Venezuela; Tunnelling Power
Scarcity is without doubt the new face of Venezuela as 78% of the nation struggles to find food and other resources that are necessary for leading a life with dignity. The Tunneling Effect occurs as a consequence of this horrific injustice, as the affected persons lack the energy to challenge the injustices or the ambition to change their lives. The objects of desire become a priority, while everything else matters less than having what they want, regardless of how insignificant and trivial that object is.
Venezuela: Tunneling Power is an audio-visual project created with the aim to ignite a debate about how starvation and suppression have become so common and powerful, that people grew accustomed to it. This story is told through a short documentary film that contains interviews with that affected by food scarcity and two sets of photographs.
The first set of photos visualizes the tunneling effect, an absent companion that I and the others portrayed face each day. I asked Venezuelan expatriates to reflect on how the crisis in their home country affects them and the result of the interviews is the set of digitally manipulated images that visualize their answers. These images reveal the effect scarcity has on the Venezuelan expatriates like me through a carefully chosen combination of photographs. The second set of photos depicts the non-essential objects because I discovered through the interviews that each aid box sent to Venezuela contains a luxury item that serves as a much-needed distraction and escape from the dreadful reality of the crisis. In contrast to the portraits, the photos of ‘distraction’ objects are realistic in their nature, just like the struggle they help alleviate. In a way, they are examples of how the tunneling effect locks our attention to the items we want but cannot have.
The purpose of documenting these stories is to raise awareness about the consequences of food control and to draw attention to questions surrounding this persistent problem. Venezuela: Tunneling Power is presented as a holistic installation that contains images, sounds, and multimedia and it aims to explore how a viewer experiences a narrow field of vision. The narrowness of the visual field is simulated by placing the images into a tunnel through which a spectator passes while interacting with the artwork. With this project, I hope to draw the attention of the international community to the emotional effects tunneling.