Marcia Vaitsman statement

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In 2013, I was forced to slow down because of an accident that resulted in an involuntary experience of isolation. I could not walk for two months and relied on the help of gracious friends and family members. Many selfless strangers also helped me during this time. As soon as I could walk again, I went to a retreat and spent 10 days in silence, this time as a voluntary attempt to slow down.

Small Acts of Kindness is an exhibition displaying two bodies of work, a photo series and a two-channel video installation. Each part is a result of this slow phase. The two-channel video installation, 10 Days of Isolation, shows the contrast between a very calm video (the “natural” state) and a busy, fast video (the “human-cultural” state or the busy mind). There are so many questions twisting and swirling in my mind; does space shrink when life accelerates? What happens in someone’s mind when their spatial relationships are rearranged by migration, lack of body movement, lack of freedom, lack of money to move around or lack of privacy? What happens to people who do not feel safe in public areas or who do not feel safe inside of their houses, or inside of their bodies?  In the quiet of the moment these questions multiplied.

In 2014, I was introduced to an amazing group of artists and researchers at University of Coimbra in Portugal. There I began to understand and appreciate how my intuition informs the many types of media I use in my work.  This photo series imbues the type of imagery I have been pursuing for years: these are images that envision a kind of escapism. They offer me a tangential experience that veers from daily constraints. Over the years I have worked with toy cameras, first with a Lomo LC-A and now with a Holga. By using these low-tech devices I am able to obtain a kind of obscured image – in my mind, images do not have to have a clear “objective” quality and I prefer the images I imagine to the images I see.