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Announcement
November 16, 2013

Carolina CaycedoBe Dammed

18th Street Arts Center
Carolina Caycedo, Dammed Landscape, 2013, Diptych, Satellite Image Digital Print, courtesy of the artist and Artists-in-Berlin program/DAAD.

Curated by Pilar Tompkins Rivas

18th Street Arts Center is the largest continuous artist residency program in Southern California.  Its core gallery program, Artist Labs, stimulates public dialogue around the role of artists in society through process-based, commissioned projects intending to foster exploration and experimentation and provide in-depth opportunities for artists to critically develop their practice. Structured as both a residency and an exhibition, individual artists or collectives develop new work and generate provocative programming.

18th Street Arts Center is pleased to present Be Dammed by Carolina Caycedo. This research-based project explores concepts of flow and containment, while investigating correlations between the mechanisms of social control and the unethical aspects of public works infrastructural projects including large water dams and reservoirs. Be Dammed encompasses sculpture, photography, video, and a performance series. Within this body of work, Caycedo conceptually embeds an analogous, contiguous relationship of tactical constraint and crowd control, as exercised by police and military over group protests and public demonstrations.

Focusing on El Quimbo, a hydroelectric dam under construction in Colombia, Caycedo draws attention to physical, economic, and societal power structures interrupting the flow of socio-political organizing and resistance efforts through a body of interrelated artworks. El Quimbo is the first hydroelectric power project in Colombia to be constructed by a transnational, private corporation, signifying the transition of this geographically, ecologically, and historically important public body of water into a privatized resource. As a principal river connecting the Caribbean coast to the interior of Colombia and Ecuador, the Magdalena River has been significant since the pre-Columbian era as a stronghold of early civilizations, later as a navigation route during the Spanish conquest, and currently as a cultural and economic backbone of the region. Now diverted and channeled for the construction of the dam, its watershed is in the process of geographical and ecological corporatization while local, native communities are displaced.

Artworks in Be Dammed examine the interconnected spheres of legal, physical, and psychological social control. As part of her research for the two channel video Spaniards Named It Magdalena But Natives Call Her Yuma, Caycedo conducted interviews with various individuals involved with the development of El Quimbo including an activist, an oppositional leader, a shaman, a local fisherwoman, and the dam’s engineer, developing an understanding of this complex triad. Manifesting these relationships in the performance series Beyond Control, Caycedo continues her collaboration with contemporary dancer Rebeca Hernandez exploring the choreography of power via crowd control techniques, restrictive paramilitary holds, and barrier systems designed to contain civil disobedience.

Carolina Caycedo is a Los Angeles-based artist, of Colombian and British background. Her work has been exhibited worldwide with solo shows at Vienna Secession, Intermediae-Matadero Madrid, Alianza Francesa Bogotá, and Hordaland Kunstsenter Bergen. She participated in the 2013 Paris Triennial, 2009 Havana Biennial, 2009 San Juan Poligraphic Triennial, 2006 Whitney Biennial, 2003 Venice Biennial, and 2001 Istanbul Biennial. In 2012 Caycedo was a DAAD’s Artist-in-Berlin resident.

Related events:

Saturday, December 7, 2pm
Beyond Control
Performance in collaboration with Rebeca Hernandez
California Wash Memorial, Pico and Santa Monica Beach

Acknowledgements: This program has been made possible by funding from Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and the Andy Warhol Foundation. The film Spaniards Named It Magdalena But Natives Call Her Yuma was produced by Artists-in-Berlin program/DAAD and will first be presented in Caycedo’s solo show The headlong stream is termed violent, but the river bed hemming it in is termed violent by no one at daadgalerie, Berlin, November 9, 2013 to January 5, 2014.

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