Victoria DeBlassie / Connor Maley

International residency grant

July - August 2018

Victoria DeBlassie. Albuquerque, 1987 / Connor Maley. Washington, D.C., 1984

Victoria DeBlassie and Connor Maley live and work in Florence, Italy. Their recent collaborations examine the intersection between their two respective art practices: visual arts and fiction. In Victoria’s individual art practice, she operates as an ethnoarchaeologist, mining her immediate surroundings to discover material remains and detritus and what these findings say about contemporary life, cultural values, and their relationship to history. She recontextualizes discarded objects and materials to create art that suggests the excessiveness of material culture by collecting trash and searching through our ever-amassing mass to unearth and create a novel kind of vitality. Connor’s writings are comprised of a language-centric channeling of trauma, pain, and the attempted recovery of what gets lost under the weight of macroscopic and microscopic forms of oppression, authoritarianism, and other systems of disenfranchisement, making use of history, politics, and theory to collapse time and history into a bizarre, surreal, bleakly comic tapestry where language interlocks everything into narratives connecting characters to ancestors, historical figures to invented protagonists, exhuming the past and inserting it within the present like a palimpsest. In collaboration, they meld their interests together to explore how layers of time and history affect present day political, social and cultural life.

Their current collaboration explores how language and culture are connected in such an inextricable way that one could assert that language tells the story of a culture by virtue of its very existence, and the continued presence of one determines the continuation of the other. Concentrating on the Catalan language and culture, they are incorporating social practice, found text, prose sequences and poetic fragments written in different registers in an installation to make connections about the importance and the conservation of language. Their project explores this concept generally but also specifically in terms of the important role of Catalan in Catalunya, especially at this critical moment, a place where the region’s language policy in prioritizing Catalan and firmly establishing a bilinguality with an emphasis on speaking Catalan in Catalan institutions has been under attack by federal powers for years and which is under attack at this very moment in a potently aggressive way.

Connor Maley:

Victoria DeBlassie:

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