina Zinziver that consists in 2 exhibitions of art pieces from international participants that will take place in Russia. The first exhibit will be on a 360º screen in Lumiere Hall in St. Petersburg with the date still to be confirmed and the second one will happen in October at Planetarium One where I work will be showcased throughout the planetariums dome.
Images courtesy of the artist.