369 Studios is an art collaborative started by Nelson Fernando Figallo and Gisel Florez. The project began as measure of the possibilities within the creative process. One of their main manifesto entries engages art not only as means of expression, but also as a way of life. They live and work out of Brooklyn,
While on a road trip through the States someone captured me with my arms out taking the scenery in, absorbing it. I had pulled over for a view of the desert somewhere in Arizona. It seemed like the type of American landscape that one only sees in movies or imagines through books. I felt overwhelmed and wanted to capture with all of my senses, even taste it. I was unaware of the photo that was being taken. I did not know until it was sent to me months later. Back then one had to wait at least one hour for developing. In fact, after waiting, one got what one got, that was that, and one was okay with that… Though just a few years ago, the culture of showing the photo just moments after taking it did not exist. Also the image being posted, tagged, grouped, labeled and captioned was not even a twinkle of a thought. The image is still with me. I can remember pulling over and taking it all in, just for a second. Then the image, the smell, the feeling is gone. The photograph remains. I can hold it in my hand and pass it around.
The travelling does continue. Since then there have been many other landscapes from which to take a sensory photograph. That image became the catalyst for the project at hand of documenting each of these moments. There are a few conditions for each snapshot. For one, the place should not be crowded. The moment cannot be self-conscious at all. The moment has to feel truthful and pure. Like it was mentioned earlier, the taste of the landscape has to be present. This allows one to close one’s eyes, open them, breathe, surrender, explore, resign. Some of these portraits cannot be told through the documentation. What is witnessed is not interrupted. However, the document or photograph has a person, me, in front of it. The Idea is to make the landscape real, to explain that someone was present, living. Each viewer gets to experience something different. Each person is to define the moment with his or her own words, dreams, baggage, etc.
This has become an intense collaboration. The pick of an image to be witnessed, taken in, inhaled, requires an eye for the document itself. Even with sight or suggestions, there still needs to be someone behind the camera. A loss of control is thus replaced with a certain sense of trust. Sometimes the distance is such that there should not be screaming of Ideas back and forth; minutia could take away from the moment itself, the submission. The topography is taken in as a metaphor is created, a mental sketch to be shared. This is somewhat of an understanding, a contract. It is as wonderful as the adventure, playing music, running, cooking, and other artistic pursuits that we accomplish together.
So far there is only a working title for this book of images: Dreambook. Not sure if this title will stick. The word ‘dream’ can lead the witness, so to speak. Yet the notion of having all of these perceptions in a book is somewhat of a dream.Exists a fear of commitment to a title. For now, Dreambook is the name of the folder where we are collecting these stills. Naming something this significant is bound to be tricky. Dream? Whose ‘dream’? What is the ‘dream’? Is the landscape the dream? Is the book the dream? Perhaps we cannot control that anymore than we can control what people experience when they survey these landscapes. The mere number of images is bound to be overwhelming enough. It is overwhelming for us. We are doing the legwork, we are collecting the photographs, and we would like to share them. From New York to Alaska, San Francisco to Denver, all the places in between and abroad, if there is a spot it is taken, snapped. A sensory depiction is stolen and the moment documented.
Here are a few of these images from our latest, tangential journey. These are picks from our travels to Lima from Santiago.
More of these captures can be found at giselflorez.com and nelsonfernandofigallo.com