Julia Masvernat could easily be portrayed in a time travelling movie.
She’s got an antique beauty, as if she got out of a classic 50s film or so. But she could be someone from Zarist Russia. She seems ageless, a woman and a girl living in the same body. She seems to be someone from far away who knows something that we don’t. And maybe she is that person, so I want to know what she knows.
“What I like to do is take one thing and turn it into another, with few resources, like a transformation action. The idea is to put all of this in context: the city, the country, what is going on around us”, Julia tells me.
Julia is a visual artist and she likes to teach and spread her art socially. She’s now working for a Non Governmental Organization teaching kids from a poor neighbourhood, for example. That’s one of the things that make her happy.
She’s an artist and graphic designer, so she merges both disciplines into net art.
She also works with ancient art processes to create animated Chinese shadows, and then she translates it into modern interactive art.
Tell me about your background.
Ten years ago I started working for one of the most important argentine newspapers, and I discovered Internet, it was something wow, something from the future. I worked on design and other products. Nobody knew what the Internet was!
I always tried to integrate art and design, which has always been my goal. My access to the web allowed me to meet many people around the world working with net art. What I liked about them was they used technology but found the way to break the rules and go beyond things. Sometimes the artists get very lonely so the web is a great way to transcend each one’s little bubble.
She likes to define her art as pollination, because she comes and goes carrying things from one place to another. “What changes is the format, but my work is pretty much the same, from handcrafts to interactive stuff. I also like to play with different materials and discover their uses”.
Luckily, Julia’s an artist who has been recognized as one. She participated in the Kuitca scholarship; she won some interesting prices and also exhibited her work in many galleries. “It’s very important to be recognized, Julia says, it’s a way to keep going and working hard”.
Tell me about Terraza Red.
Terraza is the conclusion of isolated things among a group of friends; it’s a collaborative work that made us very happy, while it lasted. We were a self coordinated group. We published unedited books of young authors.
Where do you find inspiration?
In the city, because I always need to feel the connection with other people, and the circulation of things. I don’t like to be isolated from the world.
Which are the subjects that cross your work?
One of the subjects is the playful stuff, interactive or not. It’s kid of childish; kids really dig what I do. It’s all about experience and perception: colours, sounds, I like people to get inside my work and participate in it.
Do you like working with accident and the hazard?
Yes, I expect the unexpected; I wait for things I can’t control to see what happens. You don’t have the script of your life, you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow and the nicest part of working this way is you don’t know exactly what you’re heading for.
So I leave Julia with her big and small ornaments, surrounded by a self made embroidered world. A pattern that separates her from the noisy pollution of the outside and connects her to the peaceful yet unexpected giggle that comes from the inside.
Those could be sounds of centuries ago, or sounds from the future.
She’s this passage that proposes us to time travel with her, through her art and her everyday work.
Text: Gisella Lifchitz