Meet Miguel Arzabe!
The countdown begins! We are just two weeks away from the start of Project 387. Learn more about Miguel Arzabe who will be joining us on the 2nd.
1. Tell us briefly about the focus of your work. What are some of the themes you are exploring these days?
My work considers notions of use-value, agency, subjectivity, and goal oriented thinking. The time I spend hiking in nature has got me thinking about the ongoing drought as stemming from larger existential and philosophical problems. I've been collecting water from different locales, using it to create and release large soap bubbles into the landscape. Their unpredictable trajectories are captured on video. The bubble interests me because it is shiny and captivating - it inspires wonder in young and old alike- yet has critical potential. Its inherent formal qualities such as reflectance, transparency, buoyancy, mutability, and ephemerality give it metaphoric power. Thus in a playfully absurd manner it calls into question how we assign value to one of our most precious of natural resources.
2. What are you looking at, reading, or listening to right now that is influencing your work or process?
I listen KALX, UC Berkeley's radio station, when I am in the studio. The type of music depends on the DJ and it expands my musical horizons. Sometimes I'll put on old records, Newyorican salsa, Cuban son, Argentine sambas, Bolivian music, soul, psychedelic rock.
Some of the books I am reading/have read are Cadillac desert : the American West and its disappearing water by Marc Reisner, Undermining by Lucy Lippard, Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace, How to Do Things with Art – The Meaning of Art’s Performativity by Dorothea von Hantelmann, Willing Slaves of Capital : Spinoza and Marx on Desire by Frédéric Lordon, and Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño.
3. What does a typical day in the studio/office look like for you?
When I'm filming, it usually is a whole day or multiple day affair. I roam around the landscape looking for the ideal conditions that might yield a successful shoot. Lots of trial and error, physically and mentally exhausting but very fulfilling to be outside all day.
During typical studio days, in the mornings I read and attend to mundane internet activities. Lately I spend the afternoons making a large paper weaving. It's made from flyers, posters, and other paper ephemera collected from art exhibitions, cut into strips and woven by hand. It's a repetitive and meditative kind of work, I can easily forget to stop to eat or drink water. When the evening light hits sometimes I'll go outside and make some bubbles.
4. What's the best advice someone has giving you about your work? The worst?
One of my mentors taught me that there always needs to be room for doubt in the work. Since then it has been a gradual process of letting go of control, letting the work make the decisions.
Bad advice usually comes from someone who is not listening very well.
5. Are you involved in any upcoming shows/events/happenings?
Recently I created a website where the public can sign up to come along on hikes with a visiting artist. The next walk will happen in September, check www.arthike.com for updates.
6. Is there one particular thing you are most looking forward to at Project 387?
I'm excited to meet this group of talented people and to spend my days wandering the landscape. And eating good food!