Aldo Cervantes

This ongoing project explores ideas of family, memory, self-identity, and the meaning of connection by recontextualizing traces of interpersonal relationships through my family’s archive. It emphasizes natural behavior, like a physical projection of affection in Wedding Gestures, where we see a setting and the materiality surrounding it. My father’s hand resting on my mother's shoulder, the jewelry hanging from her neck, the smile for the picture, and the glass of champagne on the table. All of these objects and gestures combined to compose a memory captured to remember it forever. I continue to study objects that used to be part of a memorable event in Dad's Leather Jacket. Here I look into ideas on ephemerality, tangible traces, and the memory attached to them. I ponder on the memories made with it during my parent's early adulthood and their developing relationship. As I appropriate and document this piece of clothing, I would put myself in a position where I would try to understand the memories that I don’t own and wonder if I would someday become another version of my father at a point in my life.

By studying the physical archive it created a juxtaposition between former lens-based formats and displays, specifically from the nineties and early two-thousands, with memory and relationships. These type of devices, like tape camcorders and analog monitors, have become obsolete. Electronic devices are transitory, fragile, and maybe repairable. I began to go through my family’s home videos and think about the memories captured with our mini DV camcorder. I noticed how the quality of the image can become very grainy and blurry due to the use and deterioration of these formats, just like our memories. We are in a constant state of creating memories and forgetting them. Ultimately they become abstract. We have an idea of what happened, but our mind doesn’t provide an exact recapitulation.

As I studied the physicality of connection I kept observing how ideologies and individuality can influence the nature of our relationships. In Roadside Memorial, there is a reflection of the physical projection created by the loss of a loved one. The religious symbolism and iconography are carefully placed at the site of the tragic event which then transforms it into a sacred space influenced by customs that become part of the landscape. As I documented these gestures I wanted to study the religious influences that come from my family history since I am still experiencing complicated feelings towards religion. Later, I became aware that there are many of them. My mother's name, objects kept in storage like her personal bible, my baptism memorabilia, and so on.

Untitled, 2020

Dad's Leather Jacket, 2020

Dad's Leather Jacket (Self Portrait), 2020

Wedding Gestures, 2020

Wedding Gestures (Glass), 2020

Birthday Cake, 2020

Untitled, 2020

Untitled, 2021

Untitled, 2021

Prom, 2020

Home Beginnings (You & Me), 2020

Mattresses & Home Appliance, 2020

Roadside Memorial No. 2, 2020

Roadside Memorial, 2020

Untitled, 2020

Untitled, 2021

Window Curtain (Self Portrait), 2021

My deepest gratitude for the mentorship of my Professors Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Brian Cross and fellow undergraduates.