Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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Conversation between Agustina Woodgate and Olivia Ramos.
No Rain, No Rainbows,
Stuffed animal toy skins,
16 ft x 9.5 ft, 2011
RAMOS: hi Agustina
thank you for joining me
WOODGATE: Hello Olivia, Happy Sunday ☺
happy Sunday to you
Where are you?
In Buenos Aires
I am in Miami
What are you up to in BA?
I am producing an exhibition that opens in march
so I have 6 weeks left of intense work
what is the exhibition about?
I am looking into the relationship between capital and water, in Spanish they both share the same word: Caudales. in English: Flow
is there a shortage of water there?
There is a shortage of drinking water, but the land is suffering tremendous floods. Here is no difference than there
For this exhibition I am focusing on movement as I always tend to do...
Perpetual motion has been my inspiration and hypnosis has been a great tool
the movement of wanter through the city?
yes. the water infrastructure or the city but also the movement of water through our bodies
i love that
i bet there are a lot of similarities
or at least there should be
does it rain a lot in Buenos Aires? or are the floods coming from below?
from rain, but the floods are a consequence of the poor drainage system and the unmeasured growth of the city
Also, the gallery where I will be exhibiting is two blocks away from El Riachuelo, the 7th most contaminated river in the world
what is it contaminated with?
The Matanza River or El Riachuelo receives large amounts of industrial waste from the numerous factories along the river, especially tanneries. Among the most dangerous contaminants are heavy metals and waste water from the basin's saturated layers.
they have also found taxi cars inside of it, sunken boats and even bodies
it makes me sad how as a whole, we don't consider nature a living organism
and if we do, we don't respect it
there is an abundance of water and it has been ruined and consequently there is a shortage of water to drink
exactly. So my intention for the exhibition is to revert this situation
In the next few weeks I will be designing a water bar
a commercial space for people to go and drink wanter?
as a luxury good?
will the water be very expensive?
it will be free
i think if it was very expensive it would prove a point
so expensive that only the rich would be able to drink it
that's what's going to happen
I am still conceptualizing where will the water come from....
I think this is important too.
right ... it must be imported since the city ruined it's supply
and served in tiny glasses because it's so rare and exotic ...
i feel like the whole narrative must be as ridiculous as the situation
Ridiculous is right
I am also thinking about drinking water fountains, as the ones found on trails and in parks
Designing water fountains could be very fun too.
as long as they are too expensive to use
so expensive you don't even have to connect them
in 1887 the constructions of 4 mayor water tanks began, the building was called Aguas Argentinas and every single brick and screw was brought from England.
This was when Buenos Aires was being designed and a water system was necesary
look at this map
Argentina is in medium to high water stress
The construction of the building lasted 7 years, but within 20 years these 4 massive tanks where not enough to provide water for the city.
how about today?
what percentage of the city can they support?
today those tanks are abandoned and filled with archives!!!!
they are empty
well how about reusing them to store and process rainwater?
the tanks are housed inside that incredible building. look at its design!
it's like a water palace
It is called El Palacio de las Corrientes
there you go
they have built 4 other plants and major constructions are ongoing to continue expansion
Tomorrow I am going to the Library and archives of this palace to look at all the blue prints.
must be fascinating - an architecture for water
I am trying to find the molds of those highly designed British bricks to incorporate on my design
that makes sense
so are you building the water bar?
within an existing space?
or ground up?
i am thinking in the style of drinking water fountains
i am very much in process, so anything could change......
yes within an existing space
(inside the gallery)
let me change the subject for a minute
because i originally wanted to inquire about your new business venture - is that on hold?
Stuffed animal toy skins,
18 ft x 11 ft, 2013
oh not at all.
Its as serious as it has never been before
tell me about it a bit
In 2010 I began designing rugs out of discarded teddy bear pelts.
What started with one "art work" quickly became a Rug Collection and this year I am taking into its next level. A rug Company
i love it - i love the rugs - i never thought of "rug innovation" nor that it was possible
but these are so beautiful and humorous and happy
I like calling them animal skin rugs
Its from there that the innovation comes from
so is there a website or how does one go about interacting with this company?
At the moment they can be found on my own website and I am using the art market to commercialize them.
A website for them is on the way and its commercialization is still being discuss with various business advisors
although at such high luxury design art and rugs make no difference at all
what do you mean? what makes no difference?
both luxury items and its presence in the market
i'm not sure i understand
luxury item = expensive
i'm not sure why i am so confused.... please explain
you asked about the publics interaction with the company
and at this time it is through the art market
so they are sold as art pieces
mmm. not really.
they are still sold as rugs
and people are actually using them as such
so then the art market has expanded to household goods?
would that be entering the design market?
But now I am focusing on production. Organize the production in a way that can continue without me
and this is what I was insinuating before. No difference between art and rugs
the art market has expanded into household goods and vice versa too
yes that is true
so is the factory going to be in Miami or Buenos Aires?
This is when it gets so interesting
My raw material are used stuffed animals toys and USA has so much so much of them
here (Buenos Aires), they are almost hard to find, there are not so many second hand stores or thrift-stores to begin with and definitely not selling used teddy bears
that's is an interesting cultural truth
and on the business side, since it is a luxury item, I imagine there is no need to do a cost analysis - the return on investment is pretty straight forward
shifting the open polar bear skin on that fancy living room by one of this rugs is the goal
this is why I call them animal skin rugs
well that's a bit of false advertising ---- is it...?
i don't know "stuffed" is a big descriptor
these are also animal skin. I am not using them stuffed at all
I am only using their skins
i know i get it
stuffed animal skin rugs
I see no difference in the relationship I had with my teddy bear,
Pepe. He was as alive as a real one to me
yes i agree it is equally as cruel
much less bloody
which makes it acceptable to have a bunch of cut open animals spread out in the studio
but still - live spirits are being made into commodities
there are so many people that see horror and cruelty in the process yet they are wearing incredible leather or reptile skin shoes
Pelt coats have been on discussion too....