Interview with Laura A. González
Laura’s thesis show, We Are Pleased to Announce, references placeholders for displays and announcements, flattens the space with fluorescent lights -akin to the ones in which we find ourselves when at office spaces and subway stations alike- and recreates an empty waiting room, filled with flyers for psychic readings. She combines these extreme situations to create a somber and beautiful space that simultaneously instills peace, moments of pause and desolation.
I had the opportunity to talk with Laura about her solo show at ICP studios in Long Island City.
Joseph Desler Costa: First off, where are you from?
Laura A González: Excellent question! I’ve lived in New York for the past 7 years now. I came here after spending time in Paris studying photography and eating bread, and I got there because I left a program in Communications in Caracas, Venezuela, which is where I’m from. I lived in Seattle as a kid, and I still think of the green and blue crystal buildings downtown a lot, and the Space Needle, and a mall called “The Bon” which was just one big block of glass. At 17 I left Caracas again and studied in the UK for two years. I was left unsupervised. It was great! I still feel dumbstruck when I smell someone in New York that smells like one of my friends from school there. Now everyone is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I personally can be found in Greenpoint, Brooklyn now. (156 Freeman. Are you listening Capital One?)
JDC: How has living in NYC affected you, your process, and your work?
LAG: Well, as mentioned above, I seem to be sniffing people a lot. Most of the times everyone’s cool about it.
JDC: Your show is coinciding with the arrival of spring. I personally am feeling positive after a long, long winter. Is your process at all affected or complimented by the weather?
LAG: Funny that you ask this, on the day of my final critique I jumped on the subway and –not unlike any other day– I scouted my iPod for the right tune(s). I have a lot of music and I work off songs, lyrics, and repetition a great deal. When I find the song I want (I prefer it when it comes from The Shuffle Fate) I listen to it on repeat, sometimes replaying a part many times before the song ends and starts again. Anyway, the day of my final critique –funny that you ask – the shuffle spouted a song that goes warm in the winter, sunny on the inside… warm in the winter, sunny on the inside. I kept repeating it until I got to the studio, and it worked. I did feel warm in the winter and sunny on the inside.
JDC: What is your favorite color and why?
LAG: Purple. I actually included the approximate wavelength of purple (380-420 nanometers) as a “phone number” in a flyer I made for my show; a flyer from the certified authenticated psychic Moira Harrison. Purple and I go way back. It was the color that most complimented my grandmother when she wore it, and somehow growing up, I was complimented every time I wore purple too. It relates to psychic practices and mysticism too, so it fits Moira Harrison well. I think of purple and I think of opals –my birthstone– and the number 5. I was born on October 5th, 1985 (10/05/85): all the numbers there are multiples of five. For some unreasonable reason, I have actually caught myself doing things, marking things, and choosing dates based on the number 5 or multiples of 5.
JDC: Are you afraid of anything?
LAG: Well. When I was young, I had this “trick” or “game” I would play. I’d sit on the edge of my bed, and put my hand on my lap, look at it, and repeat over and over again “you know that hand is not there, it’s not real. It’s not there. Laura that’s not a hand. It’s not made of anything. This is not real and beyond real there’s blank.” I am unsure about how to explain it, but both my hands and the world around them seemed –still do– really unbelievable, and kind of made out of nothing to me. Back then, I knew where my breaking point was: I knew how it felt to actually start losing control of the situation, and wonder “shit I’m gonna lose it, I’m gonna to go crazy, and crazy is blank and once I’m blank I won’t even know it’s blank so I will never come back.” Anyways, when I felt that –that specific fear– I would jump off my bed, straight to the bathroom to wash my hands, because the activity of washing my hands made me think of –precisely– an activity or an action, and not just BLANK. I don’t do that anymore, but I still wash my hands often (maybe too much, they’re always dry). And I carry moist hand towelettes everywhere I go. Actually scratch that, that’s not true. But my boyfriend does because he knows I’m gonna need them. It’s like keeping crackers in your pocket for the friend you know who gets hangry (hungry, and angry).
Please visit www.lagonzalez.com to see more of Laura A. González