STOPPING PLACES ARTIST STATEMENT

The current series of self-portraits began in 2007 at the legendary Hotel Chelsea. I was extremely excited to be staying at such a historical landmark in New York City where numerous artists, writers and musicians had also stayed. Through the last several decades, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Iggy Pop, Allen Ginsberg, Diego Rivera, William De Kooning, Robert Crumb and Henri Cartier-Bresson stayed at this hotel. Upon reviewing the images I had made at the Chelsea I began to think about the act of paying money to stay in a room where many other people have also stayed before me, and where many would stay after me. In short, the ongoing series of self-portraiture began in the Chelsea. The images were all taken with a point and shoot Leica camera using the self-timer feature set at ten seconds to allow me to position myself in the composition. The camera was either placed on a tabletop or other flat surface available in the room, or on a miniature tripod.

Films I have created like "Casa del Migrante" and "Red: Casas del Migrante Scalabrinis" are also about stopping places, but a different kind. The short films demonstrate places where people who are migrating can stop to rest while traveling north in search of a better quality of life. Many will never be able to return home due to undocumented status.

Stopping Places brings attention to the privilege of being able to travel and return to the comfort of one’s own bed. The images are about the spaces and places we pay to inhabit temporarily, and the privilege to be able to afford it. There are many people in the world who cannot travel due to unusual circumstances in their lives, or simply because they do not have the money to do so. Being able to travel and then return home is a privilege.

Over the past several years I have spent a significant amount of time interviewing and documenting other peoples’ lives and experiences. Self-portraiture allows me to reflect on my own life at particular moments in time. Though Stopping Places is intended to be an ongoing series, I am aware that there may be gaps in the series due to circumstances in my own life that will keep me from being able to travel.

Marcela Morán
2012

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