Fine Art Photography Daily

The CENTER Awards: Excellence in Multimedia Award Winner: Ana Cristina Vallejo

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©Ana Cristina Vallejo, Ruminations, from Neuromantic

Congratulations to Ana Cristina Vallejo for her win in the CENTER Excellence in Multimedia Award for her project, Neuromantic. The Excellence in Multimedia Award recognizes storytellers using lens-based media to create narrative-driven projects. The award is open, but not limited to, photography, video, new media, photojournalism, installation, and web-based works. Winners receive an opportunity to be part of the Winners Exhibition at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, complimentary participation in Review Santa Fe, and an Online exhibition at VisitCenter.org.

Juror Cosima Amelang – Senior Producer, Mobile Storytelling, National Geographic Partners, shares her insights:

As I reviewed the submissions for the CENTER Multimedia Award, I was struck by the many innovative ways artists are using multimedia to put us in conversation with the past. This year’s projects draw on a wide range of techniques—from photopolymer gravures to A.I. renderings, gelatin emulsion on fabric to video installations—as they explore layers of experience across time and geographies. Used with intention, these tools help artists knit stories together from fragments, capturing elusive memories and interrogating urgent social issues.

 This year’s winner, Ana Cristina Vallejo, shared work that is intensely personal but resonates on a much larger scale. Her project, Neuromantic, is an investigation into the need for meaningful human connection in the wake of trauma. At a time of isolation during quarantine, Vallejo turned inward to examine addiction and anxieties in intimate relationships. Her vibrant photo collages question the boundary between the self and others, stirring up the human impulse to touch at the same time as they communicate distance. The work also takes the shape of a web experience, combining stills with annotated excerpts from academic journals to create a visual diary of her research. And as her project continues to evolve, Vallejo looks to the web as a space for building relationships and interacting with her audience. She envisions an interactive archive of anecdotes collected from public surveys, making the experience as much of a two-way exchange as a meticulous self-analysis.

 

 

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©Portrait of Anna Cristina Vallejo

I am a conceptual documentary photographer from Colombia based in New York. I have a background in biology and I am fascinated with the brain, human consciousness, and its ability to expand and transform. My projects are research-based and experimental. They invite chance, error, and collaboration to delve into human perception, memory, and emotions. I am interested in marginal spaces, that which resides outside of the status quo and is often excluded by society and defined by a rigid stigma. Growing up with a schizophrenic father, in an anxious family system and in a country that has normalized war and violence, I am drawn to how trauma affects our emotions, mental health, and relationships. I am fascinated by the potential that art and social bonds offer to heal and transcend.

 I graduated from the New Media Narratives program at the International Center of Photography in NYC as a recipient of the Mary Ellen Mark Memorial Scholarship and a Director’s Fellowship. Currently, I’m a contributing editor for Fotodemic, an X-Photographer for Fujifilm Colombia, and a member of Native Photograph, Authority Collective, and Women Photograph.

 My work has been exhibited in Colombia, New York, Los Angeles, Germany, India, Italy, and Malaysia. I have been published in Vice, Architectural Review, LensCulture, and PHmuseum. Most recently, I was selected for the 2020 Addis Foto Fest in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; the Currents New Media Festival 2021 in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and the Foam Talent Call 2021.

You can find her on Instagram at @anacvallejo.

Denounce I made on April 2019 about a sexual assault on  March 22 2013

©Ana Cristina Vellejo, from Neuromantic

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My name is Ana and I am a love addict. All my life, I have been consumed by anxiety and trapped in a loop of rejecting the partners who want me and obsessing over the ones who don’t. It’s been painful and exhausting. In march 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic severely hit NY and I was suddenly trapped in my apartment with my fears and anxieties. This ignited a process of looking inward and creating a visual language to cope with my extreme emotions. My apartment became the stage where I resignify traumatic experiences and the collages, and portraits of my friends and lovers mirrors to my emotional world.

 I exhaustively researched neuro scientific and psychological journals to understand the origins of my emotional dependency. I found connections between trauma, emotional abuse, emotion regulation, and addictions and learned how these factors affect our attachment styles and intimacy. (link to project website: https://readymag.com/u632244703/science/)

 Humans need meaningful social bonds in order to survive. Some of us developed coping mechanisms where we learned to suppress our emotional needs (avoidant) or over activate them (anxious). Anxious and avoidant individuals attract and clash at the same time, enhancing they’re insecurities when conflict arises. In 2020 I launched a survey where I asked people to describe how their emotions around romantic love felt. (Link to curated answers from 100+ participants: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RusfAcMVsv4t3uMYJZ5LxRslHyY-rZrU7KaNhRcV2c8/edit

 I’m currently collaborating on a second survey with data scientist Andrew Hill (link to the pilot surveys: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1M97pNeuQHdDG0XGYk1TirAg8KfG0vopc). We are planning to map the data collected into an interactive archive of anecdotes and experiences around intimate romantic relationships. The data will be mapped out according to an attachment style assessment that we do in the survey. The survey will provide an anonymous and safe space of expression for the participants. Likewise, it will bring insight to the public by showing collective emotional patterns and our intricate differences.

 Through this interdisciplinary scrutinization of relationships, Neuromantic delves into romance to ultimately highlight why healthy relationships are essential for our well being.

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©Ana Cristina Vellejo, from Neuromantic

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©Ana Cristina Vellejo, Longing for the Embrace, from Neuromantic

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©Ana Cristina Vellejo, Unfillable Void, from Neuromantic

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©Ana Cristina Vellejo, from Neuromantic

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©Ana Cristina Vellejo, from Neuromantic

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