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Veronica Cordova de la Rosa is originally from Mexico. She joined the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes in 2012. Her thesis title is 'Images of Violence from Mexico: a performance art based enquiry'.
I studied for my MA in Contemporary Arts at Oxford Brookes University. I found the School of Arts to be a unique place to create artistry.
I chose to study at Brookes because I wanted to continue studying in a favourable and supportive academic environment. I had both an excellent and memorable experience during my time studying for my Masters in Interdisciplinary Arts, so I wanted to extend that experience.
Prior to studying at Oxford Brookes University, I was in Barcelona undertaking an artist residency supported by The National Autonomous University of Mexico.
For me, it was a gradual and slow process to settle into the research environment. However, the people working at the University are very helpful and very empathetic about research students’ academic needs and concerns.
For the last three years I have been a distant but attentive witness of the violent situation in Mexico. I could have chosen to ignore it, yet the information has been overwhelming. As a result, I feel the need to express my thoughts through the language of performative actions.
I have a number of research questions; To what extent can I create a shift in the experience of the viewer regarding their immediate reality in relationship to another subjective view, whilst considering the ethical value of the generated aesthetic perception and the production of new subjectivities? How can I embrace the concept of subjectivity through performance in the context of ‘capitalismo gore ’? How does performance art and daily events function in the context of ‘capitalismo gore’? To what extent can I embody the practice of art performance that avoids meaning, a predictable stream of things and emotions, and incongruous flux of meaning, in the context of ‘capitalismo gore’?
As a scientist, I also conduct experiments with different materials in order to answer to my research questions. I do not research in a lab, but in a studio space and my body is part of the material I work with. The studio space is a neutral space where I create artistic responses, not where the violence happens but in the City of Oxford where it is witnessed.
The aims of my investigation are; 1) To create images and sculptures and explore the use of these in performative actions, 2) to conduct a practice based research project that explores human violence through performance without traumatizing the viewer and maintaining ethical values in the aesthetic perception, 3) to develop a methodology in performance art in which I express my work as practice and the use of myself as a participant, 4) to contextualise the practice in a 20,000 word reflective commentary or exegesis.
Various artists have addressed this topic, including Teresa Margolles, Andres Orjuela and Doris Salcedo. Teresa Margolles worked with various people in the streets of Venice in 2008, sewing fabric dyed with blood collected from executions on the northern border of Mexico. She sewed messages with gold thread into the fabric known as 'Narcomensajes' . The messages read as “Look, listen and shut up”, with the title of the piece being ‘What else could we talk about?'.
Andres Orjuela’s video 'Psicophonia Goliath 1' was a video of an execution downloaded from Youtube and edited it in various ways. He deleted the images and just left the sound and the subtitles, which describe what is happening but do not give us the ability to see what is taking place.
Doris Salcedo conducted an art intervention at the Tate Modern Gallery, London in 2008 entitled 'Shibboleth'. My interest lies in her intervention intention when dividing the Turbine Hall’s floor. The rupture on the floor was a metaphor of catastrophe and border/division. The fracture is a reminder, as well as an invitation to see the world from underground.
All these artistic practices have the characteristics of working in a public space and evoke violence that happens in different places. All are located in order to communicate the tragedy of human beings, with the specific purpose of preserving their memory and dignifying, through art, the memory of people who have died in violent situations.
My research outcomes, along with my developing methodology in performance/live art, aims to be a tool that enables artists to work with improvisation as a mode of inquiry in affecting and emotional ways, without creating additional trauma in the viewer.
I enjoy having a studio space to work at within the School of Arts. I enjoy having a space of reflection in order to create my art. I especially enjoy working with creative and supportive tutors and technicians, such as Dr Tracey Warr, Ray Lee, Adrian Pawley, Dr Paul Whitty, Derek Morris, Magali Moreau, and Ruth Millar. I enjoy creating artistic projects where other people can participate in the projects creativity.
Having the freedom to conduct my own research has made me more independent as an artist, and given me much more more confidence when presenting art work and papers in an academic and artistic context.
The training offered has also helped me to develop social skills and network both within the city of Oxford and outside of it. It has helped me to develop my critical thinking, planning and organisation skills. All of the skills gained and experiences learned have enabled me to present my work in different parts of the world, and allowed me to critically review other research approaches.
I hope to begin developing a career as an academic within the United Kingdom. During the final stages of my research degree, I would like to gain some experience in teaching and acquire a methodology in performance art that will enable me to share my knowledge and experiences with other artists and researchers.
I would also like to mentor other artists who wish to speak about violence or difficult issues in their art, and I plan to apply for a post-doctorate to extend my research and make a significant contribution to the development of critical artistic practice in the United Kingdom.