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Carlos Flores

Nominated by UIC 

Whether it’s a hybrid painting and Plinko board, a marquee for foam insulation letters, a text display built out of a mattress and lights, or a milk crate made out of terracotta, my work investigates Autofiction and Autoconstrucción—the first being the literary genre and the latter a philosophy for construction—in order to explore how material decisions, and linguistics, function as agents for selfhood.

As a sociopolitical phenomenon, Autoconstrucción (which translates to “self-construction”) has shaped the look of Architecture in areas in Mexico where the urban meets the rural. Since the 1940s, underprivileged people have settled in and around the outskirts of cities by means of improvised building techniques and materials. As a native of Mexico, I have experienced this dynamic first hand. Living structures are built based on specific familial needs, material availability, ingenuity and makeshift tactics. As with our identities, these communities and individual homes are subject to ever changing transformation.

My interest in Autoconstrucción stems from a lifelong fascination with found, broken, and marginalized objects. The maker in me wants put these objects together in configurations that differ from their originally intended purpose to produce new meanings that are important to my experience. I try to refocus the lens and tell stories that were hidden or perhaps lacked a voice. In these new formations I often include lexical elements, inspired from Autofiction, to activate the dynamics of language and personal history. Ultimately I am inspired to make work that explores the intersection of Autofiction and Autoconstrucción by making objects that bridge both worlds, in an attempt to reimagine new and complex realities for a contemporary cultural identity.

Image: Untitled (found mattress and lights), 2016

Resident year: 
2016
Cohort Group: 
Artist Resident