July 4, 2017

Bites Sizes: Fabiola Carranza

Throughout the Summer Institute, we'll be bringing you Bite Sizes which is sort of an episodic mini studio visit where we get to know bits about what the participants are up to and a bit about themselves. OK, in this episode we speak with Fabiola Carranza. Carranza is a Costa Rican-Canadian artist currently residing in South California. She holds an MFA from UBC and through research and intuitive experimentation, her artworks incorporate texts to explore what she refers to as "provisional political potential.

At the Institute, Carranza is at work in an ongoing project. She is translating a book of essays, Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration by David Wojnarowicz. She is interested in translating this almost 300-page English read into Spanish so it can be accessible to Spanish speakers like her dad. Her father revises her Spanish drafts. He has a knack for reading and grammatical perfection—and Carranza wants him to be able to read the essays, as he is a gay man who came out publicly after retirement and is now in his seventies and involved in LGBTQ activism in Costa Rica.

But more than that, Carranza is doing the translation for herself. The project brings her a kind of discipline and structure that she doesn't normally have in her day to day practice. "It's something I can do every day" Carranza states. She sees the process of translation as an exercise or project she can do to stay in touch with her dad on a weekly basis and as a means to explore her emotional contentedness to a material without having to make "emotional artwork" as she puts it. For Carranza translation is a way of contributing cultural production that can exist parallel to her own artistic projects and speaks to the way she thinks about art, as being a broad set of social responsibilities that encompass different roles, not only that of personal or individual expression. For Carranza three key things art should do are: to touch, confuse or play with an artist's connectedness to their material; to explore the intractability of historical knowledge; and to consider the present.

To cap off my little chat with Carranza, I asked her a generic question: "what does the world need more of?" and she responds appropriately by singing that Jackie DeShannon tune: "What the world needs now, is love sweet love."

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