María de la O Garrido

What’s your background?

I am from Linares, Andalucía in the south of Spain. I first studied traditional photography in Granada before doing a Fine Arts Degree in Valencia's Polytechnic University. During my degree I had the chance to move to study in Middlesex University in London with an Erasmus scholarship and to do the last year of my degree with a Promoe Scholarship in Guadalajara, Mexico. I still have a recurrent dream where I am back in Mexico, and I would really like to do a residency or work there for a while. But I ended up with the feeling that I could get much more from London and wanted to move back to improve my english as I was determinate to do a MA in Photography, Practices and Philosophies at Central Saint Martins. The reason why I choose this MA was my tutor at the time Daniel Rubinstein and his approach to a new kind of Photography. This is also an important point in my practice because I started to see my work and ideas with a more critical thinking approach. This helped me a lot to understand much better what I do and why I do it.

What influences you artistically?

I find this question difficult to answer as there is a lot of different things that influences me artistically. I am a bit mad about collage as an overall technique and understand that pretty much everything can be understood as such, not only visual collages with images but also ideas. The rhizomatic process where everything is connected. So it makes sense to say that artistic movements like Dada, Fluxus and the International Situationists for instance have had a strong importance for me. Names such as Hannah-hoch, Yoko Ono and Guy Debord are still so pertinent.

There are many artists and photographers that I like, to name a few: Carmen Winant, Camille Henrot and Sara Cwynar. Archives, old photography and books, specially from 60´s and 70´s are an important resource in my practice.

I am surrounded by musicians in my life so it’s not surprise that this also influences me and ended up doing collaborations and finding the sound design extremely important in my videos. I work mostly with my partner Daniel McCarthy but have worked also with music bands and friends such as Ghost Car or members from Pleasure Complex. And big artists like Kae Tempest inspires me so deeply that makes me rethink about my work after being very touched by their practice.

I watch a lot of cinema too. I also read, or try to, a lot. Lately quite a lot of Latin-American and Spanish narrative. But funnily enough something that really influences me is what isn’t working well around me (or you). Which unfortunately it’s a lot! What I try to do is to use my reflexion about a problematic topic or current affair and recycle it within my practice. I call this to do the twist, like while you cook a spanish omelette and it’s a sort of resistance. “If life gives you lemons, make juice” well, I am up for juicing in my work a lot.

How do you start a new work?

I think the influence of my early studies in Photography really resonates when starting a new work. What I mean is that I normally start with an image. Something more or less specific that some how helps me to illustrate the ideas I am working on. Sometimes I produce this image my self by taking a photograph or a new series and other times I am seduced by archival material and that’s where the starting point is.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a new video work titled Obsolescing for (the new) you, along with friend and curator Guillermo Moreno Mirallas. The video explores the effects of technological obsolescence on urban life and personal technology use. Employing humour, outdated technological objects like printers and computers are brought to life with human attributes and placed in urban settings, symbolising the persistence of obsolescence in our daily lives. I am playing with old footage too and having so much fun playing around with rituals and technology during the filming. This proposal not only depicts obsolescence but also offers insight into rapid technological evolution and its effect on our world perception.