Multidisciplinary art on display at Huntley Gallery

By Sara Vargas

Now on display at the Don B. Huntley Gallery in the University Library is Prequel to 2018, an exhibit showcasing work by Los Angeles-based artist Bia Gayotto.

Bia Gayotto: Prequel to 2018 is the third of a sequence of small exhibits at the gallery highlighting tech-based installation artists.

Gayotto defines her work as “place-based art with an interdisciplinary approach.”

According to Gayotto, her inspiration behind this series stemmed from her cross-cultural upbringing. Her desire was to represent what life is like between two or more places and cultures.

“During my undergraduate school, I did several internships in marine ecology, which had an impact later in my art career based on how we studied a subject from multiple perspectives and points of views,” said Gayotto.

With the combination of elements of performance, documentation, ethnography, chance and collaboration, Gayotto has been able to examine the ideas of how culture and identity inspire interest throughout various settings.

“Art is a language; it is about expressing thoughts, concepts and ideas, and I believe Gayotto’s work demonstrates that,” said Michele Cairella-Fillmore, gallery director and curator.

The exhibit displays work from Gayotto’s two pieces of work: “Somewhere In Between: Taipei” and “Somewhere In Between: Silicon Valley.”

“Michele and I decided to choose works that informed both my artistic and curatorial practices,” said Gayotto. “We also considered several factors such as the gallery space, lighting, equipment and type of audience.”

While viewing Gayotto’s pieces, Nancy Morales, a third-year sociology student, enjoyed the different elements incorporated into the exhibit.

“The interviews and the two screens side-by-side showing different pictures and videos was really interesting,” said Morales. “It is great to witness how much art has changed.”

Cairella-Fillmore describes Gayotto’s work as poignant because of all the real moments she captures both on film and in writing.

“When you look at Gayotto’s photos from ‘Somewhere In Between: Taipei,’ many of the pictures are of locals protesting their president,” said Cairella-Fillmore. “A lot of emotion is revealed.”

In addition to the touching interviews and photographs, Gayotto was committed to portraying each place she visited accurately.

To complete her pieces, Gayotto was awarded residency in Taipei in 2012 and residency in Silicon Valley in 2014.

“Both pieces resulted from three-month artistic residencies,” said Gayotto.

Her time in both places differed greatly because of the different steps in production.

She needed to define a geographical area to work with while in Silicon Valley and in Taipei, while also interpreting the demographics of each city as it was randomly based on those who responded to her open interview calls.

Transportation also let her perceive each city differently because in Taiwan she used public transportation, and in Silicon Valley she had a car.

“[Public transportation and the car] both had great visual impact on how these places were represented,” said Gayotto.

Postproduction was also different because ambient sound and voiceovers were used for her piece on Silicon Valley, while for “Somewhere In Between: Taipei,” she invited a French-Taiwanese musician to compose the soundtrack.

“The great amount of time Gayotto spends on her pieces is very unique,” said Cairella-Fillmore. “The two screen videos and thorough interviews show that.”

From all the elements incorporated into the gallery, Gayotto wanted to give a feeling of human connectivity of moving through space and finding connections you would not expect.

“I hope that the exhibition will give viewers an opportunity to slow down and find beauty in the ordinary and look at the familiar in unfamiliar ways and vice-versa,” said Gayotto.

Gayotto will be returning to the gallery for a lecture at 4 p.m. March 9.

Prequel to 2018 is an introduction to a much larger exhibition that is to come in 2018, which will feature more of Gayotto’s work along with other multidisciplinary artists.

The exhibit runs through April 13 located on the fourth floor of the library.

Bia Gayotto uses two-screen video installations as part of the exhibition

Courtesy of Bia Gayotto

Bia Gayotto uses two-screen video installations as part of the exhibition

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