Los Angeles-based, Barcelona-born artist Adrià Julià is known for his multi-media installations and performances that investigate the interdependence of individuals vis-a-vis their physical and social surroundings as they negotiate concepts of memory, resistance, displacement, survival and erosion. Central to Julià’s mapping of these historical and psychological relationships is the medium of film, as in “Notes on the Missing Oh” (2011) in which Julià explored “Inchon” (1981), the lost and forgotten failed South Korean/Hollywood blockbuster starring Laurence Olivier and Ben Gazzara from various angles creating objects and projections that looked at issues ranging from the film’s political roots in the Korean War to its reemergence on YouTube. Over the past three months Julià has been working as an artist-in-resident at 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica where he has created a new body of work that extends such interests. On the occasion of “Cat on the Shoulder,” Julià’s upcoming exhibition at 18th Street Art Center, Yael Lipschutz sat down with him.
Yael Lipschutz: I see a meditation between the human body and the camera as a conceptual anchor driving this work, from your reference to Aaton’s 1970s so-called “Like a Cat on the Shoulder” 16mm camera advertisement, which was meant to ergonomically sit comfortably on the cameraman’s shoulder, to your quasi-anatomical camera drawings. What concerns would you say are fueling you in this new body of work “Cat on the Shoulder?”
Adrià Julià: I began with a close consideration of the production of moving images from the point of view of the camera itself – its weight, mechanisms, ergonomics – and how it affects the body charged with its operation. We speak often of the images themselves – as two- or three-dimensional – but in this case, I was concerned primarily with the acts responsible for their being made. This is not only the decision to press the ‘record’ button, but also how the very gestures of holding, rotating, moving and so on participates in and dictates that production. Also, I was curious to explore types of images that are generated to understand that close relationship between camera and body. To take one example: magnetic-resonance imaging or x-rays produced by doctors in order to decipher damage caused by the repetitive use of a camera.