Installation View

Martin Weber

Martin Weber


November 1- December 21, 2004

Latin America is a land of contradictions and broken dreams, a place where countries are being rebuilt, again and again almost every 10 years. External interference on national affairs along with internal corruption has written the history of Latin America over time. Freedom of speech and civil rights are not taken for granted nor are they fully exercised, for the memory of many people that were tortured and killed for having different ideas is still fresh in our minds.

This work, begun in 1992, arose out of the need to explore the field of human dreams, to return to the daily ritual of desires, contrasting our real situation with an ideal one. I want to engage that moment when we imagine our lives transformed by a desire fulfilled, with a new situation, even a new identity. I invite people to write on a chalkboard their desires and aspirations, in this way including their own perspective through their dreams. By participating in their own portrayal, they reveal themselves in their own language, retaining power over how they are represented and retaining authority over their claims. Dreams are real. They exist. My aim is to externalize what is internal by photographing it. This is a bridge that leads the people in these images to reveal themselves and to retain some power over how they are represented. Now is a crucial time to represent what is being left unattended: the evolution of another crisis in Latin America. The middle class is being pushed into poverty by rising unemployment, and campesinos are being forced again to migrate into the cities, moving from poverty into misery. The concentration of wealth is growing and the gap between the poor and the rich is being stretched. The conditions that create the pattern of cycles involving social fragmentation, political violence, and instability are rising. I want to challenge the view of a static inevitable poverty and sudden seemingly capricious violence. There is a middle ground, which is ignored: struggling individuals seeking a better future in peace, trying to overcome not poverty but impoverishment. By being able to imagine it first, and then express it, we can exercise our right to self-determination, to bring out that power from the individuals to lead our nations, as a way to transcend our condition and overcome our history and actual situation. Dreams are not commodities, countries and continents are not means of trade, and the histories of our communities need to be represented. Our destiny may only be changed if we allow ourselves to imagine a destiny different from that which we were given. – Martín Weber, 2004 — Born in Chile and raised in Argentina, photographer Martín Weber currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. He studied at the University of Buenos Aires and the International Center for Photography in NYC. A 1998 Guggenheim fellowship recipient, Weber has also been awarded two Hasselblad Foundation grants and a prestigious National Endowment for Arts grant. He has exhibited his work in the US at venues including Lightwork’s Robert Menschel Gallery in Syracuse, NY; the International Center for Photography in NYC; The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX; the Project in NYC and LA; and abroad at the Photographer’s Gallery in London, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, the La Habana Art Biennial in Cuba, the Mois de La Photo Maison de L’Amerique in Paris, and Communa de Milano in Milan. Lightwork published A Map of Latin American Dreams in Contact Sheet issue #125. Weber was an artist-in-residence at CPW in 2003. —