FANTASY ISLAND

Shey Rivera

A trans media work that explores how tourism and consumer culture sell a “fantastical” luxury lifestyle, a tropical paradise twisting crisis into “opportunity”. A door opens into a real estate office selling dreams of luxury and reconstruction and the viewer delves into a dizzying spell of animated gifs, performances, and altars.

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Shey Rivera Ríos (pronouns: they/them) is the Director of Inclusive Regional Development at MIT CoLab, in the Dept of Urban Studies and Planning. Rivera has eight years of experience in the non profit arts sector intersecting with urban planning. Their work centers on art and culture as economic drivers in community development, grounded on racial + gender equity. Rivera is the former Artistic Director of AS220, an arts organization and creative incubator recognized as a model of socially responsible urban development in Providence, RI. Rivera has a BA in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR-Rio Piedras), and graduate studies in Contemporary Media and Culture from the University of the Sacred Heart, San Juan, Puerto Rico. They are a multi-genre artist active in the mediums of performance, digital media, installation, and poetry/narrative.

Simulacra and ritual converge through mixed media installations, video, and/or performance. How does gender, religion, equity, and prescription come together in rite and cycle? How do they reproduce in compressed units? How can consumption attempt an exorcism of imperialism while providing an antidote for a fragmented identity. It is the gradual acceptance of the colonizer’s culture to diminish its adverse effects; mithridatism in shades of a tropical sunset.

Shey Rivera

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