- DIAZ Maria Adela, Borderline, 2005.
Maria Adela Diaz was born in Guatemala in 1973. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Her art expresses the essence and sublimity of women. She aims to seduce nature within an everyday context and attempts to transform the observer into a part of her own work. Through different media, such as intallations, video-performance, Maria Adela Diaz uses her body as the medium to convey her objections to political deception, patriarchal societies and discriminating philosophies.
Video performance. Duration: 3:34 min. I seated myself in a wooden box and navigated into the ocean for 45 minutes. This performance denounce the migratory policies in the United States and the precarious situation of the migrants without papers, and which can be read like a cathartic ritual of the wounds of my own exile where I locked myself up in a container lauched to the sea.
– (retranscription, consultée le 8/1/2014 : http://elles.centrepompidou.fr/blog/?p=235) …La performance a connu un renouveau à la fin des années 1990 au Guatemala, c’est-à-dire à la fin de la guerre civile. Des artistes femmes se sont alors appropriées la performance, ainsi que la vidéo, afin d’interroger la situation politique du Guatemala dans une optique féministe (Sandra Monterroso, Regina José Galindo, Maria Adela Diaz). Maria Adela Diaz revient dans un entretien sur Borderline, une vidéo issue d’une performance à haut risque : elle est en effet enfermée dans une caisse en bois à la dérive sur la mer. Maria Adela Diaz est née au Guatemala mais vit et travaille aujourd’hui aux États-Unis. Elle utilise son propre corps dans ses performances, installations ou encore vidéos pour questionner les discriminations liées aux origines ethniques et au sexe. Son travail s’inspire notamment de son expérience d’immigrante sans-papiers aux États-Unis. Maria Adela Diaz travaille également comme graphiste, et réalise des illustrations dans ses nombreux carnets de croquis.
« Can you us more about Borderline?
Borderline is a video performance, where I submitted myself in a wooden box that navigated into the ocean for about 45 minutes until it reached land.
Borderline talks about the immigration situation in the United States. This performance, denounced the migratory policies that immigrants go through when they submit themselves to cross the border in the US.
I specially named this piece Borderline to talk about the unstable territory you are in when you are an immigrant in a country like the US. Borderline deals with discrimination, disruption and instability in a very sublime way but all elements that I used in this piece reflect the emotion and feeling of being in a country that constantly diminishes the minority, taking them to reach their own limits.
How does this piece reflect your own experience?
Borderline is the result of my own experience as an immigrant in the USA. The year 2005 was a very crucial moment to define my legal status in the US. I took the risk to loose my life when I made this piece. And I also put myself in the spot to get caught by the law force of the US and get deported to my country. I think I wanted that to happen. My personal story is the story of thousands of immigrants. It might not be exactly the same, but in Borderline I am representing the unspoken men and women that feel trap in a situation like this.
The price that people have to pay to live in the US is very high. To live in an unstable land is intolerable anywhere. The human rights doesn’t really work in your favour.
What is the political background for artists in Guatemala?
I think political issues are embedded in every Guatemalan Citizen. As an artist I just like take small bites of what political means to me and to others, although my work doesn’t only talk about politics I do recognized the political issues that my family and I experienced on a daily day basis.
You work as an artist and a graphic designer, using a vast array of medium, from illustration to photography. What are the dynamics between these practices?
As an artist I recognized myself as a storyteller. I am constantly creating images in my head, either for a ‘‘commercial’’ client or for my artwork.
Graphic Design gives me the opportunity to be involve in the world. To research is a very important exercise. it gives me material to work and know more about what happens around me, it makes me feel grounded. My illustration work is a mental exercise that keeps me happy and moving. I have a journal and about 5 little other notebooks that I fill with drawings. I do enjoy doing that but it is not commercial as what I do with web design and Graphic Design. My artwork represents the duality between my subconscious and the cruel reality.
Your work was included in the Global Feminisms exhibition’s catalogue and is often associated with art made by women. What is your relationship to feminism?
I don’t recognize myself as a feminist although I have exhibited my work in some particular feminist exhibitions. I don’t really understand all the statements of feminists but I respect it. I think I do feminine work which is work made by a woman. I talk about my gender my position as a woman at this moment in history. In my work, I talk about the different facets of being a woman, a mother, a lover, a victim, an artist, and so forth.
The use of your own body seems central in most of your pieces…
I use my body as the canvas where I expose the work. My body is the vehicle to transport a big load of my own life experience; touching the limits is the way I get intimate with my own body and the work. I am interested in pushing myself to those limits. To find out that there is more to push is like touching the untouchable. It connects me to my own self and perhaps with others. Each performance empties my body to be filled up later with what I want to say. »