Monthly archives of “September 2015

Alumni & Faculty News – Sofia Cordova

Alumni & Faculty News – Sofia Cordova

Sofia Cordova GS’05 is interviewed in Wine & Bowties

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Annie Frame – Alumna GS 15 – United States

Tell us a little bit about your work.
I created this zine during my last semester while still determining my final project. At the time I was beginning to draw a lot and was scanning old childhood photographs. In the end, everything compiled into this diaristic space where I could evoke the reader into my certain subconscious thoughts regarding family, art, and identity.

What would you say to people considering applying to the General Studies program?
A year goes by quite quick, the best advice I can give is to push outside of your comfort-zone and experiment. But more than anything, utilize having access to such great facilities.

What impact has the experience of going through a book making class during your year at ICP?
I feel like I have a real perspective of what it takes to get a book actually printed and distributed. Having publishers right there to answer your questions and guide you was extremely informative, if you’re serious about making a book this is the class to take.

What does your work printed as a book manifest?
Things revealed and concealed. There’s symbolic gestures and clues on every page. I hope the book can be layered even if it’s also outspoken.  

Can you describe the GS student community and what makes it special?
It’s unique because everyone is from all over the world, everyone is facing similar challenges and getting to know each other’s work intimately, and because of this it naturally builds a bubble of support. It’s a great feeling to know someone is beside you feels the same, or that there’s someone there to give you constructive feedback or technical advice during and after you graduate.

What were you doing before ICP and what are you planning to do now that you have finished?
I live in New York City, so I was shooting and taking Continuing Education classes at ICP before enrolling. Since graduating, I’m focusing on editing my work from over the past two years, I just became a member at Baxter Camera Club, and I’m working on a new photographic project as well.

Lais Pontes – Alumna GS 11 – Brazil

From the series, The Girls on Instagram. ©Lais Pontes

From the series, The Girls on Instagram. ©Lais Pontes

Lais Pontes – Alumna GS 11 – Brazil

What have you been doing since graduating from ICP’s General Studies Program?
Following my graduation from the ICP in 2011, I was invited to a number of exhibitions – including Paraty em Foco, and the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago – to display and present the work (Born Nowhere) that I had started while undertaking the General Studies Program. In 2013, I enrolled at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) where I obtained an MFA in Photography last year. Currently, I live and work in London, and have had my work included in various exhibitions throughout Europe (as well as the US), such as the Noorderlicht Photofestival in The Netherlands; From Self Portrait to Staging the Self at the Brandts Museum in Denmark; and FotoFest Biennial in Houston.

What impact did the experience of going through the program have for you?
ICP has had a fundamental role in my education as an artist. It was while pursuing my studies there that I was introduced to a variety of different concepts that still inform my work today. The ability to learn from, and work closely with, a very diverse faculty with different skill sets and research interests exposed me to many ideas that shaped and influenced a critical perspective on the medium. I have also been given the freedom and support to develop my own ideas.

From the series, The girls on Instagram. ©Lais Pontes

From the series, The girls on Instagram. ©Lais Pontes

What is the relationship between your current activities/projects and your experience in the program?
My current research interest – that is, the exploration of identity construction in the age of social media – already began to develop while I was still at ICP, even though I was not aware of this at the time. It was only in the course of the MFA program that my previous interest in social media art projects grew stronger and became more focused, so that I felt the need to dig into this subject matter more deeply and explore it on multiple registers.

Since social media has become an integral part of people’s everyday lives – opening up new modes of interaction via platforms like Facebook or Instagram – it inevitably has a tremendous influence on our cultural behaviour, and it is this which I’m currently investigating in my art. In my three social media art projects – Born Nowhere, Born Now Here and The Girls on Instagram – which I started to create while still in New York, I concentrate on examining the relationship between an individual’s on- and offline existence. In the process of creation, I use my own body and life to stage experiments, and appropriate various social media platforms (FB/Instagram), through which viewers can engage and directly interact with my work.

Born Nowhere, Born Now Here and The Girls on Instagram revolve around fictional characters that originated from self-portraits and received personality traits and biographies by crowd-sourcing their identities on FB. Throughout my projects, these characters transcend their online existence either through real-life performances or through taking their photographs on journeys in the physical world, which are documented on their ‘personal’ Facebook accounts or on Instagram. As a result, my work does not only exist in the physical space of a gallery – its ever-changing nature is observable online around the clock and from anywhere in the world.

What would you say to prospective students of the program?
What I am going to say might sound like a cliché, but it is how I feel: Study as much and as hard as possible, and don’t be afraid to fail. You are there to learn, so listen carefully to the critiques and you will improve and always get better. Take your time before making up your mind.

From the series, The Girls on Instagram. ©Lais Pontes

From the series, The Girls on Instagram. ©Lais Pontes