Julia Orquera Bianco

Migration is a global phenomenon that is constantly affecting the configuration of cultures and histories worldwide. Massive movements of bodies create diasporic spaces where new identities are negotiated. As is the case of many families in Argentina, mine was formed mostly by immigrants. Geographical movement is a fundamental part of my lineage, a cycle I have renewed by my own geographical displacement, first to Mexico and later to the U.S.

The act of moving from my hometown in search of better opportunities, the experiences that migration brought to my life, the challenges they involved, and the resources that I had to put into action, gave me a deeper understanding of myself and my lineage, through embracing the opportunity to bring solutions to the problems that presented to me by using strategies of survival similar to those that my grandparents used in the past. These strategies informed my art practice and helped me understand and transform complex situations into new meanings and to create objects, installations and time-based media that speak about the relationship between memory, migration and the construct of an identity that is constantly in motion, influenced by the past but re-contextualized and impacted by the present and the place.

I approach migration by examining this phenomenon as a corporeal and embodied one. I address this issue from two different but complementary sides: sculptural objects/installations and video performance. This approach is fundamentally connected with the idea of a body in context, a body that experiences migration. For this, understanding the place that craft and labor played in the history of my family, seen through the lens of everyday life, and in my life experience as a migrant, deeply impacted and expanded my current practice. My work is mostly process-based, being the time aspect and the physicality of both craft and labor a fundamental part of it.

In my recent work, the idea of movement grew beyond that connected to geography: it became a way of transforming space – from foreign and individual to familiar and communal – through the act of dance. As a tradition initiated by my grandmother and later perpetuated by most of my relatives, dance has been something that my family learned and enacted together. For this reason, I am inspired to use dance as a tool to explore my own experience as a migrant in new spaces, using my dancing body as a direct, unmediated device.