I am a Colombian artist based between Bogotá and Rotterdam, working primarily music, installation, video, and collage, with a multi-disciplinary background in law and policy-making. I am co-founder of the facilitative platform GHOST and the artist-run community center/les university of life Tender Center Rotterdam.
For the past eight years, I have developed an interest in macabre and phantasmagoric explanations of reality. In various vivid and yet intangible ways, interpretations of everyday life, history, death or war can be found through forms of witchcraft, worship or mythological storytelling. Alongside this, I research how these beliefs and other emergent and contextual practices (Santeria, Santa Muerte, Winti) have been disguised within everyday life (sometimes to evade prosecution). It is the power within the ambivalence or polyvalence of the symbols and images used in these practices, that I also fold into my work.
While coordinating LGBTQ affairs for the Colombian government, I encountered a variety of ceremonial and collective faith practices that had developed out of personal necessity and as a result of state negligence and inequality. This experience highly influenced my work and led me to include fieldwork as a tool to become familiar with how social relations are enacted, how they effect the cultural tissue where symbols are subject to constant flux.
I translate these encounters into music, video and installation, exploring different modes of story telling, while channeling a multiplicity of voices. My research has been mediated by the contrasts between intuition and reason, mysticism and theory, and has led me to highlight and work with the material of confusion. In my installation works, I integrate different mediums such as sculpture and collage, while activating them through performance and sound, to create various dialogues and in some cases, evoke conflict. I register narrations by extracting imagery from conversations, embedding them as symbols on objects; I shift their meanings from market mass-produced goods to amulets; archival-like objects to worship instruments. By staging collective imaginings and re-interpreting myths in moving image, I move between between collective memory and fantasy.
Music and sound are consistent across my practice, letting me communicate in less discursive and more intimate manners. These have served as emotional gatherings, reflecting upon a collective sense of identification or a method for self-invention. In 2014, I produced a pop LP under the moniker of NIKA, who negotiates with stages and landscapes to sing and write. I am interested in the abilities of music to narrate and archive, challenge language and engage in collaboration. Through performance ‘music becomes a changing rather than an unchanging same’. (Gilroy, 1993).