You Are Here
In this era of globalization, of ease of travel and of the blurring of cultural lines, have people become translatable? What is the remaining effect of where you are on who you are? If you bridge places and cultures, what will shine through, people's common humanity or stark differences based on locales?

The "You Are Here Te Encuentras Aqui" project is an effort to examine this question. My chosen methodology is to interpose physical reality twice. First, I take a photograph of local people posing within their own environment in one part of the world. I then blow up that photograph into a life-size banner, cut out the faces of the subjects, and take it to another part of the world. There, I ask locals to pose by placing their faces in the cut outs. I then capture this interaction of the locals with the interposed foreign setting in the context of their own time and place by photographing the entire scene. This photograph is then blown up to life size for exhibition, so as to confront the viewer with two different realities in the context of his or her distinct third reality. Also the original cut out banners used in the photos are used as part of the installation.

Interposing one setting onto another serves, on the one hand, to highlight the dislocation and displacement caused by the intermingling of cultures. A young woman in the main square of Lima, Peru, for example, can barely reach the cutout face of the much larger American woman standing in front of the Brooklyn Bridge. She clearly does not fit into that reality, but she strains to do so, for the desire to belong to the global community drives people to bridge their gaps. Conversely, the confluence of settings in this project sometimes illuminates the inherently uniting factor of humanity, which transcends geographical boundaries. That is perhaps most evident in the image of the young girls scouts on a sweltering street in Tel-Aviv seamlessly melding into the bundled up children playing in the snow in New York.

Is it such a small world, after all?

Ana De Orbegoso