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INTERVIEW: Woven Wires

Woven Wires is a collaboration between Vanessa Dion Fletcher and Pearl Marie Salas.

Where are you visiting St. John's from?

V: Toronto Ontario

P: Denver, Colorado

When you're not making art, what are three things you might be found doing?

V: Riding my bike. Spending time with friends and family,

P: Attending local music events, catching up any overly dramatic tv shows (guilty pleasure), and playing with with my dog Michelle!

Do you have any secret talents?

V: No, to Use most of my talents and my performance art so there not secrets for long.

P: Great cook of authentic southwestern united states style food, I can sing fairly well...I'd kill at karaoke if I was ever brave enough (I'm not, shower singer forever), and I can make a great music playlist for anybody or occasion, just give me a theme!

If you could choose any artist to collaborate on a project with - alive or dead - who would you choose?

V: I would choose Pearl Maria Salas, she is incredibly smart generous, a great problem solver, and a strong woman who brings all of herself to her work.

P: James Luna

What are you looking forward to most about visiting St. John's and participating in HOLD FAST festival?

V: I visited St. John’s one’s child on a family vacation, I’m looking forward to returning as an adult to be able to share my art work and find out what is important, relevant and interesting to the people of St. John’s

P: Mostly just meeting a lot of new people, and enjoying a place in the world I never thought I'd see!

Could you describe your creative practice in 50 words or less?

P: As an indigenous woman of Mexican, Yaqui, and Navajo ancestry, my work plays off this unique cultural mix to interrogate how the modern world relates to notions of past, present, and future selves. I take many of the indigenous concepts, teachings, and stories I have learned throughout my life, and find ways to insert them into an audio and visual realm while still maintaining a balance between sacred storytelling, and the personal stories of others and myself.

How did your collaboration start?

V: Our collaboration started as to the only native students in the graduate program at the school of the Art Institute Chicago we found each other on the first day among hundreds of other students and began navigating a new City and our education together. In our first semester, we were in the same art history survey class together. We were studying artists manifestoes and one of our assignments was to write our own manifesto. Pearl and I decided to work together because the manifestos we were most interested in had been written by collectives rather than individuals. We wanted to bring that sense of collective into our writing. We didn’t make any work together after that until we had graduated. At that point in our art practices, we were able to return to the manifesto is a document that describes shared trajectory and values. We used the manifesto as a starting point for our collaboration drawing on work we had previously made individually we began to shape it as a collaborative work.

P: Well, we both realized that we were the only indigenous people in our graduate class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. At first we were friends, and then we realized that our work spoke to each other, and that collaboration would be something interesting.

How do your individual practices relate to or differ from your collaborative work?

V: I think we both bring our individual practices into our collaborative work at least I draw very strongly on movements, actions, and themes from my individual work. The advantage of collaborating with Pearl is that I have a pear and colleague to develop the work along side of. Choices and decisions get made collectively from both our perspectives. There is another vantage point to consider and remember. There is a lot of similarities in our experiences as Indigenous woman but we also come from very different Nations and have different teachings and aesthetics to think about.

P: I'd say that my individual practice, is slightly more focused on my own experiences in life, and my own interpretation through my specific cultural lenses. Our collaborative work speaks to a larger idea, that relates to others peoples and their struggles and experiences, not just an introspective gaze.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your HOLD FAST project?

V: One of the things I love about Woven Wires is the way that both visual and spoken language gets layered. We test and play with comprehension, understanding, and recording.

P: I've like to think of Woven Wires as a new form of digital storytelling that transfers a "feeling" as opposed to information.

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