Cuban Analogs: Photography by Juan Carlos Alom
Juan Carlos Alom was born in Cuba in 1964 and resides between Havana and New York City. He is a filmmaker and photographer who has exhibited throughout Cuba, North and South America, Europe, and South Africa. Starting his career as a photojournalist in 1990s Cuba, Juan Carlos Alom developed an artistic vision that was informed by the need for spontaneity demanded by that period of crisis. Among the films that Alom has directed are Una Harley recorre la Habana (1998, A Harley Travels Around Havana), Habana Solo (2000), Evidencia (2001), Iroko (2004), Diario (2009), and No Limits (2013). Exhibits this year include Without Masks: Contemporary Afro-Cuban Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, Cuba, and Los elementos (a solo show) at Punctum Gallery in Mexico City. He is currently working on several collaborative projects including the film Finotype with UConn professor Jacqueline Loss.
Sponsored by: School of Fine Arts; Robert H. Gray Memorial Lecture; Greenhouse Studios; Literatures, Cultures & Languages; El Instituto: Plank Lecture Series; Humanities Institute; Global Affairs; Dodd Center; Human Rights Institute; Connecting with the Arts; and Center for the Study of Popular Music.
Tues, Oct 17, 5:30 pm
prior to Auryn Quartet at 7:30 pm
Oct 17 - Dec 10, 2017
Mon - Fri, 10 am - 4 pm, and prior to most performances
Robert H. Gray Memorial Lecture - CUBAN ANALOGSThurs, Oct 26, 5:00 pm
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts
2132 Hillside Road
On the UConn campus in storrs, CT
My camera is the compass that guides me, and I am grateful to it. Wherever I reside, I deliver myself to its light and shadows and to those details that, however minimal they may seem, make me tremble. I turn them into images, whether still or moving, and in so doing, I reveal my spirit.
I had hardly begun working as a photojournalist when the scarcity brought about by the Soviet Union's collapse obliged me to experiment, shaping my artistic vision into one that is driven by precariousness, spontaneity, and the necessity to focus on distinct themes such as Afro-Cuban religion, youth, and longitude. Even more than those isolated themes, my idiosyncrasy, as both a filmmaker and photographer, entails the quest to document the impossible. For instance, in Habana solo, I begged to concretize the most intimate musical expression through my cinematographic images and to convert the city's noises into music, but my persisten dissatisfation with concretizing the impossible led to my photographic series entitled Dressing Room where photographs of musicians in "private" attempt to peak into the depths of their individual expression. That said, the intersections of the hermetic and the social are always palpable in my work. As Cuba grapples with an aging demographic, the series, Born to Be Free, uncovers a ritual in the life of elderly islanders who submerge themselves underwater with the expectation of renewal and joy.
One of my favorite mediums is 16mm film. On the one hand, it slows down the creative process, and on the other, it allows for the sorts of surprises and accidents that are at the core of my expression, even when I'm not working with that "anachronistic folly." In my most recent work in documentary with digital cameras, I rely on what the analogue and 16mm cameras continuously teach me about the value of adjusting the velocity of one's creation in order to see the world through a different prism.
I am committed to artistic liberty, and refuse to be restrained by medium or a set of preordained topics. I dream about forging a career that aspires to resemble a Thelonious Monk composition, with dissonance, twists, and endless risk-taking.