Genesis Báez is an artist from Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in both New England and Puerto Rico. Her work utilizes photography, video, and performance to explore place, history, and our relationship to it. She received a BFA with honors form the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2012 where she studied photography and it’s history. She is the recent recipient of the Civil Society Fellowship, a winner of 2015’s Latin American Fotografía 4, and has participated in numerous exhibitions and publications. Báez has balanced her time between making work, educating, and curating. Currently, she is traveling through North America, Europe, and Puerto Rico.
The images in the body of work Reclamation were once photographs of Puerto Rican landscapes made with film between 2010 and 2014. After giving life to this film by developing it, I returned to Puerto Rico and buried the film, for varying amounts of time, where the image was originally made. After a week or sometimes a year, the film was dug back up. With time, these images transformed in unexpected ways, as do memories and our perception of place. Reclamation is a body of work that explores the malleability of memory, using erasure as a mark-making tool. The images explore the possibilities of film’s surface as a material, while subverting traditional modes of representation.
Puerto Rico’s photographic history is largely informed by it’s colonial history and relationship with the United States. Often, landscape photographs were made to catalogue newly acquired territory, document changes in the landscape inflicted by rapid industrialization, and to justify US power over the land. The work in Reclamation is a gesture towards challenging these traditional modes of representation which were often used to perpetuate power. In turn, these transformed, horizonless landscapes offer new possibilities rooted in endurance.