Wish You Were Here: Greetings from the Galápagos
Allison Maria Rodriguez
Wish You Were Here: Greetings from the Galápagos is a three-channel experiential video installation exploring climate change, species extinction, and political agency. Through an assortment of mediums and strategies (digital animation, live action video, photography, collage, traditional drawing and installation) this piece generates an immersive environment that navigates the unsteady terrain between conservation and consumption, environmental advocacy and tourism, sustainability and exploitation.
Extinct animals emerge while threatened animals of the Galápagos transition into extinction, visually passing from living to memory to myth. A human figure (the artist) moves within the landscape as both a guardian of collective memory and as an embodiment of present-day eco-consumerism. The work makes reference to the earth as a conscious being that experiences climate change as trauma – impact in one sphere creates profound effect in another. Abstractedbrain scan imagery, animated synaptic flashes, and the interactive compartmentalization occurring on all three screens is utilized to convey the interconnectivity of human action/impact, as well as how human existence is directly linked to the existence of other species.
By placing the viewer within this magical realist landscape, the artist explores the limitations of language and works to activate a deeper form of connection with other species and our planet. The piece intends to create an alternative space - a space of meditation and reflection - providing the opportunity for an intimate moment that will ignite dialogue and encourage radical thinking about the current culture surrounding environmentalism.
Wish You Were Here: Greetings from the Galápagos won the grand prize at the Human Impact Institutes’ international 2017 Creative Climate Awards. The award was chosen by a jury composed of artists, scientists, policy makers, curators, and media experts. The piece will also be featured in two 2018 solo shows by Rodriguez, including one taking place at the Boston Children’s Museum.
Photographer: Tory Corless
Allison Maria Rodriguez
I am a first generation Cuban-American interdisciplinary artist that works predominantly in video installation and new media. I have always felt a deep kinship with the natural world, which has led me to focus extensively on climate change and species extinction in my work. I’m interested in the interconnectivity between humans and other species, and the beautiful and innate systems of existence that we tend to ignore. Because language is power, there are many experiences confined to the unspoken. I use art to communicate beyond language, in a way that opens up an experiential space, a space of possibility, for the viewer to explore alternate ways of connecting to the emotional realities of others.
I tend to merge and blend mediums to create fantastical landscapes which serve to represent mental spaces. I use live video, digital animation, photography, drawing, collage, and installation to create new pictorial spaces for the viewer to explore aesthetically, conceptually and emotionally. Ultimately, I use art to create an opportunity for connection and engagement, and I strive for my practice to be relevant to the contemporary challenges facing our planet.
This year I was honored to win the grand prize at the Human Impact Institute’s 2017 Creative Climate Awards for my 3-channel video installation “Wish You Were Here: Greetings from the Galápagos”. I’m looking forward to summer where, as a 2018 Earthwatch Artist Fellow, I will be working at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in Manitoba on their “Climate Change at the Arctic’s Edge” project.