From the Memories Series: Dream
three-channel video projection installation
3:00 min loop
This video installation was produced for the exhibition Here and There: Six Artists from San Juan curated by Deborah Cullen. The exhibition was organized and exhibited at El Museo del Barrio in New York City in 2001 and traveled to the Art Museum of the University of Houston’s Blaffer Gallery in 2002.
Excerpt from the press release:
“Here & There / Aquí y Allá refers to the rich and complex cultural relationship that contemporary Puerto Rican artists have developed with the United States. The exhibition showcases exciting new work by six artists based in San Juan: Nayda Collazo-Llorens, Charles Juhász-Alvarado, Ana Rosa Rivera Marrero, Freddie Mercado, Carlos Rivera Villafañe, and Aaron Salabarrías Valle. Each artist is represented by a one-room installation using such wide-ranging media as video projection, sculpture, found objects, color photographs, drawings, and plastic ready-mades. The exhibition presents some of the most provocative contemporary art currently being produced in Puerto Rico.
Deborah Cullen, Curator at El Museo del Barrio, New York, and organizer of the exhibition, describes these artists as, “the best of the upcoming generation on the island working in non-traditional and experimental media, including site-specific installation, video projection, and performance documented through photography. While their approaches stem from an earlier generation of pioneering artists, such as Antonio Martorell and Pepón Osorio, their content moves away from interrogations of identity prevalent in the 1980s. Instead, they concern themselves with formal and conceptual issues, engaging in the discourse of international contemporary art, while retaining subtle references particular to the island on which they live and work."
"Nayda Collazo-Llorens combines manipulated imagery with bilingual text in her video projections. These flickering images and soothing sounds recall reflective dream imagery where speech is frustrated, time is in flux, and memories and emotions emerge and fade..."
Excerpts from essays and reviews:
Nayda Collazo-Llorens: The Logic of Dreams
by Deborah Cullen, Curator
From the Memories Series: Dream (2000), casts its images into a dark corner on two adjacent walls. The images, seeped in red, show the rising and falling surface of the ocean. These two vistas of blood-red water overlap. On one, a ghostly self-portrait is superimposed. The blurry image of a woman appears, naked and screaming, with her eyes clenched tightly. A close-up of an open, shouting mouth floats over the adjacent, wavering panel. These eerie images get larger until they fill the wall, then disappear. Two countdown timers run in the upper right corners of each projection. One timer runs at a normal pace; one runs very rapidly. The two different speeds indicate different registers of time: the normal time of daily life, and that of memory or dreams, an altered state of anxiety, fear, or anguish.
A poem-like text—some phrases in Spanish, some in English—is projected, one line at a time, in a rhythmic pulse on an opposite wall. The quiet beat of the changing text creates yet another, inevitable timing counterpoint against which the chronometers in the video images work. The spectator must choose between watching the images or reading. The text is in a stream-of-consciousness style, a moving piece of writing that describes the narrator witnessing a bloody, but unspecified, tragedy. She recalls not being able to speak or scream. Tamping down her rising hysteria by counting, she alternates a description of her emotional state with dictionary definitions that provide a rational counterpoint to her panic. Coupled with the subtle soundtrack of waves hitting a shoreline, her description of frustrated, choked speech creates an oppressive atmosphere of drowning. Projected one line at a time in a rhythmic beat, the poem moves almost too fast to be read. The constant switching back and forth between languages—perhaps a reflection of the artist’s thought process in New York—adds to the sense of expression being thwarted.
What is most provocative about Dream is that this work takes her the furthest afield from her printmaking roots and deep into the heart of the psychoanalytical interests specific to the video medium. Previously, Collazo-Llorens prioritized changing super impositions to comment on temporal states and the subjective distention of time. These offered a plethora of imagery in layers that alluded to passing time, but that compressed their changing pictorial depictions of it into a shallow, essentially frontal, formal space. Dream uses a muralized video projection that surrounds the viewer, to force an experience of time in which the spectator always necessarily loses some of the image or text. The viewer becomes aware of their own experience as it, too, transpires in time. While surrounding them with the emotional and evocative clarity of the dream world, the structure of the work—with the logic of dreams—also withholds. Unable to grasp the dual sets of text and image projections at once, and perhaps unable to even understand all the text, as it shifts between Spanish and English, Dream turns the beholder back and forth, leaving them in a state of perpetual frustration which mirrors both the content and aesthetics of this video piece.”
Excerpt from Nayda Collazo-Llorens: The Logic of Dreams, by Deborah Cullen, published in the catalog of the exhibition Here and There: Six Artists from San Juan, El Museo del Barrio, NY, 2001
“Toward the beginning comes the one somber, stripped-down entry, a three-channel video piece by Nayda Collazo-Llorens titled From the Memories Series: Dream. A woman’s face, murky red, looms across two gallery walls; she seems to be underwater. Words are projected on another wall, phrases in Spanish and English that add up to an amorphous narrative about swimming, encountering violence, trying to scream, and then, in that illogical dream way, being carried off in a boat.”
Excerpt from Tourists, Jungle Sprites and the Logic of Dreams on Fantasy Island by Holland Cotter, New York Times, 2002
Text is integral to Nayda Collazo-Llorens. Her video installation From the Memories Series consists of three proyections. One is an ocean surface, sleeped in blood red, overlaid with a disembodied mouth that opens and closes in mute speech. The other flashes phrases from a poem, alternating English and Spanish, often too quickly to read. The soft sound of waves lapping onshore, however, is constant and insistent, adding another dimension to her exploration of time and its guardian, memory. It is the most elegant of the exhibition’s offerings and one in which the subject of loss and death does not know national boundaries.
Excerpt from Puerto Rican artists offer show of extravagance by Patricia C. Johnson, Houston Cronicle, 2002
El proyecto De la serie memorias: sueño recibió el apoyo de la National Endowment for the Arts a través del Programa de Subvención Básica para las Artes, de la Oficina de Apoyo a las Artes del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, y del Fondo Puertorriqueño para el Financiamiento del Quehacer Cultural del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña.