ESTEBAN PÉREZ (b. 1992 in Quito, Ecuador), received his bachelor’s degree in Contemporary Arts in 2018 from Universidad San Francisco de Quito, EC, and is currently an MFA Candidate at Emily Carr University of Arts + Design in Vancouver, BC. In 2017 he was selected for the Premio Brasil –Arte Emergente (CAC), an award funded by the Brazilian embassy for the promotion of Emerging Artist. His work has been part of exhibitions such as: ‘Triplete’ (No lugar, 2018), ‘dissipare’ (Khora, 2018), and Premio Brasil (Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, 2017). His latest solo show Transitory (Más Arte, 2019), explored the overstimulation and saturation generated by the massive consumption of information.
Earth Project, 2019-ongoing
Link for Video of Earth Project: https://vimeo.com/384156722
I propose a simple gesture. To dig a hole in the earth, put the earth in a box and send it to Ecuador, my motherland. As simple and absurd as this may sound, the process reveals some interesting dynamics between the entangled ideas of land, trade, territory, art and law. The project originated from feelings of anger and frustration when entering a new country, in this case Canada, and requesting yet another visa.
I was interested in the effects of nations and borders, and their restrictive methods for regulating human movement. The designation of a “First World” Country is rooted in a colonial matrix of racialized violence. Particularly interesting are the inherited hierarchies that continue to haunt our daily lived experiences, for instance, why does the settler get to decide who enters its land. Another example could be to see land as a commodity, that needs to be exploited for the benefit of the Nation’s development. At the beginning of this project, I was trying to find out why a person with an Ecuadorian passport cannot freely travel throughout the world. In comparison to a person from a First World nation who holds a “stronger” passport that allows them to travel without any restrictions. My intention with this project was to temporarily change roles. And see what would happen when a person from the southern hemisphere approaches the First World nation territory with an extractive gaze. I wanted to extract the land of opportunities. Now, I understand that I was trying to decolonize the earth. Coming from a developing country and therefore acutely aware of the complex meaning of borders, I recognized that I needed to ask for permission from the first habitants of these lands, the Musquem, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. That feeling of frustration shifted toward a sense of deference and respect. After a small Squamish protocol of asking permission to the earth and Nature, Aaron Nelson-Moody, a squamish artist and I, proceeded with the earth collection. This leads me to the next step of the project. The documentation of the bureaucratic process of sending a box of earth (territory) to Ecuador.
Diane Wong, Elizabeth Davis, Tamara Harkness, Chaeyeon Park, Sarah Piché.