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BODY WORK ORLANDO ESTRADA SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE: CRAIG SMITH KATERIE GLADDYS SERGIO VEGA
Summary of Project in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the College of Fine Arts of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts BODY WORK by Orlando Estrada May 2014 Chair: Craig Smith Major: Art Metaphysical HEaLing D-vice system ProgRam 1: Body Work "is an interactive mixed-media installation which offers the user a therapeutic cathartic experience via a regimen of sensorial exercises, parasensory stimulations and philosophical contemplation. Crafted, altered and found objects are activated through relational art methodology, inviting the user to participate in activities and situations suggestive of an alternative relationship between the human body and the formation of identity. I analyze the constructed relationships between user, object and fellow user through the discourses of queer theory and speculative realism in order to promote unexpected modes of activism and resistance." In this paper, I extend the denition of "queer" to encompass all people by focusing on the strange and mystical experience of inhabiting a human body while introducing concepts central to the philosophical movement of speculative realism. From this more articulate denition of "queer", I will describe the specic contemporary New Age practices"and elements from popular gay culture I use in my installation" Body BODY WORK 2
Work! to address issues currently affecting the LGBTQ community; drawing reference from the works of"Judith Butler, Michel Foucault and Riki Wilchins on the"social marginalization of people based upon sexual practices and gender. Through this connection of metaphysical philosophy to queer theory, I will arrive at suggested restabilizations of human identities constructed around the collective anxieties and fears surrounding mortality. *** BODY WORK 3
BODY WORK Section 1: Defining Queer and Queerness Body Work is a metaphysical healing system for use by exhibition goers to cleanse the theorized subtle energy from a carnality hidden deep within their bodies. Described by New Age sources as a universal life force, subtle energy is a Western concept similar to the Vedic notion of Prana or cosmic energy, believed to effect the bodies of living organisms, objects and the environment. 1 Upon entering and engaging with the various devices and treatments within Body Work the user assumes the role of "ill patient" in a contemporary healing ritual. This combination of the suspicion of aw and the desire for normalcy characteristic of the "ill BODY WORK 4 1 Davidson, John. Subtle Energy BODY WORK, 2014 Mixed Media Installation
patient" is at the core of what I dene as queer Rather than classify the body as queer according to the level of deviance of that person#s preferred sexual practices from a socially accepted standard of normalcy, through Body Work, I directly confront the user with their own body as a depoliticized site of self awareness. What occurs is a attening of difference and a leveling of desire. When confronted with the possibility of illness and death, the absurdity of sexuality as the key signier of identity is exposed. 2 The title Body Work is borrowed from therapeutic and personal development techniques which involve directly working with the body. Classied as alternative medicine, these techniques include manipulative therapy, breath work, and energy healing. 3 Many of these techniques focus on a balance between the mind and body with particular attention to the Chakra system. According to Vedic texts, the Chakras are energy centers of the subtle body 4 which effect the well being of our physical bodies. There are seven main Chakras which correspond to various glands located along the central upright axis of the body and are coded by the colors of the light spectrum; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Named so for the Sanskrit word for "wheel" or "turning" the Chakras rotate in direct response to stimulation by the subtle energies referred to in both holistic practices and in Body Work. If not properly cleansed and balanced, the Chakras can become blocked and the overall well being of the person compromised. 5 To suppose that there exists a system of Chakras unveried by science governing the systemic processes within our bodies, by my denition, would be BODY WORK 5 2 Wilkins, Riki. Queer Theory, Gender Theory 3 Bodywork 2009.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodywork_(alternative_medicine) (accessed April 1,2014). 4 Blavatsky, H.P. The Secret Doctrine. 5 Ibid.
to queer the entirety of the body. The rainbow is used in Body Work to reference the LGBTQ Pride Flag and connect this sequence of colors conceptually to its universal and non-gendered context within the Chakra system. Cosmic Scatography is the title of the fetishistic paper mach forms which create a boundary around the entire installation. Shaped to reference preserved human feces and painted in a gradation across the colors of the light spectrum, Cosmic Scatography is a deconstructed color study which suggests the anus as the corporeal passageway to the soul and also becomes a symbol of my expanded denition of queer. Cosmic Scatography also carries within it Freudian references to the construction of identity built upon a relationship to the anus as the center of bodily pleasure. !"Although he was gay, [philosopher and social theorist Michel] Foucault refused to identify as homosexual. He saw that kind of identication as a form of self-knowledge BODY WORK 6 COSMIC SCATOGRAPHY (Alternative Installation), 2014 Paper mach, Acrylic, Glitter
to which he did not subscribe." 6 According to Foucault#s The History of Sexuality in the times preceding the Enlightenment, society#s concerns with sex were centered upon how to enjoy it more. Sex contained no meaning beyond the act itself, whether had for pleasure or procreation. The type of sex which a person desired to have did not reveal any buried truths about an individual. 7 "Certainly, there was an awareness of sex and transgression. Things like public nudity, masturbation, lewdness, debauchery, and congress with minors were all understood to be offenses to good civil order and public morality. They were punished accordingly by the courts." 8 Post-Enlightenment, the internal structures and methods of the Catholic church began to evolve. More and more was the church inuenced by the practices of self-denial and the vows of celibacy selfimposed by Eastern monks and other ascetics. These methods of expressing spiritual devotion began to impact the way the Church viewed sex. Sex and the way in which it was had eventually moved from being the cause of a few minor transgressions to an issue central to the attainment of moral purity. 9 It was this obsessive drive towards arriving at a nebulous level of morality, implemented upon the people by the Catholic church, which has brought sexuality and gender to become the central foundations for social identity. The focus of the sexual witch hunt perpetrated by the church was not simply brought about against committed acts of deviance; the institution of the church was actively seeking out to police the desires of the mind. "The Church urged people to confess everything about their sexuality in ever more exacting detail. The more BODY WORK 7 6 Wilkins, Riki. Queer Theory, Gender Theory p.49 7 Ibid. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid.
humiliating and private and difcult to tell, the better. 10 Sex and its perceived inextricability from spiritual purity lead to a rigorous cycle of nonstop self-examination within Catholic society. 11 Sex, salvation and the after life had become complexly interwoven. The rainbow of Cosmic Scatography, in the context of the healing center, symbolically universalizes this connection between spirituality, sexual desire, identity and illness/death. !The AIDS Crisis of the 1980$s dealt a crushing blow to LGBTQ communities. With very little initial knowledge about the disease and no treatment readily available, many homosexual men in New York#s Pride scene infected with HIV desperately turned to alternative medicinal practices, such as crystal healing, to try to cure themselves of the deadly virus. Many religious organizations publicly stated that AIDS was sent to the homosexual populations by God as punishment for sexual immorality. 12 Today, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas continues to perpetuate these hateful and oppressive attitudes which link sexual practice and spiritual deance. 13 Ironically for the gay community, the most intimate physical expression of affection that can be shared with another person has now manifested within itself an inherent anxiety of contracting a life threatening disease. As stated in my denition of queer once confronted with our mortality, all other signiers of identity become devoid of meaning. In Portrait of Ross in L.A., Felix Gonzalez-Torres illustrates similar concepts as I do in Cosmic Scatography. In his piece, Gonzalez-Torres presents an allegorical portrait BODY WORK 8 10 Ibid. p.50 11 Ibid. p.50 12 Gaugnini, Nicolas. Interview with Orlando Estrada. 13 Westboro Baptist Church Home Page.
of his HIV infected partner, Ross, as 175 pounds of individually wrapped rainbow colored candies piled in a corner on the gallery oor. Referencing the Christian Eucharist, viewers are gifted with this pile of candy turned human body and invited by Gonzalez-Torres to take a piece and eat it. Gallery staff replenishes the candy pile at the end of each day to correspond with the weight of Gonzalez-Torres# lover at the time the piece was conceived, 175 pounds. Through this piece, Gonzalez-Torres subversively advocates for safer sex practices, critiques the attitudes of the Catholic Church towards the gay community and preserves the memory of his lover well beyond the limits of his diseased body. The creature within can only gaze through the pane smudged or rosy; it cannot separate off !from the body like the sheath of a knife or the pod of a pea for a single instant; it must go through !the whole unending procession of changes, heat and cold, comfort and discomfort, hunger and !satisfaction, health and illness, until there comes the inevitable catastrophe; the body smashes !itself to smithereens, and the soul (it is said) escapes. But of all this daily drama of the body there !is no record. People write always of the doings of the mind; the thoughts that come to it; its noble !plans; how the mind has civilized the universe. They show it ignoring the body in the !philosopher#s turret; or kicking the body, like an old leather football, across leagues of snow and !desert in the pursuit of conquest or discovery. Those great wars which the body wages with the !mind a slave to it, in the solitude of the bedroom against the assault of fever or the oncome of !melancholia, are neglected. Nor is the reason far to seek. To look these things squarely in the !face would need the courage of a lion tamer; a robust philosophy; a reason rooted in the bowels !of the earth. Short of these, this monster, the body, this miracle, its pain, will soon make us taper !into mysticism, or rise, with rapid beats of the wings, into the raptures of transcendentalism. The !public would say that a novel devoted to inuenza lacked plot; they would complain that there BODY WORK 9 Felix Gonzalez-Torres, PORTRAIT OF ROSS IN L.A., 1991
!was no love in it wrongly however, for illness often takes on the disguise of love, and plays the !same odd tricks. 14 !In this excerpt from Virginia Woolf#s On Being Ill the writer acknowledges the body as an invisible vehicle for the mind invisible, and not queer until something effects its seamless functioning. In Body Work, the subtle energy which is negatively effecting the Chakras is brought to light; the users of the healing system are made visibly queer through their interactions with the medicinal system German philosopher Martin Heidegger describes this same sudden visibility in his analysis of tools. "When the tool is most a tool, it recedes into a reliable background of subterranean machinery. Equipment is invisible. Furthermore, tools do not occur in isolation. Their meaning is determined by their denitive role in a referential contexture, their distinct position in the reality." 15 In his essay Phenomenology and the Theory of Equipment Graham Harman tasks himself with extending the application of Heidegger#s account of tools "to every possible entity." 16 If for the sake of considering a new suggested denition of queer we apply Heidegger#s account of tools to the objectied human body, we can arrive at the suggestion that the position of queer people within Western societies is equivalent to Heidegger#s discussion of broken tools. "The working piece of equipment is unobtrusive; in contrast, the malfunctioning instrument thrusts itself rudely into view. In this new "broken" situation, we gain a view of what was previously taken for granted. Equipment is no longer a silent laborer; it has surfaced as a visible power." 17 Herein lies the core BODY WORK 10 14 Woolf, Virginia. On Being Ill. p.4-6 15 Harman, Graham. Towards Speculative Realism. p.6 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid. p.8-9
contradiction of the position of LGBTQ communities within Western society we are simultaneously empowered and oppressed as a result of our "visibility". In Body Work, I attempt to dispel this notion of queer as brokenness by universalizing the state of queer Through user interaction, queer becomes oscillatory and uid; as one interacts with the discrete objects within the installation, the "otherness" inherit to queerness dissipates. Through my subversion of the term queer and this attening of social hierarchy based upon sexuality, Body Work promotes unexpected forms of activism. Section 2: Applied Queerness The human body has long been a politicized site of difference; a site for the policing of queerness In the 1980$s, American LGBT groups began to reappropriate the word queer; subverting its meaning from a harsh perjorative to the title given to a newly established catch-all category for those individuals who#s sexual identities did not neatly t into the dominant taxonimy of straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans. 18 Upon entering into the healing center, users are asked to remove their shoes and don medical foot covers as they navigate through the space. In this simple gesture, the attening of difference I attempt with my redenition of the word queer is made literal. Queer, instead of simply used as a catch-all of sexuality, becomes the catch-all of experience. In the act of treating the gallery space as one would many sacred spaces of mystical practice (ie. buddist temples, magick circles etc), a self othering has occured. Immediately all users are connected by their gifted footwear; a micro community has been established. BODY WORK 11 18 Sycamore, Mattilda B, "There#s More to Life than Platinum: Challenging the Tyranny of SweatshopProduced Rainbow Flags and Participatory Patriarchy."
This "gift economy creates special relationships and agency between people that may not be threatened or interchangeable with behaviors created by capitalist markets." 19 The same could be said of the micro communities established by the spread of the HIV virus throughout the past three decades; the gift being not so sweet. In the case of gay sex, the site of the gift economy is often that of the bedroom. This sacred space is in turn just as policed as the bodies copulating within its four walls; private acts of love get mixed up within the public economies of medicine. Performed from the moment the gift is offered, the puffy fabric slippers with rubberized foot tread become a symbol of a resistance against the power of Capitalist institutions. Rirkrit Tiravanija activates this same type of gift economy in his relational art work presented in 1992 at the 303 gallery in downtown Manhattan. In Untitled(Free), Tiravanija converted the small gallery into a kitchen, serving rice and Thai curry for free to his audience. This was a landmark in the eld of Relational Aesthetics, where the distances between artist, viewer, and artwork are altogether collapsed. In Body Work the user is asked to subscribe to a New Age metaphysical belief system in order to experience catharsis, collapsing skeptisism and doubt in exchange for theraputic cleansing. In both BODY WORK 12 19 Jacobs, Katrien. Netporn: DIY Web Culture and Sexual Politics. VARIED PLEASURES, From the series BODY WORK, 2014
Tiravanija$s Untitled(Free) and my own Body Work the art is carved out within the context of the exhibition through the relationships and interactions which actively unwind. "Particapatory projects in the social eld therefore seem to operate with a twofold gesture of oppostition and amelioration. They work against dominant market imperatives by diffusing single authorship into collaborative activities that...transcend $ the snares of negation and self-interest#. Instead of supplying the market with commodities, participatory art is percieved to channel art#s symbolic capital towards constructive social change." 20 In Body Work, this act of community empowerment facilitated by the artist is benevolently duplicitous. As the user continues traversing the space and engaging with the objects and devices within the healing system, my methods as healer become increasingly esoteric and cunningly mischievous through my use of camp and post irony. !As the healer behind the subversive activism in Body Work I also take on the didactic role of trickster. A longwithstanding device of subversion utilized by the queer community is known as camp "A sensibility (as distinct from an idea) is one of the BODY WORK 13 20 Bishop, Claire. Articial Hells. p.12-13 Rirkrit Tiravanija, UNTITLED(FREE), 1992
hardest things to talk about...[camp] is not a natural mode of sensibility, if there be any such. Indeed the essence of camp is its love of the unnatural: of artice and exaggeration. And camp is esoteric something of a private code, a badge of identity even, among small urban cliques." 21 Through combining found objects and elements of craft and folk art, I activate camp sensibilities within Body Work The validity of my theraputic regimen is brought into question based upon my material choices. While immediately borrowing from many of the same tropes as camp, this percieved falability moves the work beyond, into the realm of Post-Irony. Post-Irony is a term used to connote a state in which earnest and ironic intents become muddled. 22 Like many contemporary music acts of the last few years, such as the South African rap duo known as Die Antwoord and California based stripper/rapper/queer adovcate Brooke Candy, the work straddles a ne line of naive honesty and performative deception. This act of "playing both sides" reaches a vast multitude of audiences; in my case, nding users for the work in communities which may not necessarily be open to furthering a queer agenda. The act of passing which is activated within Body Work in order to gain acceptance from a wider audience or community is an act familiar to and activated by individuals within the queer community. 23 BODY WORK 14 21 Sontag, Susan, "Notes on Camp." p.275-292 22 Post-Irony. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-irony (accessed April 1,2014). 23 Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter. p.167-185 Brooke Candy
!Ever since the release of Alfred C. Kinsey#s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male in 1948, a culture of suspicion formed around the visual signiers of homosexuality. Kinsey surveryed male citizens and found that an unexpectedly high percentage of the American male population classied has either engaging in homosexual acts or has had homosexual desires. Kinsey rejected the typical classications of straight, gay, and bisexual and instead developed his own seven point scale to better represent sexuality as a spectrum. However controversial a gure, Kinsey was a pioneer in the science of sex and his ndings offered a model to better deal with the problematics inherent to traditional taxinomical sexual identities. Unfortunately, Dr. Kinsey#s ndings also led to a culture of actively seeking out and outing homosexuals in public. Certain queer communities, particularly white, upper to upper middle class males became obsesed with assimilation; they feared persecution due to this new found "visibility". 24 And so these popultions of homosexuals endoctrinated themselves to strictly abide by popular, mainsteam styles of fashion and "masculine" behaviors. Careful to deepen the voice in front of the appropriate audience and intensely focused on a not-too-tight-around-thecrotch tailoring, certain gay communitees went into hiding. 25 Gay was the skeleton hung up in the back of many closets. Body Work gently "outs" its users through its subversive performance of camp. !In the same way queers assimilated into mainsteam tropes of masculinity in the 1950#s in order to avoid persecution, practitioners of Western mysticism have done the same. Around the 16th century, Africans brought to the West as slaves began to mask BODY WORK 15 24 Butt, Gavin. Between You and Me: Queer Disclosures in the New York Art World, 1948-1963 p.9-16 25 Ibid.
their continued practices of traditional tribal religion from Catholic missionaries by replacing ceremonial idol statues with those of corresponding Catholic saints. The syncretic religion of Santeria was born; invisible to the untrained eye. 26 The idea of idols, or charged objects of inuence, is central to many parts of Body Work. The installation features four covered vitrines containing objects I selected from my own personal collection of oddities. While many of these objects hold symbolic meaning for myself, such as bottles collected from New York City#s Dead Horse Bay or potions purchased from an actual Santeria Botanica in Miami, for the viewer they create a duality between the idea of altar and a modern cabinet of curiosities. While some of the objects maintain expected fetishistic qualities, I combine them with fabricated objects of capital bought at department stores. This combination of objects considered foreign and objects familiar to the American consumer of products creates a doubling of perception; another example of my use of post-irony to create subversive camp. "Varied Pleasures and Aura Cleansing Device System (1) and (2) the three most weighted pieces in the installation, give users the opportunity to interact with large quartz crystals in what are immediately percieved as crystal healing rituals. In New Age mythology, it is believed that the subtle energy effecting the Chakras, the system which I BODY WORK 16 26 De La Torre, Miguel A.. Santeria: Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America. p.1-30 VITRINE 1, BOTTLES, From the series BODY WORK, 2014
have aproppriated to symbolize universal queering, can be affected, redirected, cleansed and sent out by crystals and stones found within the Earth. Marina Abramovic, in keeping with her interests of pushing the limits of the body and mind, made sculptural works in the 90#s in which she invited her viewers to gaze upon, touch and meditate with large crystal specimens; inviting the viewer to "[feel] how the energy crystals work on you." 27 In both Abramovic#s work and my own, the user is put in a position to trust the artist. In Varied Pleasures I take advantage of this trust and, symbolically, anally pentrate the viewer. Those users who choose to interact with Varied Pleasures are invited to sit upon unnished stumps of Florida Cypress trees while having their feet rubbed by automated machines. In the middle of the three massage stations stands a large quartz crystal on a steel tulip stand. The tension between natural and articial materials mimics the tension BODY WORK 17 27 "Marina Abramovic Gives Virtual Tour of the Institute," YouTube video, 2:52, posted by "Portalanalitika," July 28, 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CdKu0Bt7xU VARIED PLEASURES, From the series BODY WORK, 2014 AURA CLEANSING DEVICE SYSTEM (1) AND (2), From the series, BODY WORK, 2014
between the pleasurable sensations from the massagers and the uncomfortable pressure on the buttocks of the seated user. Through this piece my theoretical queering of the audience becomes physically manifested and as in Cosmic Scatography the anus is suggested as the true window into the soul. Graham Harman writes of a desire to nd an "object-oriented philosophy [that performs] a sort of alchemy for describing the transformations of one [non-human] entity into another, for outlining the ways in which they seduce or destroy humans and non-humans alike[.]" 28 These transformations described by Harman are the transformations I activate in Body Work in order to initiate my brand of subversive activism; an activism of experience. !"The common understanding assumes that meaning of experience is obvious and given. According to this view...sexual experiences would provide a self-evident foundation for knowledge of...identity." 29 However, "according to many post modern criticisms of this view of experience, the meaning of experience is shifting, uncertain and produced by external forces." 30 Is it possible that the true arbiter of identity lies externally, with "individual experiences never contain[ing] their meaning in themselves, but always run off into other experiences, in an endless hall of mirrors, with each experience referring to others?" 31 With my installation Body Work, I suggest that a truer mapping of human identity is entrenched not in sexuality, but in an analysis of the complexity of our experiences of objects; an object-oriented ontology. Conclusion: BODY WORK 18 28 Harman, Graham. Towards Speculative Realism. Print. 29 Wilkerson, William S.. Ambiguity and Sexuality: A Theory of Sexual Identity. p 31 30 Ibid. 31 Ibid.
!"For queers to be free, all people must be free." 32 This declartion from a past version of the Gay Liberation Front#s mission statement is at the core of why I created Body Work French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty addresses in The Phenomenology of Perception( 1945) "what he saw as a fundamental division in Western philosophy#s understanding of the human subject. He argued that subject and object are not seperate entities but are reciprocally intertwined and interdependent. One of the key claims of Merleau-Ponty#s phenomenology is that $the thing is inseperable from a person percieving it, and can never be actually in itself because it stands as the other end of our gaze or at the terminus of a sensory exploration which invests it with humanity.#" 33 The objects featured in Body Work highlight Merleau-Ponty#s phenomenology and serve to complicate our perception of our bodies and desires as indicators of identity. Body Work is ultimately a momento mori; dropping a cruel anchor which stabalizes the construction of identity around the inescapable unknown of our mortality. BODY WORK 19 32 Mecca, Tommi A.. "It#s All About Class," p.31 33 Bishop, Claire. Installation Art. p.50 LUMP
Bibliography Bishop, Claire. Articial Hells. London: Verso, 2012. Bishop, Claire. Installation Art. New York: Routledge, 2005. Blavatsky, H.P. The Secret Doctrine. Theosophical University Press Online Edition.Accessed April 1,2014. http://www.holybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Secret-Doctrine-by-H.P.-Blavatsky.pdf Bodywork 2009.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodywork_(alternative_medicine). (Accessed April 1,2014). Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter. New York: Routledge, 1993. Butt, Gavin. Between You and Me: Queer Disclosures in the New York Art World, 1948-1963 !London: Duke Univeristy Press, 2005. Davidson, John. Subtle Energy UK: Random House, 2004. De La Torre, Miguel A.. Santeria: Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America. Grand Rapids: !Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004. Gaugnini, Nicolas. Interview with Orlando Estrada. Studio Visit. University of Florida, October 21, 2013. Harman, Graham. Towards Speculative Realism. UK: Zero Books. 2010. Jacobs, Katrien. Netporn: DIY Web Culture and Sexual Politics. Maryland: Rowman & Littleeld !Publishers Inc, 2007. "Marina Abramovic Gives Virtual Tour of the Institute," YouTube video, 2:52, posted by "Portalanalitika," !July 28, 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CdKu0Bt7xU Mecca, Tommi A.. "It#s All About Class," in That#s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, ed. Mattilda B. Sycamore. Berkeley: Soft Skull Press, 2008. Post-Irony. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-irony (accessed April 1,2014). Sontag, Susan, "Notes on Camp," in Against Interpretation and Other Essays. New York: Picador, 2001. Sycamore, Mattilda B, "There#s More to Life than Platinum: Challenging the Tyranny of SweatshopProduced Rainbow Flags and Participatory Patriarchy," in That#s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, ed. Mattilda B. Sycamore. Berkeley: Soft Skull Press, 2008. Wilkins, Riki. Queer Theory, Gender Theory Los Angeles: Alyson Publications, 2004. Wilkerson, William S.. Ambiguity and Sexuality: A Theory of Sexual Identity. New York: PalgraveMacmillan, 2007. Westboro Baptist Church Home Page. http://www.godhatesfags.com / (accessed April 1,2014). Woolf, Virginia. On Being Ill. Massachusetts: Paris Press.2002. BODY WORK 20
Biographical Sketch: Orlando Luis Estrada was born on June 10, 1986 in Los Alamitos, California. After spending most of his childhood in his parents# place of origin, Puerto Rico, Orlando moved with his family to Miami, Florida at age 12. He graduated top ten in his class from Coral Reef Senior High School in 2004. He went on to complete his undergraduate studies at Miami#s Florida International University on a full Florida Bright Futures academic scholarship; recieving his BFA in Photography in 2008. !While still attending classes at FIU, Orlando became well involved in the budding South Florida art scene; organizing, curating and exhibiting at some of the most prestigious venues in the city of Miami. Immediately upon his graduation, he was chosen to exhibit his photographs at the Art Center/South Florida on Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. Soon after he began working with Dina Mitrani at her Wynwood based photography gallery as her assistant. It was during this employment that Orlando began applying to universities in order to complete his graduate studies; being accepted to the University of Florida on a full scholarship via an awarded Graduate Assistantship !Upon completion of his MFA program, Orlando will be relocating to New York City where he will continue to pursue art as a full time career as well as extending his practice internationally. Having taught photography throughout his time at UF, Orlando will also pursue teaching at the post-secondary level in the city of New York. BODY WORK 21