Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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Untitled (Orchids and Boutonnieres), 2010
Watercolor, graphite, collage, and solvent transfer on paper.
30 x 22"
Ramos: This series is currently at the PAMM exhibit
is it this recent work?
Guerrier: I think there is five of them at PAMM
2010 is that recent
i am making more within the series
it is a work that considered the landscape of west coconut grove
i still pass there, so it is recent
Ramos: does the new work continue the juxtaposition of geometric constraints over landscape?
Guerrier: yes, I would geometric projection,
to imply a layering in contrast to mass, density and the image of the natural
Ramos: the contrast achieved through the orthogonal nature of the geometry... is this in reference to urban growth?
Guerrier: yes, to the urban grid as an overlay of the landscape
humans making cities, towns, village
but this series also considers west grove at a moment when there are many, many open lots where hope used to be
Ramos: Coconut Grove is the oldest neighborhood in Miami with one of the most organic growth patterns... do you see an actual grid or is this a metaphor for urban planning?
Guerrier: it is a moment of erasure of the visible structure which have held the story of a place
there is a grid in the drawings
but it is only interesting if it can hold metaphors
so yes, it references other things
it is not urban planning though
Ramos: what else does it reference?
Guerrier: i am reading the layering of lives, of families that have lived there
older Bahamian families
came here to farm
help establish a city
enveloped within the history the larger story of the US, in the terms of civil rights, segregation
and now, real estate markets have focused on the neighborhood because of the price of housing
Ramos: the neighborhood is expanding, to these areas that have been considered somewhat marginal
Guerrier: i would disagree.
i would phrase it as Coconut Grove has limited housing stock and the market no longer sees the west end only in terms poverty and crime
and that investing there is palpable
Ramos: they see it as an opportunity to expand
Ramos: and the residents there will have to move
Guerrier: because of price
at least those who rent
Ramos: because of adjacency to price
yes and those who own have a tough choice
Guerrier: but it makes harder for a younger generation to buy a home a few blocks from their parents
those who own always had the same choice in peak market, sell or ignore all the offers
but i see a lot of elderly in west grove
Ramos: sure but it's different when the properties are next in line for development
Guerrier: i don't think there is such a thing as "next in line for development"
there is just the market
it is brutally cold
Ramos: you mentioned earlier that the housing stock is limited
the east grove is completely occupied, very hard to find a place, nobody is selling, barely renting
therefore the adjacent neighborhood is next
similar to what is happening in Little Haiti, developers are buying it up
Guerrier: you see real estate is detached from narrative of people, of place
Guerrier: real estate can probably be played within a spreadsheet
Ramos: it is
the DNA comes from colonization
the DNA of real estate ... just want to clarify
Guerrier: i play video games
and i understand how to play games that are detached from lives
but i made the drawings to connect to something warmer
Ramos: what kind of games?
Guerrier: civilization, skyrim, age of empires
the games are important
because there are different mode of play
one that can be empathetic to the digital lives of NPCs
or another mode that is as cold as corporate decisions
the games a benign
it is the mode of play
the same is for business
it is the mode that characterize the decisions
Ramos: you think the financial market sees the world as non-player characters?
Guerrier: i do think financial market behaves like the world is inhabited by non-player characters
as an immigrant, i can say that the appeal of the us, is partly this idea of opportunity
Ramos: the financial industry is way removed from people
but we are talking about development which is a little more grounded
Guerrier: is it really removed?
Ramos: yes.. when you get into derivatives and subprime mortgages
Guerrier: developers mostly use borrowed monies to deal in the world
Ramos: yes that is true, what is wrong with borrowing money?
our economy is based on debt
Guerrier: what is wrong is the wrong question.
it is about how money influences
debt isn't bad by itself
this is why video games are good metaphors
Ramos: i see what you mean
i thought you were referencing the inequalities of acquiring debt
Guerrier: civilization 5 is a management game
if you have major debt you lose
but also, you are vulnerable to other players
if a player want to determine her future, debt, cultural and scientific development all need to be managed
self-determination cannot happen if one is at a major disadvantage
one will lose her voice and her abilities to move about or stay put in the world
Ramos: but debt is not a disadvantage
Guerrier: true, especially if you are not too big too fail
unmanaged and major debt is
Ramos: the US national debt has never been larger... not going to finish that one
the US is too big to fail
Guerrier: there is an argument made that US debt is being managed. It is major, but as number one economy, seems to point to that it is manageable
US can't fail
what would that mean?
Ramos: it is being managed, by the Federal Reserve
they are printing an exorbitant amount of money right now
and when inflation gets too high they will raise the interest rates
before there is another crash, I hope
Guerrier: the beauty here is that we have a sense of the management. We may not like it. Economics by default always have dissenting opinions
i come from a country that i don't know about its management
so, i am willing to take a wider view of the US economy
Ramos: so do I
i am very grateful to be here as well
Guerrier: so, West Grove's barrenness is attractive
because it points to a big grove, big Miami and big US picture
but not that big
the zoning is still single family
it's just going to be luxury single family fairly soon
just like Buena Vista
and eventually Little Haiti
Guerrier: so the title of this piece is politically connect as well
Ramos: "orchids and boutonnières"
used to run a column to send shout out to anyone who did good for black people
this was in the 1960s
so civil rights leaders
social groups who raised funds
once, the prime minister of the Bahamas` for signaling that the Bahamas is open to everyone
an overt reference to segregated beaches of the American south
i tend to project this acknowledgment of good deeds
i see west grove as being connected to a place where good deeds where done for black people
so the assault of real estate market on the neighborhood is troublesome
like we already said it is removed